Saturday night, the 2021 MLB playoffs continue with Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The Braves have the chance to clinch their first NL title since 1999, as they hold a 3-2 lead over the defending champion Dodgers.
There was a big twist within 24 hours of the game, when it was revealed the Dodgers weren't able to start Max Scherzer with his fatigued right arm. Instead, Walker Buehler gets the ball on short rest.
As has been and will continue to be the case, I'm doing the game picks over on SportsLine. I've gone 18-9-1 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 8, -120
The over has hit each of the last four games this series, so we're gonna run it back.
The first start on short rest of Buehler's career took place in Game 4 of the NLDS. He threw well, allowing only on run on three hits, but he lasted just 4 1/3 innings and 71 pitches. He walked two. In his next outing, the Braves got him for four runs (two earned) on six hits in just 3 2/3 innings. The unearned runs happened due to a Gavin Lux error, sure, but it was a fly ball against the outfield wall, not a routine grounder. Buehler certainly wasn't fooling the Braves' offense much. He also walked three. That's rare. He's averaged only 2.3 walks per nine innings over his entire career and it was the exact same rate this regular season. The bullpen is tired and banged up as well.
On the other side is another very-talented starter in Ian Anderson. He only lasted three innings in his first start and gave up a two-run shot to Corey Seager in the first inning. For whatever reason, that's been a theme with Anderson this year. In the regular season, he had a 6.38 ERA in the first (take a look at Dodgers for first team to score at -190, for those interested, but those are awfully big odds for that prop). The Dodgers would love to get an early lead, will likely be aggressive and Anderson struggles in the first.
This doesn't seem like it'll be a slugfest, with two good starters and the bullpens having had Friday off to rest a bit, but we don't need one. A 6-3 or 5-4 game wins here.
BONUS: Freddie Freeman home run, +400
Freeman was atrocious in Atlanta to start the series, as he went 0 for 8 with seven strikeouts. He pulled himself out of the slump by raking some opposite-field singles in Game 3 and he's back on track. In the three games in Dodger Stadium, Freeman went 6 for 12 with two homers. He's a good bet to keep it going here. If Buehler is tired, Freeman's experience comes in handy, as he's 5 for 17 (.294) against him in his career. Freeman has homered twice off Buehler before, so let's run with it.