Braves vs. Dodgers prediction and odds for Thursday, August 31 (NLCS Preview?)

The two best teams in baseball start a massive weekend series.

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99)
Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Spencer Strider (99) / Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The two best teams in baseball square off for a four game set out at Dodger Stadium. The 87-45 Atlanta Braves and the 83-49 Los Angeles Dodgers look to be on a collision course for the NLCS and we get a little preview here as the calendar turns over to September. 

Get ready for a lot of fastballs with Spencer Strider on the mound against Lance Lynn. Strider is a Cy Young candidate at 15-4 with a 3.46 ERA and Lynn has looked like a Cy Young caliber pitcher since getting traded to the Dodgers. Lynn is 10-9 with a 5.56 ERA this season. 

We’re going to get into the odds for this one and my pick, but first check out this great promo from the FanDuel Sportsbook. 

Whether you believe in LA or Atlanta, you can click the link below, sign up, deposit $5, bet either side, then collect $200 in bonus bets and $100 off NFL Sunday Ticket win or lose. 

Braves vs. Dodgers odds, run line and total

Braves vs. Dodgers prediction and pick

I’ll be honest, there is very little you can do to get me to bet against Spencer Strider. He’s the best pitcher in baseball. Sure, he has some blow up starts here and there, but those are few and far between. Across his last three starts he is 3-0 with one run allowed in 21.0 innings and 25 strikeouts to six walks. 

Strider has a 99th percentile strikeout rate, a 99th percentile whiff rate, 97th percentile chase rate, and 94th percentile fastball velocity. If the 24-year-old flame throwing righty has it going, he’s unhittable and lately he’s really had it going. 

Lance Lynn has been fantastic since joining the Dodgers. He has a 2.03 ERA in five starts with 26 strikeouts to six walks. The problem is he just keeps letting the ball leave the yard. In those five starts he’s allowed six home runs including two last time out against the Red Sox. Don’t worry, the Braves are only No. 1 in the MLB in home runs with 42 more than the second place Dodgers. For some context the gap between first and second is two more than the gap between the Dodgers and the 13th place Padres. 

The other subplot here is the battle for NL MVP: Ronald Acuna Jr. vs. Mookie Betts. Betts has recently overtaken Acuna as the favorite, so this will be a great back and forth. I’m taking the Braves in Game 1 and I literally cannot wait. 

Follow all Josh Yourish’s bets HERE

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change