The 2021 National League Championship Series between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves will get underway Saturday night. Will the Dodgers roll to their second straight NL pennant or will the Braves get their revenge after losing last season’s NLCS to L.A. in seven games?
Dodgers 4-0: +650
Dodgers 4-1: +330
Dodgers 4-2: +380
Dodgers 4-3: +475
Braves 4-0: +2800
Braves 4-1: +1400
Braves 4-2: +750
Braves 4-3: +600
The Dodgers won the season series between these two teams, 4-2. Their success included a three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium in late August and early September against a Braves team that will look more similar to the one they will see in this series compared to the Atlanta squad that took two out of three from L.A. in June.
There’s no doubt that the moves the Braves made at the Trade Deadline, acquiring a whole new outfield in Eddie Rosario, Adam Duvall and Jorge Soler, have made a huge difference for Atlanta’s offense. Max Fried looks like one of the best pitchers in baseball, Charlie Morton is a sturdy playoff performer, and Atlanta’s once-beleaguered bullpen has registered a 2.71 ERA since the start of September.
Meanwhile, this Dodgers team is probably better than the one Atlanta saw during the 2020 playoffs. Trea Turner and Max Scherzer have been as advertised since coming over at the end of July. Setup man Blake Treinen looks totally unhittable, and closer Kenley Jansen, who wasn’t gerat during the postseason last year, is dominating right now.
The Braves bested the Brewers in the NLDS, but that pales slightly in comparison to the Dodgers overcoming a 2-1 deficit to knock off their archrivals, the 107-win San Francisco Giants, in a classic series. They will be riding a ton of momentum into Atlanta for Saturday’s game. Yes, they will be without Max Muncy and Clayton Kershaw, but those injuries haven’t seemed to hurt L.A. at all thanks to its immense depth. Atlanta, on the other hand, will likely be without Soler for a portion of the NLCS following his positive COVID-19 test during the Division Series. That is a big loss, but it also might open up more at-bats for former Dodger and common postseason star Joc Pederson.
The Dodgers deserve to be the favorites in this series. Atlanta has the home-field advantage, but what does that really mean when Atlanta had the worst home record of any playoff team during the regular season (42-38)? The Dodgers had the best home record in baseball (58-23). This should be a series full of close games, but Dodgers in 5 or Dodgers in 6 feels right. If I have to choose one — and I do — I’ll go with Dodgers in 6, in part because of the bigger payout.
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