Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Game 5 Odds, Picks and Preview -- 10/21/2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 8:08 p.m. ET
Venue: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Where to watch: TBS

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Dodgers -145, Braves +125
BetMGM: Dodgers -143, Braves +120
Caesars: NL

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Braves - Dodgers preview and analysis


Game 5, National League Championship Series -- Braves lead 3-1

It’s over.

With the danger of falling into last year’s trap, I’m convinced. It’s over.

The Atlanta Braves will be moving on to the World Series after tonight. The Los Angeles Dodgers have ran into a brick wall named “Everyone is Hurt” and there’s no good feeling about it for Dodgers fans.

Atlanta has a 3-1 series lead in the NLCS and will get its first of three chances to close out this series against the 106-win Dodgers and make their first World Series trip since 1999. And now with Justin Turner out for the rest of the postseason with what seems like a hamstring injury -- along with Max Muncy and no Clayton Kershaw -- the Dodgers may not have enough via attrition to rally in this series.

But it goes far and beyond the Dodgers’ bill of health. The Braves have been a thorn in the Dodgers’ pitching rotation. No matter who the Dodgers have sent to the mound out of their all-star rotation, they’ve gotten rocked. Max Scherzer’s arm felt dead; Walker Buehler didn’t last five innings; gave up three solo home runs in a must-win Game 4.

Eddie Rosario, the likely NLCS MVP should the Braves finish the job tonight, went 4-for-5 with two home runs and finished a double shy of the cycle. He accounted for one-third of the Braves’ hits while driving in four runs.

“Possibly, but I’m still dreaming of bigger things,” Rosario said through an interpreter. “I kind of want more at this point. Just thinking about the next thing. Hopefully, we can get there.”

Adam Duvall and Freddie Freeman added solo shots of Urias. The 20-game winner lasted five innings while giving up five runs on eight hits. The Braves, meanwhile, used six pitchers and got 3.1 IP of quality work from Drew Smyly after Jesse Chavez threw a scoreless first inning.

“Eddie has been in the moment here,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said. “He’s liked that postseason play for sure. He’s had really just great at-bats. I looked up and told [bench coach Walt Weiss], 'He’s a double shy of the cycle again' and then he hit a homer.”

The Dodgers had only four hits and only had two after Smyly was done for the night. The Braves’ staff has done its part to silence whatever is left of the Dodgers order.

The only two runs came on a pinch-hit, two-run single from AJ Pollock. He likely won’t be pinch-hitting come Game 5 for LA with Turner out. Chris Taylor took over third-base duties when Turner grounded out into that double play that ended his night, so Pollock could likely take over left field.

But you know where this is going: The Dodgers were in the same exact position last year down 3-1 to the Braves in the NLCS, only for L.A. to rally for three straight and eventually win the World Series. But there’s no bubble this time. Even if the Dodgers win tonight, they have to go back to Atlanta for two more, and that crowd is absurd as any come October.

“No one needs to really tell anyone that we can do it. We’ve done it. We’ve been here,” said Pollock. “Obviously we got to grind tomorrow, but we win tomorrow, we’re not in a bad spot.”

But this year’s matchup has a different feel thanks to the Braves, who have been dealing with injuries of their own for a long time. Without star outfielder Ronald Acuna Jr. to an ACL, and even power bat Jorge Soler in this series, the Braves have found ways to rally since they won the National League East. That momentum carried in a stunning four-game series win over the Milwaukee Brewers in the Division Series.

“2020 was last year and this is a whole different team and a whole different thing,” Freeman said.

Max Fried will get the start for the Braves on the mound, while the Dodgers have yet to name a starter at time of publishing.

Prediction


If there was ever a time to see what manager Dave Roberts can do with his back up against the wall with this banged-up group, it’s now. But the Braves have been rolling to the point where there’s no weakness in their game. They’ve slayed every dragon that they’ve faced, and now have everything in their control. I wouldn’t be shocked if the Dodgers pulled this one out to extend it one more game, but I can’t bring myself to it. Congrats, Braves fans. Get ready to party like it’s 1999. Braves win 6-3

Betting trends


The Braves are 23-7 (+15.2 net games on the money line) after a stretch of winning six or seven of their last eight games this season.

The Braves are 19-7 the past three seasons when Fried starts and the line is +125 to -125.

The Dodgers are 19-23 this season in games following a stretch of losing two of three.

Key injuries


Braves: None

Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner (hamstring, out), 1B Max Muncy (elbow, out)

Projected lineup


Braves:
Dansby Swanson (R) SS
Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
Austin Riley (R) 3B
Eddie Rosario (L) LF
Adam Duvall (R) CF
Joc Pederson (L) RF
Travis d'Arnaud (R) C
Max Fried (L) P

Dodgers:
Mookie Betts (R) RF
Corey Seager (L) SS
Trea Turner (R) 2B
Will Smith (R) C
Gavin Lux (L) CF
AJ Pollock (R) LF
Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
Chris Taylor (R) 3B
TBD P

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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