MLB Baseball: Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview, Prediction & Odds - Aug. 30, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 10:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Where to watch: Bally Sports South, SportsNet LA, ESPN

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks

DraftKings: Dodgers -190, Braves +160
BetMGM: Dodgers -185, Braves +150
FanDuel: NL

Season record
Braves: 70-59 (1st place, NL East)
Dodgers: 82-49 (2nd place, NL West)

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Braves - Dodgers preview and analysis

Recent form
Braves: 7-3 in last 10
Dodgers: 7-3 in last 10

What a big-time wasted opportunity for the Los Angeles Dodgers. To top it off, the team coming to meet them at Dodger Stadium for the next few days, the Atlanta Braves, did all they could to help them.

The Dodgers will welcome the Braves for a three-game series Monday in what will be a matchup of the two best teams in the National League.

But one has to wonder what the Dodgers are thinking at this moment. They just lost two of three to the Colorado Rockies in what could’ve caused a real shake-up in the National League West. The Dodgers failed to gain any ground on the San Francisco Giants, who just lost two of three in Atlanta to these same Braves.

Instead, the Dodgers remain 2.5 games back of the Giants for the top record in baseball, and the difference between hosting a one-game wild-card matchup, and home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason.

The Giants will be on the road for a crucial four-game stretch against the Milwaukee Brewers. The leaders of the National League Central just dropped two of three to the Minnesota Twins over the weekend.

The Dodgers chose to sit Mookie Betts, Justin Turner and Will Smith for Sunday’s finale against Colorado, and that backfired. Rockies pitcher Antonio Senzatela pitched a two-hit gem over seven innings with five strikeouts to propel the Rockies to victory. 

Betts had just returned to the lineup after a 16-game absence due to a hip injury, but this was more just to rest Betts than anything. Same goes for Turner and Smith.

But the Dodgers could use a return of their high-scoring offense to complement their dominant pitching rotation. You have to go back to Aug. 18, against the Pittsburgh Pirates, to find the last time the Dodgers scored more than five runs.

Top-winning pitcher Julio Urias will take the mound for L.A. in this battle of National League powerhouses. Urias, the left-hander, is 14-3 with a 3.17 ERA and is coming off a one-hit performance in five innings on Aug. 24 against the San Diego Padres, a 5-2 win for the Dodgers. His 1.05 WHIP is among the top 15 in the major leagues.

One could chalk this weekend up to being a take-your-foot-off-the-gas series for the Dodgers, but they can’t do this again in what will be in this NLCS rematch from last year. The Braves have rebounded fine since having their nine-game winning streak end last Monday at the hands of the New York Yankees; they came back to win two of three against the aforementioned Giants, including a 9-0 win on Sunday in the series finale.

Jorge Soler and Austin Riley both homered in the fourth inning, and Freddie Freeman also chipped in with an RBI on a 2-for-5 afternoon. Ozzie Albies chipped in with a solo shot in the ninth to put the nail in the coffin.

The 11-3 stretch the Braves are on has put them five games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East, with the New York Mets off in the distance at 7.5 games. Following this set against the Dodgers, Atlanta will play four at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies, followed by a nine-game homestand against the Washington Nationals, Miami Marlins and Rockies again.

Drew Smyly will get the start for the Braves. The left-hander will look for his 10th win of the season, as he’s 9-3 with a 4.54 ERA in 2021.


The good news for the Dodgers is they don’t have to travel. The Braves are coming in on no days off, traveling cross-country, off an emotional series victory against the best team in baseball. One would like to think the reigning World Series champions will treat this like a tune-up for the Fall Classic and prepare to play their best baseball in September. Don’t think too much into this series loss to Colorado. But this will be an entertaining series. This may come down to the bullpen, and if so, the Dodgers have the slight edge. Dodgers win 7-6.

Betting trends

The Braves haven’t been an underdog much in the second half of the season, given they’re 31-18 since the All-Star break. But Atlanta comes in 16-20 (0 net games on the money line) as an underdog this season. The under is 18-16 in that situation.

The Braves are 11-3 when Smyly (+9.1 units) starts on the road this season.

The Dodgers are 21-9 (+8.3 net games) against the National League East in 2021.

Players to watch

Braves: With all the talk of Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley has been putting himself in the MVP conversation as of late. With his home run on Sunday, Riley extended his hitting streak to five games and has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 (3 HR, 9 RBI).

Dodgers: One of the biggest problems in the Dodgers’ offense as of late is their top hitter, Justin Turner, has been off the last month. He’s batting .205 with three homers in the last 30 days. If you don’t want your pitching staff to carry such a talented team, this is one guy to get going. The return of Corey Seager has been an added bonus to this offense, but they need more from Turner.

Projected lineup

Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
Jorge Soler (R) RF
Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
Austin Riley (R) 3B
Joc Pederson (L) CF
Dansby Swanson (R) SS
Eddie Rosario (L) LF
Stephen Vogt (L) C
Drew Smyly (L) P

Trea Turner (R) SS
Max Muncy (L) 1B
Mookie Betts (R) 2B
Justin Turner (R) 3B
Will Smith (R) C
Cody Bellinger (L) CF
Chris Taylor (R) LF
Billy McKinney (L) RF
Julio Urias (L) P

Statistical leaders

Batting average: Austin Riley (.304)
Hits: Freddie Freeman (143)
Home runs: Austin Riley (28)
RBI: Ozzie Albies (86)
Stolen bases: Ozzie Albies (17)
Wins: Charlie Morton (12)
Saves: Will Smith (29)
ERA: Charlie Morton (3.60)

Batting average: Justin Turner (.279)
Hits: Chris Taylor (122)
Home runs: Max Muncy (28)
RBI: Max Muncy (76)
Stolen bases: Chris Taylor (13)
Wins: Julio Urias (14)
Saves: Kenley Jansen (28)
ERA: Walker Buehler (2.02)

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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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