Dodgers vs Braves NLCS Game 1 Picks and Predictions: Do Dodgers Have Enough in the Tank?

L.A.'s title defense is alive and well, but the NLDS wasn't without bumps in the road for them, and more could await in the NLCS. Find out if there's value in ATL as we break down our Dodgers vs Braves picks for Game 1.

Last Updated: Oct 16, 2021 6:00 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Freddie Freeman Atlanta Braves MLB NLCS
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers won a tight Game 5 against the San Francisco Giants to advance to the National League Championship Series. The Dodgers will now take on the Atlanta Braves, with this series beginning at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia at 8:07 p.m. ET on Saturday, October 16. 

Will Atlanta get the series started with a home victory over an emotionally drained Los Angeles team? Keep reading our Dodgers vs. Braves picks and predictions to find out who we like. 

Dodgers vs Braves odds

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Dodgers vs Braves picks

Picks made on 10/15/2021 at 10:50 p.m. ET.
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Dodgers vs Braves game info

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
Date: Saturday, October 16, 2021
Time: 8:07 p.m. ET
TV: TBS

Dodgers vs Braves betting preview

Starting pitchers

Corey Knebel RHP (4-0, 2.45 ERA): Righty Cory Knebel will get the ball to start the opening game of the NLCS. The Dodgers will be going with a full bullpen game. Knebel filled the first-inning role in Thursday's Game 5 against the Giants and tossed a shutout inning with one strikout, while allowing only one hit.

Max Fried LHP (14-7, 3.04 ERA): Fried was as good as anybody in the league in the second half of the year, and he carried that momentum into the playoffs. In a start against the Brewers in the NLDS, Fried pitched six shutout innings and struck out nine batters. He has allowed just one earned run in his last 29.0 innings of work. 

Dodgers vs Braves series odds

Dodgers: -220
Braves: +180

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Dodgers: Max Muncy 1B (Questionable)
Braves: Ronald Acuna Jr. OF (Out), Jorge Soler OF (Out), Marcell Ozuna OF (Out)
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Braves are 7-2 in their last nine home playoff games. Find more MLB betting trends for Dodgers vs. Braves.

Dodgers vs Braves predictions

The last time Fried faced the Dodgers was on September 1, when the lefty allowed just two runs over six innings and struck out nine hitters. That game was in Los Angeles and Fried was even better when he faced them in Atlanta earlier in the year. Back on June 6, the lefty gave up just one earned over six innings in a 4-2 win over the Dodgers. Overall, he has shown some serious comfort when navigating a potent Los Angeles lineup, but it’s not surprising for one of the best young pitchers in the game. 

For what it’s worth, Fried was 7-3 with a 2.94 ERA when pitching at home during the regular season, and he was also 9-6 with a 2.88 ERA when pitching at night. Most conditions will work in Fried’s favor in this one, including the fact that the Dodgers were just 20th in the league in batting average against lefties this season. Granted, Los Angeles was also first in the league in homers against southpaws this year, but Fried has allowed just four homers since the start of August. He really does a good job of avoiding massive mistakes, and it’s hard to go against him in his current form. 

The Dodgers' bullpen is very strong, and we will never take anything away from the tremendous arms they have at their disposal on a nightly basis, but they did allow 10 runs in 16 innings of work against Atlanta this season with a rather inflated WHIP of 1.375.

This total definitely seems suspiciously high when considering that there is one superb starter for the Braves and one of baseball's best bullpens in the Dodgers.

The Under has hit in four of Atlanta’s last five games coming into Game 1, and the same can be said for four of Los Angeles’ last six. The Under is also 7-0 in the games in which the Braves have been underdogs with Fried on the mound this year. That number moves to 8-0 when they’re an underdog of +100 to +150 with Fried on the mound since the start of last year. 

The Dodgers' bullpen comes into Saturday's game with a 1.44 ERA in six postseason games this year. During the regular season they had an ERA of 3.16, good for the second best number in all of baseball. They allowed only 60 home runs in over 600 innings of work and sported an opponent's batting average of only .205 (by far the best in baseball).

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