The Atlanta Braves are one win away from the World Series after a 9-2 pasting of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of the 2021 NLCS. The Braves will look to close out the series tonight with Max Fried on the mound at Dodger Stadium.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, have their backs to the wall following an ugly Game 4 loss. Tonight is a must-win for them in order to extend the series and send it back to Atlanta, which they’ll try to do behind their stellar bullpen.
Los Angeles has come back from the brink before, winning back-to-back do-or-die games against the San Francisco Giants in the NLDS to advance. Can they do it again to stave off elimination, or will Atlanta end their season?
See our NLCS Game 5 predictions and best bets below. Please note that all MLB gameday odds and lines are current as of 10 AM EST on Thursday, October 21.
Braves vs Dodgers NLCS Game 5 Prediction
Atlanta Braves @ Los Angeles Dodgers, October 21, 8:08 PM EST on TBS
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Max Fried, Braves (14-7, 3.04 ERA)
- Bullpen Game, Dodgers (3.16 ERA)
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The first three games of this series were all decided by one run, but Game 4 was a blowout as the Braves erupted for four homers and nine runs. Atlanta’s hitters have gotten into a groove with at least five runs in each of the last three games — an impressive feat against LA’s terrific pitching staff.
The Braves will try to finish off the Dodgers tonight behind Fried, who limited LA to two runs on eight hits and no walks with five strikeouts over six quality innings in Game 1. Fried is one of the most reliable postseason pitchers in baseball with a 2.52 ERA and 37:6 K/BB ratio over six playoff starts since the beginning of last year.
Fried is also one of the rare pitchers who can get through the middle innings in the playoffs, as he’s completed at least six innings in five of his six career postseason starts. The Dodgers’ offense may continue to struggle until he departs.
Los Angeles has yet to name a starter for Game 5 and is expected to have another bullpen game, which worked well for them in Game 1. Dodgers relievers allowed just three runs on six hits while racking up 14 strikeouts in the series opener, but their bats just couldn’t get the big hit.
LA’s bullpen ranked second in MLB with a 3.16 ERA during the regular season, so they’re certainly capable of making a stand here. The question is whether their offense can get going, as they’ve managed just 14 runs in the four games thus far. They’ll also be without one of their best hitters in Justin Turner, who’s expected to miss the rest of the playoffs with a hamstring injury.
This game will come down to the later innings, but once Fried is out the Dodgers will have a chance to come back and force Game 6.
NLCS Game 5 Pick: Dodgers 3, Braves 2
Braves vs Dodgers NLCS Game 5 Best Bets
Best Bet: Dodgers Moneyline (-145) at DraftKings
Wager: 1.4 Units
The Dodgers were one of the best-hitting teams against lefties during the regular season, ranking eighth among all MLB teams with a 104 wRC+. Losing Turner will hurt, but Los Angeles still has plenty of talented right-handed hitters such as Trea Turner, Mookie Betts, A.J. Pollock, Chris Taylor, and Albert Pujols.
LA’s lineup is just too good to not show up tonight. Look for them to swing the bats and score enough runs to win what could be their final home game of the season, making this our MLB bet of the day.
Read all of our 2021 NLCS Game 5 Betting Tips
Best Bet: Dodgers Under 2.5 Runs In 1st 5 Innings (-130) at DraftKings
Wager: 1.4 Units
Fried has been one of the best pitchers in baseball during the second half, reeling off 14 straight quality starts and posting a 1.71 ERA over his last 16 outings. He’s getting plenty of ground balls and has been able to escape jams with those grounders and strikeouts all season long.
That should continue in this game. Fried held the Dodgers to just two runs in Game 1, so he’s definitely capable of limiting their offense in the first half of the game.
Best Bet: Trea Turner Over 1.5 Total Bases (-110) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
Turner has been a major disappointment in the playoffs thus far with a .182/.182/.227 batting line and 11 strikeouts with no walks and only one run and RBI apiece. Even so, he’s still registered multiple total bases in four of 10 games this postseason.
Turner destroyed lefties this year to the tune of a .392/.437/.712 batting line, so this is the perfect opportunity for him to break out. Look for this year’s MLB batting champion to notch a pair of singles or an extra-base hit tonight.