The heavily favored Dodgers lost Game 1 in Atlanta. Surely they’ll win Game 2, right? Top Sportsbooks have released their odds for Game 2 of the NLCS between the Dodgers and Braves.
After seeing a lot of action in their favor from bettors expecting them to win the series, the Dodgers surprisingly lost Game 1. It could be, though, that Atlanta is better than most people thought. For reasons that I will explain, you should play the full-game run-line as your MLB pick for this contest.
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Atlanta Braves
Sunday, October 17, 2021 – 07:38 PM EDT at Truist Park
Ian Anderson Breakdown
Brave starter Ian Anderson starts Game 2 tonight at the ripe age of 23. Anderson relies primarily on his fastball, which he throws 47.1 percent of the time. This pitch is unique in terms of how hard he throws it. His fastball averages 94.6 mph, which ranks in the 72nd percentile in terms of velocity. He combines strong velocity with effective location.
Heat maps show that Anderson does a good job of changing the batter's eye level with his fastball by evenly distributing it across different parts of the plate. He'll also change the batter's eye level by playing his fastball off of his other pitches. For example, his second-favorite pitch is his changeup, which he throws with 31.4 percent frequency. Oftentimes he'll throw a high heater and then follow it up with a low changeup.
With this second-favorite pitch of his, he'll also create a change of pace since this pitch's velocity is lower than his fastball. However, he throws his change-up uniquely hard. So, in averaging 88.1 mph, his change-up resembles Zack Greinke's in terms of its velocity differential relative to his fastball's velocity. These two pitches are Anderson's most frequent pitches and they're also his most effective ones. His fastball yields a .216 BA and .349 slugging rate and his changeup yields a .197 BA and .370 slugging rate.
Observe for your Sports Betting that, in his young career, Anderson has been at his best during postseason play. After five career postseason starts, Anderson has allowed two earned runs in 23.2 innings, which amounts to a 0.76 ERA. His most recent postseason start came this year against Milwaukee. Atlanta won that game 3-0 largely because of Anderson's five shutout innings.
Anderson vs. Dodger Hitters
There are two stats that Dodger backers will point out in order to support their case for the Dodgers. Dodger bettors are wrong to do so. It is true that the only two postseason runs that Anderson has allowed came against the Dodgers. However, those two runs came in Game 7, when the Dodgers had just faced him in Game 2.
In Game 2 of that series, Anderson threw four shutout innings. This is the situation that is replicated tonight. Moreover, Dodger backers will point to Anderson's last start against the Dodgers, which came on June 4 and was, on the surface, a poor one. Anderson, though, yielded a 2.48 FIP (like ERA, but factors out fielding) in that contest, which reflects how strong his individual performance in that game actually was.
He yielded a very low hard contact rate, but was statistically unfortunate in terms of how many runs he allowed. Overall, Dodger batters have seen Anderson in 37 at-bats. Their BA against him is .135 and their slugging rate .162. Trea Turner, for example, is 0-for-3 in his career against Anderson.
Max Scherzer vs. Brave Batters
Dodger starter Max Scherzer requires no lengthy introduction. He's well-known to you, but also to Brave batters. Know for your Best Bets that in a combined total of 195 at-bats, Brave players have produced a .200 BA and .400 slugging rate against Scherzer. While the BA is low, the slugging rate is promising, especially in view of the fact that Atlanta is at home tonight, where its offense is statistically much more dangerous.
Plus, Scherzer doesn't like pitching in Truist Park where his career ERA is 3.71 in six starts. Statistically, Atlanta's is one of his least favorite ballparks. Look out especially for Freddie Freeman, who is one of multiple Brave batters who slug at least .500 against Scherzer.
Brave relievers have been almost flawless this postseason in terms of runs allowed. In possession of sufficient freshness after their starter lasted six innings in Game 1, they'll look to outperform the Dodger bullpen yet again. Given Anderson's prospects for success tonight, the strength of Atlanta's bullpen, and the promising outlook for several Brave batters tonight, I think Atlanta is a live dog tonight.
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