The Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers will kick off the NLDS on Friday, October 8. Both teams should be well-rested after winning their divisions rather easily this year, with Atlanta taking the NL East by 6.5 games and Milwaukee clinching the NL Central by five games.
At 88-73, the Braves were the only team to reach the postseason with fewer than 90 wins. They probably would have won 90+ had Ronald Acuna Jr. not torn his ACL in mid-July, prematurely ending his season. Atlanta will miss his presence in the playoffs, although they did a nice job replacing his production by acquiring slugging outfielders Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler at the trade deadline.
The Brewers, meanwhile, cruised to 95 wins despite a middling offense and a second straight down year by former MVP Christian Yelich. Milwaukee’s main strength is its pitching, which posted the third-lowest ERA in the majors this season. They’ll be relying on their arms to shut down Atlanta’s potent lineup in this series.
Which team will start the series off with a win? Let’s dive into our NLDS Game 1 predictions and best bets. All odds are current as of Thursday, October 7.
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Game 1 Prediction
Atlanta Braves @ Milwaukee Brewers, October 8, 4:37 PM EST on TBS
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Charlie Morton, Braves (14-6, 3.34 ERA)
- Corbin Burnes, Brewers (11-5, 2.43 ERA)
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Corbin Burnes has been an absolute stud this year, leading MLB with a 2.43 ERA, 1.63 FIP, and 12.6 K/9 rate. He struggled in his lone start against Atlanta, however, yielding five runs on nine hits in four innings back on July 30. He also ended the season in a bit of a slump by his standards, posting a 4.20 ERA over his final three outings.
None of the players in this Braves lineup have faced Burnes very often, but he has allowed four home runs to their hitters in just 38 at-bats. Two of them came off the bat of Dansby Swanson, who’s 4-for-5 against Burnes lifetime and is looking to break out of a miserable September slump.
Joc Pederson and Austin Riley have also homered against Burnes, so it’s possible Atlanta will get to him for a couple of runs early.
On the flip side, Charlie Morton will get the call for the Braves. Morton is coming off another terrific season and has been a beast in the playoffs, going 7-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 playoff appearances (12 starts).
Morton has also owned this Brewers roster in the past, limiting them to a .191 average and .520 OPS over 103 at-bats. Only Yelich has had serious success against Morton, but with just four homers over his last 69 games he isn’t much of a threat in the batter’s box these days.
While Morton’s overall numbers were inflated by a poor start to the season, he posted a 2.88 ERA and 2.92 FIP over his last 25 starts. In the case of Burnes, regular-season dominance doesn’t always translate to the postseason, as we’ve seen recently with Gerrit Cole, Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish, and others.
Accordingly, I think Atlanta’s lineup will be able to get to Burnes again, while Morton should have little trouble handling Milwaukee’s pedestrian offense. Give me the Braves in Game 1.
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Game 1 Pick: Braves 4, Brewers 1
Braves vs Brewers NLDS Game 1 Best Bets
Best Bet: Braves F5 Moneyline (+140) at FanDuel
Wager: 1 Unit
The Braves have legitimate power all over their lineup and have succeeded in the past against Burnes. They’ll be even more formidable if they can get Pederson and Eddie Rosario into the batting order, but even if only one of them starts they still have plenty of firepower.
Atlanta ranked second among NL teams in homers and slugging and third in runs this year. Bet on this talented lineup scoring runs early against the more inexperienced pitcher in this matchup.
Best Bet: Braves Over 2.5 Team Total (-155) at BetMGM
Wager: 1.55 Units
As mentioned, the Braves are loaded with power and were one of the highest-scoring offenses in baseball this year. They’re also one of the few teams that had success against Burnes this season, which bodes well for their chances in Game 1. Burnes is going to have a tough time shutting down this lineup, making this our MLB bet of the day.
- Read our full Braves vs Brewers NLDS Predictions & Best Bets.
Best Bet: Dansby Swanson To Record 1+ Hits (-135) at FanDuel
Wager: 1.35 Units
As noted above, Swanson is 4-for-5 with two home runs against Burnes in his career. You have to be doing something right to have that kind of success against one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Regardless of whether or not Swanson has Burnes’s number, he’s worth betting on for at least one hit in Game 1. Despite his September swoon, he still finished the season with a .248 batting average — six points higher than the NL average. All he needs to do is get one hit in four at-bats — which he’s essentially been doing all season — for this bet to cash.
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