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Sunday's Dodgers vs. Braves pick from Matt Zylbert

Dodgers vs. Braves Prediction

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 1:20 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Trevor Bauer (6-3, 2.24 ERA) vs. Max Fried (2-3, 5.12 ERA)

Dodgers vs. Braves

Err, a total of 8.5 for this strong pitching matchup? Did the linesmakers forget the beautiful 1-0 pitcher’s duel in the playoffs last year between these two elite starters?

Apparently so and, not that we need it, but emotions from that special 13-inning postseason contest will be in the air, too.

For Bauer, that was his first playoff outing since his Cleveland Indians days and he couldn’t have been better capping off his Cy Young year. Just ask any Braves hitter, as Bauer blanked them in his 7.2 dominant innings, scattering only two baserunners and striking out 12. He was in total control.

That’s exactly what can be said of Bauer’s first year in LA, too, given that he’s picked up where he left off from his hardware-winning campaign. He enters today’s 13th assignment of the season ranked in the top 10 among all starting pitchers in ERA (2.24), WHIP (0.83), strikeout rate (11.3 K/9) and batting average against (.150!).

Bauer’s living up to his bulldog-like rep, having the chance this afternoon to take the league-lead in innings pitched. He’s been very consistent, clocking in with a quality start in all but two of his starts.

Fried, meanwhile, has not been able to maintain great success from recent years during his emergence — at least thus far.

First of all, the lanky 6-foot-4 left-hander has pitched better than his current 5.12 ERA suggests. Look no further than the 3.91 FIP he’s posted. Fried is also notably punching out 9.54 K/9, his highest strikeout rate in three seasons.

Outside of three bad showings — at least one of which was probably affected by early injury woes — the Atlanta Brave southpaw has been his normally good self. In fact, he allowed no more than two runs in any of his other five assignments.

Taking on the reigning world champs can be a daunting task for any pitcher but if you’re going to be on a bet that needs to see their offense minimized, you’d ideally want it with a lefty opposition on the hill.

Something that’s been a trend more times than not is the the Dodgers’ less-effective offense when facing a left-hander. Their team OPS against southpaws (.708) is more than 50 points lower than it is opposite right-handed pitching (.761).

Being a getaway Sunday game following a nighttime affair, we’ll get the bonus of at least slightly-reduced lineups. Trust Fried to get back on track, and combined with the usual Bauer mastery, pitching will rule.

Dodgers vs. Braves Picks

Pick: UNDER 8.5 @ -105

MLB Leans

Marlins-Pirates Under 8

Diamondbacks-Brewers Under 8

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “33-28-3,” +1.26 units

Yesterday’s Result: Cubs-Giants Under 7.5 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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