The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves meet for the second game of a three-game series on Tuesday night. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Braves-Dodgers prediction and pick.
Los Angeles currently stands at 83-49 and is 44-23 at home. If you put $100 on every single Dodgers game so far this season, you’d be down $453 on the moneyline.
Atlanta currently stands at 70-60 and is 37-28 on the road. If you put $100 on every single Braves game so far this season, you’d be down $189 on the moneyline.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the Braves-Dodgers odds.
MLB Odds: Braves-Dodgers Odds
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Atlanta Braves ML (+177)
Los Angeles Dodgers ML (-193)
Over 7.5 Runs (-112)
Under 7.5 Runs (-108)
Why The Braves Could Win This Game
Charlie Morton makes his sixth August start looking to close the month on a strong note. Morton holds a 3.10 ERA in August, with 38 strikeouts, five walks, and only three home runs allowed in 29 innings.
Monday night, the Braves were stung exclusively by the home run. Drew Smyly allowed four homers in a tough outing, and the Braves couldn't erase the 5-0 deficit. It's unlikely the Braves face the same situation in this game.
Morton, unlike Smyly, does not allow home runs in bunches. In 26 starts this year, Morton has allowed multiple home runs in only one appearance. In total, Morton has only allowed 14 home runs over 145 innings pitched this season. As long as he can keep the ball in the yard, the Braves will stand a fighting chance in this one.
At the plate, Atlanta has one of the toughest matchups in the league in Walker Buehler. Buehler doesn't give up many runs, but there is a glimmer of hope for Atlanta.
The one hole in Buehler's game might be command of the baseball. There are nights he comes out and his control is a little shaky. In six games this season, Buehler has walked three or more batters. The Dodgers' record in those games is only 3-3, while they are 15-5 when Buehler doesn't hit that three-walk threshold.
Basically, you need to get Buehler off the mound early to have a shot at getting the win, and the best way to do it is running up his pitch count. The Braves draw the eighth-most walks in the league, so they'll have a shot at keeping Buehler to about six innings of work.
If they can tag the righty for a run or two in those innings, this will be anyone's game.
Why The Dodgers Could Win This Game
The Dodgers' rotation is one of the best in baseball, and Walker Buehler might be the best in the rotation. Buehler is the current favorite to win the NL Cy Young, and one look at his numbers shows why.
Buehler has made 26 starts this season, and he has given up one or less earned runs in 14 of these appearances. This is impressive on its own, but when you consider the righty is averaging over six innings per start, it's even crazier. Buehler is giving the Dodgers length in a rotation that badly needs it at the moment and completely shutting down their opponent in half his starts.
Buehler has struggled sometimes with walks, but his numbers against high walk teams like the Braves are excellent. He has started eight games against teams that rank in the top 10 in walk rate: five times against the Giants, twice against the Padres, and once against the Astros. In 59 innings against those teams, Buehler has only allowed nine earned runs and 12 walks.
It only strengthens Buehler's case that no one on this Braves roster has proven capable of hitting him. Atlanta's active roster only has a total of 38 at-bats against Buehler and only six hits to show for it. It's hard to see how the Braves will get anything more than one or two earned runs.
The Dodgers' bats, on the other hand, have more potential to do damage. Morton has looked shaky in his last few starts, including a short outing against a Yankees team that approaches their at-bats very similar to how this Dodgers lineup does.
In his last three starts, Morton has allowed a total of eight earned runs over just 17 innings. This stretch, combined with the fact that the Dodgers hit him well in their last meeting (four runs in just five innings) does not bode well for Morton.
One batter to keep an eye on in particular is Mookie Betts. Betts is batting .300 against Morton historically, and it looked like he finally found his swing Monday after blasting a homer on his bobblehead night.
This Dodgers lineup is loaded top to bottom with elite hitters. There really isn't a weak link. Considering how Morton has pitched of late, it's be surprising to see him go five or six innings without allowing at least three runs.
Final Braves-Dodgers Prediction & Pick
We get the luxury of watching two playoff teams square off in what should be a playoff atmosphere. With two aces throwing, it would be a shock to see either of the starters get knocked around. Monday night, the under cashed by a single run, improving Dodger Stadium's under record to a 58.1% hit rate. The under should be profitable again with Buehler and Morton allowing limited damage.
FINAL BRAVES-DODGERS PREDICTION & PICK: UNDER 7.5 RUNS (-108)