The Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers both ran away with their respective divisions, as they prepare to open up a best-of-seven series Thursday night. 

Let’s take a closer look at the MLB betting odds for Game 1 of this National League Division Series at Turner Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:37 p.m. ET on TBS. 

Health is a concern

Image previewLos Angeles put together one of the more amazing mid-season runs in MLB history this season, which allowed the club to win the NL West division by 11 games, but it also came with a price.

The Dodgers’ roster is certainly banged up, with the biggest missing piece being outfielder Matt Kemp, who has been shutdown with an ankle injury. 

MLB handicappers will find that the Dodgers were 8-8 as road favorites of -125 to -150 since the start of the 2013 campaign, with the UNDER going 9-7 in that situation. 

Easy street 

Atlanta was never really challenged in capturing the NL East, which could pose a problem in pressure situations in October, as it prepares to dress up as a home underdog of +125 to +150 for the first time. 

The Braves will need to do a better job of putting the ball in play, as they averaged a strikeout every 4.43 plate appearances.

What is the Series Price for this Match-up?

Kershaw 

Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (16-9, 1.83 ERA) finished the regular season with back-to-back victories, including a 11-0 home win over the Colorado Rockies last Friday, as he allowed four hits over six shutout frames. 

The left-hander was 8-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 16 road games, with opposing hitters batting just .187 against him. 

In four career games versus the Braves, Kershaw hasn’t earned a decision in compiling a 2.45 ERA.

Medlen

Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (15-12, 3.11 ERA) finished the year as one of the hottest throwers in baseball—posting a 9-3 record and 2.38 ERA in 13 appearances since the All-Star break. 

The right-hander was 9-6 with a 2.26 ERA in 17 home games (16 starts), with opposing hitters batting .260 against him. 

In eight lifetime outings (three starts) versus the Dodgers, Medlen has gone 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA.

 

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Dodgers in the first five innings for your MLB picks, but this is one of the tougher match-ups in the early going during the 2013 MLB playoffs. 

MLB Pick: Los Angeles Dodgers -147 First Five Innings