MLB playoff picks: Best bet for Game 7 in the NLCS
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An 0-2 Saturday was less than ideal, though cashing our Rays AL pennant futures certainly helped to soften the blow.
Our championship series record now sits at 7-6. Let's finish strong.
Braves (+120) at Dodgers (-140), 8:15 p.m. ET
What a series. Through six games the ups and downs have been truly remarkable, with both teams producing some incredible, and forgettable, moments - and through it all there’s nothing to separate them.
We head into Game 7 with clear storylines. The Dodgers are still chasing a World Series title that's eluded them despite their recent regular-season dominance, hoping to avoid yet another playoff disappointment. The Braves, meanwhile, had lost 10 consecutive playoff series before this season, and they're close to putting decades of postseason futility behind them by sealing their first World Series berth since 1999.
And Atlanta is sending its sensational rookie pitcher to the mound. Ian Anderson continued his electric postseason in Game 2, limiting the Dodgers to just one hit and no runs over four innings. He’s now pitched 15 2/3 innings this postseason without allowing a run, surrendering just six hits with 22 strikeouts.
Every time we question whether the stage might be intimidating for Anderson, he replies emphatically. From his first start back on Aug. 26 to his most recent in Game 2, every outing from the 22-year-old suggests the Dodgers have cause for concern. Among starters this season, Anderson ranked first in xSLG (.234), and second in xBA (.184) and xwOBA (.239), behind only Trevor Bauer. He led all of MLB in barrel rate allowed (minimum 100 plate appearances against). Hitters simply can’t touch him.
The Dodgers have yet to name a starter for Game 7, but that will merely be a formality for manager Dave Roberts. This is very much shaping up to be a bullpen game for Los Angeles. Clayton Kershaw would have been in line to start had he not been scratched from Game 2 with back spasms.
Brusdar Graterol will surely throw in this contest, perhaps as an opener. We’ll certainly see Game 3 starter Julio Urias too, and he holds a strong splits advantage over a Braves lineup that struggles against left-handers. Tony Gonsolin started Game 2 and is also in line to appear on regular rest. Kershaw could pitch out of the bullpen on short rest, though Roberts may be hesitant to call on him after how poorly that worked out last year.
The Dodgers may not have officially announced a starter, but there's no concern for them on the pitching front in Game 7. The only question is whether their hitters will be able to get to Anderson, or the very strong Braves relievers who will follow.
Pick: Under 8 (-110)
Alex Moretto is a sports betting writer for theScore. A journalism graduate from Guelph-Humber University, he has worked in sports media for over a decade. He will bet on anything from the Super Bowl to amateur soccer, is too impatient for futures, and will never trust a kicker. Find him on Twitter @alexjmoretto.
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