The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers have won two of the last three World Series, and they have the two best records in Major League Baseball entering the opener of a massive four-game series. We dive into our best Braves vs. Dodgers picks based on the best MLB odds.
The Braves and Dodgers are in the driver's seat to win the World Series this year, according to FanGraphs. An NLCS matchup between two teams likely to win 100-plus games would be appointment viewing, just as it was in 2020 and 2021 when the teams faced each other with a trip to the World Series on the line.
Atlanta is a season-high 42 games over .500 after winning 16 of its last 21 games. To beat the franchise record of 106 wins set in 1998, the Braves would have to go 20-10 in their final 30 games.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles is the fourth team to win 20-plus games in a month this season, and its 23 wins in August are the most by a team in a calendar month, beating out the Tampa Bay Rays’ 22 April wins.
Here is our best Braves vs. Dodgers pick (odds via our best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
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Braves ML (-134 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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Though Atlanta is 13.5 games clear of its competition in the NL East, it is only four games ahead of Los Angeles in the race for home-field advantage in the NL playoffs. And the way that the Braves navigated their pitching rotation in the last series, namely thrusting Darius Vines into a starting role to get their rotation extra rest, means they are treating this like a playoff series.
The maneuvering of the rotation allowed Spencer Strider to get the start in the opener, and in his last appearance, he matched Dwight Gooden for the fewest starts ever needed to reach 400 strikeouts, per ESPN Stats & Info. Strider is seventh in the NL with a 3.46 ERA and is looking to break a tie with Chicago Cubs southpaw Justin Steele for the MLB lead in wins (they each have 15).
Dodgers righty Lance Lynn has made five appearances with the team and allowed six home runs in 31 innings. That is a dangerous way to make a living against a Braves offense with seven players with 20-plus home runs (no other team has more than four).
Atlanta is balanced offensively in either split, leading the majors in OPS against right-handed and left-handed pitchers. And the Braves can rely on their pitching if their offense can't break through for a big hit, as evidenced by the fact that they became the first time in Coors Field history to win a game after producing 15-plus hits but three or fewer runs, per Justin Toscano.
With Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman as fixtures at the top of the Dodgers lineup, Los Angeles had the highest OPS (.987) from the 1-2 hitters in its lineup entering yesterday of any team in MLB history. However, Atlanta’s .905 OPS from its 1-2 hitters is not far behind as the fourth-highest of all-time, but we much prefer the depth of its lineup to that of the Dodgers.
Los Angeles is every bit the World Series contender Atlanta is, but it's a little overvalued entering this matchup after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks for its 11th consecutive win against NL West teams. Give us the team with the better starting pitcher and deeper lineup.
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Braves vs. Dodgers best odds
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With our other best sports betting apps more aligned with moneyline odds from -140 to -142, FanDuel jumps out as the best value play for Braves backers. With the wagers split 59/41 in favor of Atlanta early Wednesday morning, it will be interesting to see if the odds continue to rise or if sportsbooks will be content with that two-way action and have limited fluctuation throughout the day.
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Interestingly, DraftKings opened the lowest of any shop, with the Braves -130. And while the odds there have moved as much as 12 points to -142, FanDuel has yet to budge off its opening number of -134 since late Wednesday night. However, despite being the most affordable sportsbook from a moneyline perspective, BetMGM matches it as the best run line odds, paying +125 to those who lay the -1.5 runs with the Braves.
FanDuel also differs the most from the others on the total, as it is the only shop offering an O/U of 8.5 runs (Over +100/Under -122), while all of our other best sports betting sites have a total of 8.0. Of those that have an eight-run total, DraftKings (-112), BetRivers (-115), and Caesars (-120) are all juiced to the Over.
- Date: Thursday, Aug. 31, 10:10 p.m. ET
- TV: BSSE, SNLA, MLBN
- Location: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
- Weather: 87 degrees, 5% chance of precipitation, wind 7 mph S
Braves-Dodgers pick made 8/31/2023 at 6:39 a.m. ET.
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