2018 NLCS Preview - Can Brewers Take Down Dodgers?

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TwinSpires Staff

October 11th, 2018

The Milwaukee Brewers host the LA Dodgers to open the National League Championship Series on Friday, Oct. 12. Clayton Kershaw will start for the Dodgers and the Brewers have yet to announce a Game 1 or 2 starter, so no line is yet posted. However, the winner advances to the World Series, and the 2018 NLCS price is set.

Odds to win 2018 NLCS

Los Angeles Dodgers -150 -vs- Milwaukee Brewers +130

Despite home field advantage, the Brewers are a sizable underdog against the Dodgers. Many metrics point to Los Angeles, but the Brewers have won 11-straight games leading into the NL Championship Series and have outscored those opponents 80-34. Following a regular season that was pretty disappointing for LA Dodgers fans until September, Los Angels has won 7-of-8 and outscored opponents 47-15 during the run.

Milwaukee will rely on its deep bullpen to carry them in the 2018 NLCS after finishing 4th in the majors with a 7.1 WAR from their relievers. The Dodgers bullpen ranked 16th in WAR (3.1) according to FanGraphs, but was without closer Kenley Jansen for an extended period. Still, the Dodgers relievers struggled too often, but have been much better the past month, ranking No. 4 in bullpen win probability added. Milwaukee’s relievers led the league the past 30 days. Key is whether Milwaukee can get to those Dodgers relievers sooner, and the the Brewers will face the Dodgers top two starters at Miller Park to open the series in Clayton Kershaw and Walker Buehler.
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Milwaukee Brewers are dogs in the 2018 NLCS

Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich has become a star and a MVP finalist this season. His strength and ability to hit left handers is key with LA starters Kershaw and HJ Ryu posing more problems for Milwaukee’s other left-handed hitters.

The Dodgers are a fly ball hitting team and No. 1 in the National League this season hitting balls into the air. Miller Park is a good home run hitting ballpark, and the roof will likely be closed with cooler weather. That is more favorable to LA, who led the NL in runs scored on the road. The Dodgers home park suppresses scoring more, so situational totals plays will be the norm when attacking 2018 NLCS game lines.

Stronger pitching usually prevails in playoff series, and the performance of Milwaukee’s starters, or short-term relievers asked to start by manager Craig Counsel, will be another key for the Brewers to take down the Dodgers. But close contests have been what Milwaukee has thrived on this season with half its regular season games decided by two runs or fewer, and the Brewers going 50-31 in those games. Milwaukee also led all of baseball with 33 one-run victories.

Milwaukee was also money this season, leading the National League in profit produced with more than 23-units of profit. While the Brewers were undervalued, last year’s NL champion LA Dodgers were over-valued from the start of the season. Los Angeles lost nearly 23-units of profit for Dodgers money line bettors this season to rank second-to-last in the National League. Lets follow the money and Milwaukee to an underdog score in the NL Championship Series.

2018 NLCS Predictions - Milwaukee Brewers in 7 games

Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.