Thursday night, the 2021 MLB playoffs continue with Game 5 of the National League Championship Series. You can follow along with live updates here. The Braves have the chance to clinch their first NL title since 1999, as they hold a 3-1 lead over the defending champion Dodgers.
As has been and will continue to be the case, I'm doing the game picks over on SportsLine. I've gone 17-9-1 thus far in the playoffs -- and that was after an 0-1-1 (moneyline and over/under pick) start in the AL Wild Card Game -- so hop on over there and subscribe.
In this space, we'll focus on props, the over/under and other fun.
All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
Over 7.5, -115
The Braves are now averaging 5.5 runs per game this series and there's a familiarity with what they are likely to see in Game 5. It's a Dodgers bullpen game, opened by Joe Kelly. They've already seen Kelly three times this series. Not everyone, obviously, but once a team starts seeing more of a reliever in a series there aren't really any secrets.
Going past Kelly, who likely only goes one or two innings, the Braves have seen Phil Bickford three times, Justin Bruihl three times, Tony Gonsolin three times, Alex Vesia three times and Blake Treinen twice. Kenley Jansen has also pitched three times, though his stuff is so good now I don't think it compromises him. Still, absent something like Max Scherzer dealing for five innings in relief -- which I cannot imagine will happen -- the Braves are going to get cracks as guys they've already seen a lot of or have already hit hard (Brusdar Graterol and Corey Knebel).
Where this gets tricky is the Dodgers putting up some runs. Max Fried pitched very well against them in Game 1 and he's fully rested. The Dodgers offense is without Max Muncy and Justin Turner. The Braves have used a lot of relief in this series and this is the Dodgers' second crack at Fried in less than a week, though.
Thankfully this is a pretty low over. A 5-3 win gets us home and that's very reasonable with these two offenses.
BONUS: Eddie Rosario home run, +350
Riding the hot hand is pretty tough. It's rare for a player to homer in back-to-back playoff games. It just seems like this series is trending in a certain direction at this point, so let's get nuts.
Rosario has been an extra-base machine since joining the Braves. He had four doubles, two triples and seven homers in 96 regular-season at-bats and so far in this series he's 10 for 17 with a triple and two homers. Those extra-base hits all came in Game 4. He's feeling great right now, sporting that mental toughness that I like to call "confidence to the point of being internally cocky." Let's bank on him getting to one of the Dodgers relievers in Game 5 to boost that NLCS MVP resume.