NLCS Game 5: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves: Preview, Analysis, & Best Bet – 10/16/20

By: Trent Pruitt (@trentbets)

I have several buddies who are Dodger fans and seeing their snapchat stories last night was a mix of comedy and sadness. The fans have such high hopes and after boasting a 43-17 regular season record, they were planning on doing some damage this postseason. They find themselves down  3-1 in the series with the Braves and their 2020 fate will be handed to Dustin May tonight. A.J. Minter gets the nod for Atlanta and he’ll likely go an inning as the opener tonight. 

Money Line: LAD -215, ATL +195

Run Line: LAD -1.5 (-135), ATL +1.5 (+115)

Total: 9.5 (O -105, U -115)

First Pitch: 8:08 CST, Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX

Los Angeles Dodgers

Their back is against the wall for the first time this postseason and Dave Roberts will turn to 23 year old Dustin May to try and keep the season alive. May is making his first postseason start although he’s made three appearances in 2020. So far in the playoffs the young righty has hurled 4.2 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing only one hit and two walks. During the regular season May was 3-1 with a 2.57 ERA and 1.09 WHIP. According to ESPN, he’s only faced current Braves players seven times, holding them to 2-7 and Marcel Ozuna has a homerun. 

As for the Dodger bats, they’re going to need a resurgence tonight. Heading into the 6th inning of last night they only had one hit and finished the game with three. They’ll be hoping for an outing similar to Wednesday’s where they notched 15 runs on 16 hits. 

Atlanta Braves

Atlanta has an opportunity to clinch the N.L. Pennant tonight and it looks like Brian Snitker is opting for a bullpen game to try and hold down Los Angeles. He’ll send A.J. Minter to the bump who faced the Dodgers on Tuesday came in relief and gave up a homerun to Corey Seager. Other than that, he’s been sharp over his 2.1 IP in the postseason, allowing only that single hit (and earned run) while punching out three batters. During the regular season the lefty only gave up two earned runs all season over 21.2 innings which yielded a 0.83 ERA.

The Braves have to be happy with their bats over the first four games of the series as they’re averaging 6.5 runs per game against a pretty respectable pitching staff of the Dodgers. They were a top offense during the regular season, blasting 103 homeruns. Only one other team hit more than 100 bombs – the Dodgers (118). 

Final Analysis & Best Bet

There’s a lot of juice with this pick but I’m riding the Dodgers -215 for a unit on Friday night. In my mind, this is a throw away game for the Braves until they can turn their rotation over tomorrow night with Fried and Anderson getting going again. Dustin May has thrown really well this postseason and I see that continuing tonight as he has a chance to keep his team alive and make a case for himself to be a full time starter in this rotation. 

Additionally, I do not like bullpen games unless you’re the Tampa Bay Rays as they are built for that strategy. Now, the Braves are actually one of the top bullpens in baseball and I think that Snitker will go to his studs if they find themselves with a lead. In my mind, it makes sense to use some of the expendable arms early and come back full force in game six. 

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