Game 2 of the NLCS features an arguable must-win game for the Dodgers as the Braves look to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Braves had to win at least one game at home against the powerhouse that is the Los Angeles Dodgers. We all thought Max Scherzer was getting the start in Game 1, but once again, Dave Roberts and the Dodgers opted for an opener instead of a traditional starting pitcher at the last second. With Scherzer lined up for Game 2, Atlanta can not be content with just one victory at home.
The Braves are going to do everything in their power to make sure this series heads back to LA with the Dodgers facing a 2-0 deficit.
Let’s take a look at the game preview and MLB betting odds for Game 2 of the NLCS.
TOP #3 Sports Betting Sites to Bet on MLB
Betting Odds & Betting Lines
Despite dropping Game 1, Bovada has the moneyline in the Dodgers favor at -180. The moneyline for the Braves sits at +148.
Meanwhile, Betonline has the Dodgers moneyline at -178 and the Braves at +164.
Dodgers Preview: Don’t Beat Themselves
In Game 5 of the NLDS against San Francisco, a Justin Turner error at third base in the ninth inning nearly cost the Dodgers the game. Fortunately for them, they had some help on a controversial check-swing call to win the game.
Last night, the Dodgers might have been able to take the lead had Chris Taylor not broken the golden rule of baseball, which is to never make the final out at the third base. Following that baserunning blunder, Ozzie Albies and Austin Riley teamed up to walk off the Dodgers in Game 1.
Look, if we are being completely honest, the Dodgers have the best roster in all of baseball. Their lineup is stacked, their pitching is filthy, and even the defense is typically solid.
Not to take anything away from the Braves, but the only thing truly standing in the way of the Los Angeles Dodgers is themselves.
As long as they don’t beat themselves, they should be fine moving forward. Also, having Max Scherzer toe the rubber on Sunday will give them an excellent opportunity to win Game 2.
Braves Preview: Keep the Pedal Down
It might be tempting to become complacent following Game 1’s dramatic victory for the Braves. However, I would go so far as to call Game 2 a must-win for Atlanta as well. If you head back to Los Angeles all tied up at one apiece, the Dodgers are going to have the advantage.
The Braves need to mentally prepare for this game as if it is a win-or-go-home scenario.
Right-hander Ian Anderson gets the call on Sunday for the Braves, and he is coming off an excellent outing that saw him strike out six batters over five scoreless innings against the Brewers in the NLDS. Anderson has to be careful, as the Dodgers have a knack for scoring a lot of runs following a lackluster offensive performance.
Braves superstar Freddie Freeman struck out four times on Saturday, but there is no way that happens again. Look for Freeman to step up and make something happen on offense in this one.
Who Might be Our Game 2 Hero?
Austin Riley led the Braves to victory in Game 1. Who is going to step up and play the role of hero in Game 2?
As aforementioned, for the Braves, it has to be Freeman. He is simply too good to go hitless again. For his career against Scherzer, the slugging first baseman is 11-47 with three home runs. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, I expect Freeman to give Scherzer trouble in his at-bats.
However, look for Freeman’s main offensive production to come against the Dodgers bullpen late in the game.
I don’t know what it is about Cody Bellinger, but for some reason, the guy always seems to come through in the playoffs regardless of the circumstance. It doesn’t matter if he won the MVP during the regular season or hit well under .200, Bellinger finds a way to get the job done in the clutch.
In limited at-bats against Anderson, Bellinger is just 0-2. But through seven games in the 2021 postseason so far, he is 6-18 with 3 RBI’s and three stolen bases. Much has been made about Bellinger choking up on the bat more, and so far, it has led to a great deal of success at the plate.
His speed and defense has helped the team immensely as well, so look for Bellinger to continue to be a factor in Game 2.
Prediction: Can the Dodgers Even Things up?
Yesterday, we went against the betting odds and picked Atlanta to get the victory. Today, we are going to roll with the odds and give our MLB betting pick to the Dodgers.
With Max Scherzer on the hill and the possibility of falling to 0-2 in the series, the Dodgers will have a chip on their shoulder in this game. The lineup is going to score more than two runs, Scherzer is going to give the team 6 or 7 innings, and the Dodgers are going to pull out the victory and send this series home all knotted up 1.