The Dodgers threw us a curveball yesterday, announcing that Max Scherzer wouldn’t start Game 1 and would instead pitch in Game 2. This led to a bullpen game for the Dodgers in the first game of the series and while the pitching allowed three runs last night, it was still one too many.
The Braves took the opening game, at home, thanks to a walk-off hit from Austin Riley with Ozzie Albies scoring after a bloop single and a stolen base. If you’re a fan of how baseball “used to" be played, that sequence from the Braves has to get you fired up.
With the Braves leading the series, can the Dodgers rally behind their ace starter to even the series at one in Atlanta, for Game 2 of the NLCS?
Dodgers vs Braves NLCS Game 2 Prediction
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Atlanta Braves, October 17, 7:38 PM ET on TBS
Probable Starting Pitchers:
- Max Scherzer, Dodgers (15-4, 2.46 ERA)
- Ian Anderson, Braves (9-5, 3.58 ERA)
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The Dodgers have been playing tricks with the media lately. In Game 5 of the NLDS, the Dodgers went with a bullpen game instead of pitching Julio Urias. Then in Game 1 of the NLCS, the Dodgers elected to go with another bullpen game, which worked well, but still didn’t get the Dodgers the win.
In the decisive Game 5 Max Scherzer threw just 13 pitches against four batters. He’s likely more than rested at this point and if he’s in a groove, he’ll want to stay in past 100 pitches. That’s just the Scherzer way.
In his last start, which came against the Giants, Scherzer allowed just three hits and one run while striking out 10. There’s a good chance Scherzer is back in a rhythm. However, sometimes pitchers who had their last outing as a reliever will struggle as a starter.
Scherzer has plenty of history going up against this Atlanta Braves lineup from his time in Washington. The roster for the Braves has a .678 OPS with 36 hits in 183 at-bats. The Braves may be hitting Scherzer at a .261 OBA, but if you go down the projected lineup for Atlanta they have struggled badly against the right-hander.
Joc Pederson has gone 2-for-16 and should be batting leadoff. Meanwhile, Ozzie Albies is 4-for-25, and Freddie Freeman is just 11-for-47 against the three-time Cy Young Award winner. That’s not much success for the Braves lineup against Scherzer but there’s always a chance as he’s allowed eight home runs and 19 extra base hits in those 36 hits allowed.
On the flip side, Ian Anderson will take the hill for the Braves, looking to help Atlanta to a 2-0 lead in a best-of-seven series. Anderson has had his ups and downs this season but looked fantastic in his start against Milwaukee in the NLDS.
The right-hander tossed five innings while allowing three hits and no runs. He also struck out six and induced seven ground balls to five fly balls allowed.
In the last 30 days, Anderson has an xFIP of 4.63 but has a BABIP of just .171 due to allowing 18.2 percent line drives and getting just 36.4 percent of ground balls during that same time period.
To lefties, he’s allowed a .366 wOBA and ISO of .379 in his last 31 plate appearances against and he’ll likely have to face just three lefties, including Corey Seager who has a .390 ISOO and .429 wOBA in his last 65 plate appearances against righties.
The other two lefties would be Gavin Lux and Cody Bellinger, who have both been inconsistent when it comes to power. Although, I will say, Lux has been patient at the plate can could be a candidate to get on base against Anderson.
Just like last night, neither team profiles all that well against the opposition. Anderson has held the Dodgers to one hit in 15 at-bats despite allowing three walks and a two RBI-double off that one hit allowed.
It should be a quiet game with minimal runs allowed between Scherzer and Anderson.
Dodgers vs Braves NLCS Game 2 Pick: Dodgers 2, Braves 1
Dodgers vs Braves NLCS Game 2 Best Bets
Best Bet: Dodgers (-175) at WynnBet
Wager: 1 Unit
I’m not going to sit here and talk about all the value there is on the Dodgers. There’s way more value on the Braves, especially if this game is going to be close. With Scherzer on the mound, getting a price around -175 is pretty awesome.
He’s got history against this Braves lineup since when he was with the Nationals and has looked like the Scherzer of old in his last two appearances. I like the Dodgers here to tie things up.
Best Bet: Under 7.5 Runs (-115) at Caesars
Wager: 1.15 Units
The Dodgers have one hit against Anderson in their career, and while it’s a very small sample size, there’s something to be said about the way Anderson pitches in the postseason. He’s got so much potential and as long as he can limit walks, he’ll be just fine.
Last week, against the Brewers, he struck out six and allowed no walks. I’ll ride that momentum with Anderson and as I said above, Scherzer is back to the old Scherzer. Expect dominance from him tonight.
Best Bet: Corey Seager Over 1.5 Total Bases (+120) at DraftKings
Wager: 1 Unit
Seager has a .390 ISO and wOBA of .429 with 15.4 percent strikeouts and 9.2 percent walks in the last 30 days against righties. He’s hitting just 22.2 percent ground balls and 22.2 percent line drives in that same time frame against righties.
Meanwhile, Anderson has struggled against lefties with a .366 wOBA and ISO of .379 while inducing just 23.5 percent ground balls and only 12.9 percent strikeouts. If there’s any lefty in the lineup that can do damage to Anderson, it’s Seager.