MLB Baseball: Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 1, 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, MLB Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Dodgers -195, Braves +165; Over 8 +100, Under 8 -120
BetMGM: NL
Caesars: Dodgers -190, Braves +170; Over 7.5 -120, Under 7.5 +100

Season record (entering Tuesday)
Braves: 70-60 (1st place, NL East)
Dodgers: 83-49 (2nd place, NL West)

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Braves - Dodgers preview and analysis


Recent form
Braves: 6-4 in last 10
Dodgers: 7-3 in last 10

It was only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Dodgers’ offense came alive.

Maybe not in the form of 8-10 runs, but the power was going to be coming at a more consistent rate, and it happened.

The Dodgers hit four homers and gave Julio Urias plenty of help to propel the Dodgers to a 5-3 win over the Atlanta Braves in the first game of their three-game set at Dodger Stadium on Monday.

Game 3 of this battle between two of the top teams in the National League is on Wednesday.

The bulk of L.A.’s power came in the early innings, and that’s all Urias needed. Max Muncy hit his team-leading 29th home run in the bottom of the first inning, followed by Will Smith in the second to make it 2-0. Mookie Betts hit his first blast since coming off the IL on Aug. 26, and Corey Seager tacked on a two-run homer in the third to give the Dodgers a 5-0 lead.

Urias got through six innings and had seven strikeouts for his team-best 15th win of the season, and Blake Treinen got the save while giving Kenley Jansen the night off.

The Braves also got their offense via the power at the plate, but it was too little, too late on that accord. Atlanta got back into the game with homers from Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman in the top of the sixth, and then Adam Duvall made it 5-3 in the top of the seventh. Atlanta got two runners on in the top of the ninth but Stephen Vogt couldn’t bring them home.

Atlanta starter Drew Smyly got roughed up in 4.2 innings, striking out five but giving up those four home runs.

The win brought the Dodgers to within 1.5 games of the San Francisco Giants for first place in the National League West. The Giants are in the midst of a series with the Milwaukee Brewers; San Francisco lost 3-1 on Monday.

Atlanta’s loss has closed the gap between them and the Philadelphia Phillies. Thanks to their four-game winning streak entering Tuesday, the Phillies are now 3.5 games back of the Braves for first in the National League East. The New York Mets have also won consecutive games and trail by seven.

At the time of publishing, the second game of the series Tuesday has yet to start, but it will be a battle of right-handed stars when Charlie Morton takes the mound for Atlanta to face Cy Young candidate Walker Buehler.

In the series finale, Max Scherzer will try to improve to 5-0 since being traded to the Dodgers from the Washington Nationals. Scherzer has won five of his last six starts dating back to July 29; he’s allowed five earned runs in five starts with the Dodgers. Max Fried will oppose Scherzer on the mound for the Braves; he’s 11-7 with a 3.54 ERA.

Prediction


It’s near impossible to go against the Dodgers when Scherzer’s on the mound. Especially at home, where he seems to have thrived greatly, Scherzer has turned into a different animal since donning Dodger blue. Give me the red-hot pitcher you don’t want to see in October. Dodgers win 6-3.

Betting trends


The Dodgers are 40-17 (+4.2 net games) when a favorite of -150 or more.

Teams are 8-2 (+4.3 net games) when Scherzer starts as a favorite of -150 or more.

The Braves are 1-3 when an underdog of +150 or more this season.

Key injuries


Braves: None

Dodgers: SP Clayton Kershaw (forearm, 60-day IL; threw simulated game Monday)

Players to watch


Braves: Freddie Freeman sat on 27 home runs for a long time. Monday was his first blast since Aug. 18, but the former MVP has done fine putting the ball in play. He’s hit safely in eight of his last 10 games.

Dodgers: As Max Muncy closes in on his third 30-homer season, he may be getting his bat going in the process. He’s got hits in two of his last three games entering Tuesday after going hitless in his previous five.

Projected lineup


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

Dodgers:
Trea Turner (R) 2B
Max Muncy (L) 1B
Mookie Betts (R) RF
Justin Turner (R) 3B
AJ Pollock (R) LF
Corey Seager (L) SS
Chris Taylor (R) CF
Will Smith (R) C
Max Scherzer (R) P

Statistical leaders


Braves:
Batting average: Austin Riley (.303)
Hits: Freddie Freeman (144)
Home runs: Freddie Freeman & 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)

Dodgers:
Batting average: Justin Turner (.280)
Hits: Chris Taylor (122)
Home runs: Max Muncy (29)
RBI: Max Muncy (77)
Stolen bases: Chris Taylor (13)
Wins: Julio Urias (15)
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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