In sports betting terms, Las Vegas might as well be a suburb of Los Angeles. Whenever any LA team is in the playoffs (any sport), fans flood Vegas to show support for their team by placing bets.
That means sportsbooks will be rooting for the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS that begins Saturday night in Georgia. It would be impossible to “split the money” even if we wanted to. Who’s going to bet Atlanta? Only a relative handful of sharps if they see an attractive price.
The South Point and other Nevada books will try to determine the best odds to take reasonable positions against the Dodgers for the NLCS and on a game-by-game basis.
Let’s start with the series. I opened Los Angeles -210/Atlanta + 180 to take the best-of-seven. Atlanta does have home field advantage if needed. But, the Dodgers are rightly perceived as the much superior side. Remember, regular season records were Los Angeles 106-56, Atlanta 88-73.
My first bet, surprisingly, was on the Braves! A sharp took the dog. I was a bit concerned I had opened too high. I dropped to -200/+ 175 to test the waters. Dodger money was soon flowing. I’m back to -210/+ 180 heading into what’s going to be a very busy Saturday at the counters.
If you’re wondering about odds to win the World Series. I have the Dodgers the clear favorite at + 120. Los Angeles would be a head-to-head favorite against whoever wins the American League. Atlanta is + 600, and would be a dog to either AL entry.
For now, the sportsbook is in a good position on this prop. We win with any of the four. The Boston Red Sox winning the World Series is actually our worst outcome. But, there’s plenty of time for that to change. Expected support for the Dodgers could alter the equation over the next week.
Now, to Saturday night’s series opening line:
Saturday, Oct. 16
Los Angeles -128
Atlanta + 118
8 runs (Under -115/Over -105)
Books have been slow to post openers here because there’s been uncertainty about the Dodgers’ starting pitcher. It’s currently expected that Max Scherzer will get the nod. Scherzer got the save in Thursday’s series clincher against the San Francisco Giants. If he’s not ready, the Dodgers will likely go with a bullpen game. Obviously, there would be a game-day price adjustment on the game and total if that’s the case.
(Editor's note: The Dodgers announced Corey Knebel as the starter for Game 1 and it will be a bullpen day. Per Chris Andrews, the line was adjusted to Dodgers -105/Braves -105)
Max Fried is a lock to start for Atlanta barring late-breaking injury news.
Look for game-day updates throughout the NLCS and ALCS on my twitter account. You can follow me @andrewssports. I’m still planning one last expanded market report before the World Series that begins Tuesday, October 26.
A fantastic sports betting weekend is about to get started. I wish all of you the very best of luck.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.