The 2021 NLDS between the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers kicks off on Friday, October 8. Both teams won their divisions this year, although Milwaukee (95-67) finished with a significantly better record than Atlanta.
But will that matter during a short five-game series? The Game Day’s gambling analyst Kevin Davis is here with his Braves vs Brewers predictions and best bets.
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Braves vs Brewers NLDS Projections
Game 1: Atlanta at Milwaukee
Charlie Morton (14-6, 3.34 ERA) vs Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA)
Even though the Braves had problems this season with their starting rotation, much of those issues are negated by the nature of the playoffs. With their usual five-man rotation turning into a four-man rotation, their starting pitching is less liable to cost them important postseason games.
For Game 1, Atlanta is relying on their most reliable starting pitcher in 37-year-old Charlie Morton. In his first season with the Braves, the two-time All-Star posted a career-best 1.04 WHIP to go along with his 14-6 record, 3.34 ERA, and 3.18 FIP. He also led the team with 33 starts and 185 2/3 innings.
Unfortunately for Morton, he must face MLB ERA leader Corbin Burnes, who’s been arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the last two years. In addition to winning this year’s ERA title, he also paced MLB with his 1.63 FIP, 12.6 K/9 rate, and 6.9 K/BB ratio.
With my model projecting Burnes to pitch six quality innings in a low-scoring game at home, the Brewers should be heavy favorites in Game 1.
Braves vs Brewers Game 1 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Brewers 55.7%
Braves vs Brewers Game 1 Pick: Braves if +136 or better, Brewers if -116 or better
- Read our full Braves vs Brewers Game 1 Predictions & Best Bets.
Game 2: Atlanta at Milwaukee
Max Fried (14-7, 3.04 ERA) vs Brandon Woodruff (9-10, 2.56 ERA)
Max Fried has been one of Atlanta’s most reliable starters since joining the rotation full-time in 2019, going 38-13 with a 3.35 ERA, 3.45 FIP, and 1.19 WHIP over the past three seasons. His 3.04 ERA this season led the rotation while his 14 wins tied Morton for the team lead.
Milwaukee will counter with Brandon Woodruff, who has also been exceptional since becoming a full-time starter in 2019. Woodruff has a 3.00 ERA, 3.02 FIP, 1.03 WHIP, and 10.7 K/9 rate over the past three seasons, making the All-Star team twice during that span.
While these two are evenly matched, Woodruff gets a slight edge based on his superior performance this year. In what should be another low-scoring game, the Brewers are favored at home in Game 2.
Braves vs Brewers Game 2 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Brewers 55.7%
Braves vs Brewers Game 2 Pick: Braves if +148 or better, Brewers if -125 or better
Game 3: Milwaukee at Atlanta
Freddy Peralta (10-5, 2.81 ERA) vs Ian Anderson (9-5, 3.58 ERA)
Game 3 is going to be pivotal in this series with Milwaukee being favored in the first two games. With the series shifting to Atlanta for Game 3, this will be a must-win for the Braves, especially if they drop the first two. My model estimates a 32.1% chance that the Brewers go up 2-0, while there is only an 18.8% chance that the Braves are up 2-0.
While Freddy Peralta‘s ERA is significantly lower than Ian Anderson‘s, Peralta benefitted from some incredible luck this year between his .230 BABIP and 79.1% strand rate. His 3.66 xFIP isn’t much better than Anderson’s 3.96 mark, suggesting these two are more evenly matched than they appear on the surface.
Accordingly, my model gives Atlanta a slight edge to win Game 3 at home.
Braves vs Brewers Game 3 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Braves 50.9%
Braves vs Brewers Game 3 Pick: Brewers if +112 or better, Braves if +105 or better
Game 4: Milwaukee at Atlanta (If Necessary)
Adrian Houser (10-6, 3.22 ERA) vs Huascar Ynoa (4-6, 4.05 ERA)
While the Brewers are well served by Burnes, Woodruff, and Peralta in the first three games, they could be in for a rough Game 4 with Adrian Houser on the mound. His 4.33 FIP was more than a full run higher than his 3.22 ERA, and his 6.6 K/9 rate was one of the lowest in baseball this year.
Opposing Houser is Huascar Ynoa, who did well in 17 starts this season. While his Triple Crown stats aren’t very impressive, his peripherals were excellent, i.e. his 1.11 WHIP and 4.0 K/BB ratio.
At home against Houser, Ynoa and the Braves should be heavily favored in Game 4.
Braves vs Brewers Game 4 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Braves 57.8%
Braves vs Brewers Game 4 Pick: Brewers if +149 or better, Braves if -126 or better
Game 5: Atlanta at Milwaukee (If Necessary)
Charlie Morton (14-6, 3.34 ERA) vs Corbin Burnes (11-5, 2.43 ERA)
According to my model, there is a 37.8% chance of a Game 5 in the NLDS. If this happens, I believe that it will be a rematch of Game 1 between Morton and Burnes.
Regardless of what Morton or Burnes does in Game 1, the Game 5 odds shouldn’t change much from the Game 1 odds. As a result, the Brewers should be slightly favored in a potential Game 5.
Braves vs Brewers Game 5 Projection (Kevin Davis Model): Brewers 55.7%
Braves vs Brewers Game 5 Pick: Braves if +136 or better, Brewers if -116 or better
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Series Futures
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Winner Bets
Best Bet: Atlanta Braves to Win NLDS Odds Boost (+140) at Caesars (would bet up to +125)
Wager: 1 Unit
When the Series Winner odds came out for the NLDS, my model found no edge for backing either the Braves or the Brewers. However, now that the price has moved and more sportsbooks have posted odds, Atlanta is a more attractive pick for our MLB bet of the day.
While the Brewers should be favored in Games 1,2, & 5, the Braves have a strong enough edge in Games 3 & 4 at home to make this a competitive series. If Atlanta can steal one of the first two games on the road, they’ll have a great chance of upsetting Milwaukee.
Caesars Sportsbook — which has terrific promos in general — has a generous odds boost on Atlanta at +140 to win the NLDS. With a maximum bet of $100 on this boost, bettors who want to bet more on the Braves can also bet on them at +130 odds on WynnBet.
Kevin Davis Series Winner Model Projection: Brewers 54.5%
Braves-Brewers NLDS Series Winner Pick: Braves if +120 or better, Brewers if -110 or better
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Series Exact Score Bets
Best Bet: Atlanta Braves 3-2 Series Winner (+550) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
To figure out the chances of the exact series score, I simulated each potential NLDS game 100,000 times in my model. After my simulations in Microsoft Excel, I counted the number of times that each series ended in a specific score.
Unsurprisingly, almost all the Series Exact Score odds are efficiently set, as that market is correlated with the Series Winner market. However, I did find a slight edge in betting on the Braves to win the NLDS 3-2 over the Brewers.
It’s plausible that Milwaukee wins the first two at home, followed by Atlanta winning the next two at home. Then anything can happen in Game 5, especially after the Braves have already seen Burnes in the series.
It’s a longshot, but I am personally taking a half-unit flier on this happening, as the price should be +500 rather than +550.
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Prediction (Kevin Davis Model; Breakeven Odds in Parentheses):
- Braves 3-0: 9.2% (+983)
- Braves 3-1: 19.7% (+408)
- Braves 3-2: 16.6% (+504)
- Brewers 3-0: 16.2% (+518)
- Brewers 3-1: 17.2% (+483)
- Brewers 3-2: 21.2% (+372)
Thanks for reading our 2021 NLDS Braves vs Brewers Predictions! For more MLB best bets, check out our MLB gameday odds.