Atlanta Braves vs. Los Angeles Dodgers – NLCS Game 3 Prediction
After authoring a pair of walk-off victories in the bottom of the ninth, Atlanta heads to La La Land for Game 3 of the NLCS. A Braves victory on Tuesday would put the Dodgers in the ultimate bind; LA must turn the tables if they plan on making it back to the World Series.
Before landing on a Braves vs. Dodgers Game 3 pick, let’s check in with the odds and preview the matchup.
Braves vs. Dodgers Odds – Game 3 of the 2021 NLCS
The oddsmakers at the best MLB betting sites are taking the same approach as they did in Game 2, installing the Dodgers at -172 on the money line. Walker Buehler gets the nod for LA in Game 3 and will be pitching on a full week’s worth of rest. Buehler (16-4, 2.47 ERA) struggled in Game 1 of the NLDS and was limited to just 71 pitches in Game 4 (pitching on three days rest).
On the other side, Charlie Morton boasts a 3.86 ERA and 14 Ks in 9.1 postseason innings. Like Buehler, Morton hasn’t pitched since October 12th and should be well-rested for Tuesday’s outing.
3 Keys For the Braves in Game 3
Get Freddie Freeman Going. The Braves first baseman prides himself on being one of the most dependable hitters in baseball. Unfortunately, the 32-year-old lefty is 0-8 with 7 strikeouts thus far in the NLCS. To make matters worse, Freeman is just 1-11 lifetime vs. Walker Buehler.
A lineup that’s already missing Ronald Acuna Jr. and Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta’s going to have a tough time keeping pace in Los Angeles without Freeman being a steady contributor.
A Quality Start From Charlie Morton. Charlie Morton logged at least six innings in 20 of his 33 starts during the regular season. Given the way the Braves expended their bullpen on Sunday night (7 relievers combined for 6 IP), Brian Snitker would greatly benefit from Morton pitching deep into this one.
Worth noting, Morton scattered three hits and one run across six innings in his last start versus the Dodgers (8/31/21).
Ride the Positive Vibes. Baseball is a game of momentum. Most (me included) picked the Brewers to beat Atlanta in the NLDS; hardly anyone anticipated the Braves jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.
And yet here Atlanta is pinning the Dodgers backs up against the wall.
The Braves are the 4th team in MLB history to win Games 1 and 2 of a postseason series via walk-off.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2021
Eddie Rosario is the 5th player in postseason history with a 4-hit game including a walk-off hit. pic.twitter.com/9oLkerGsvt
Joc Pederson’s in the zone and Austin Riley’s blossoming in front of our eyes. The upstart bunch in Atlanta sure picked a good time to put their rally caps on.
3 Keys For the Dodgers in Game 3
Walker Buehler Pitches Like An Ace. Coming off a game in which Max Scherzer had a dead arm, it’s crucial for Walker Buehler to perform like an ace. Considering we’re in October, where the pressure is at its peak, that shouldn’t be a problem for the 27-year-old right-handed hurler.
With the next three games scheduled on successive days, Dave Roberts needs to find ways to get his top bullpen arms some rest on Tuesday. Of course, that hinges on LA getting a stellar performance out of Buehler.
Hit With Runners In Scoring Position. The Dodgers are 2-18 with runners in scoring position through the first two games in this series. That’s not going to cut it against an uber-talented Braves team.
Among those who aren’t panicking about the lack of timely hitting, Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts isn’t becoming overly concerned with the smallish sample size.
Unleash the Turners. Trea Turner led the National League in hitting in 2021. Justin Turner is arguably the most clutch postseason hitter in Dodgers franchise history. The problem is both are underdelivering in the 2021 playoffs.
Trea is just 7/35 (.200) with one run and one RBI. Justin’s 3/28 (.107) at the dish with six total bases.
At least one and preferably both need to get going on Tuesday to support the LA batting order. As of now, no one is doing much of anything outside of Mookie Betts and Will Smith.
Braves vs. Dodgers Game 3 Betting Pick
Can the Dodgers really plummet into a three-nothing hole? I doubt it, and therefore my Braves vs. Dodgers prediction for Game 3 of the NLCS is to back the Boys in Blue.
Buehler’ home, he’s on full rest, and there’s no question he’ll be invigorated after a “so-so” showing his last time out.
Head to BetOnline to place this bet as the Dodges are -180 to win at lots of competing sites.
Dodgers to Win-172