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Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers - 10/20/16 MLB NLCS Game Five Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Chicago Cubs (107-61-1) at Los Angeles Dodgers (96-74)

MLB Baseball: Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 8:08 pm (Dodger Stadium)

J Lester (20-5) (2.33) vs. Kenta Maeda (16-12) (3.70)

The Line: Los Angeles Dodgers +145 / Chicago Cubs -155 --- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: FS1

The Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers play a crucial game five of the NLCS Thursday night at Dodger Stadium on FS1.

The Chicago Cubs can retake full control of this series heading back to Wrigley Field if they can steal game five as well. The Cubs finally got their offense going in game four after putting together 13 hits and 10 runs, and Chicago has now scored five or more runs in five of its last seven games. The fact the Cubs were shutout in games two and three are still concerning, but it’s clear Chicago is more than capable of putting things together at any moment and it takes just one or two guys to light that spark. Javier Baez and Kris Bryant have combined for 20 hits and eight RBI while Anthony Rizzo has five hits on 31 at bats. The Chicago Cubs have won 13 of their last 18 games when scoring more than three runs. Jon Lester gets the nod, and he was 19-5 with a 2.44 ERA and 197 strikeouts this season. Lester is 7-6 with a 2.57 ERA and 95 strikeouts in his postseason career.

Chicago Cubs at Los Angeles Dodgers - 10/20/16 MLB NLCS Game Five Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers need this game to give themselves two chances to advance to the World Series before heading back to Chicago. The Dodgers pitching staff fell apart for the second time this series, allowing a combined 18 runs in the two losses to the Cubs. While the Dodgers lineup is capable of doing damage, it’s not going to matter much if Los Angeles is trailing by six runs in the middle of the game. The Los Angeles Dodgers have lost 11 of their last 14 games when allowing more than three runs. As for the offense, Justin Turner and Adrian Gonzalez have combined for 17 hits and 13 RBI while Joc Pederson has eight hits on 30 at bats. Kenta Maeda takes the hill, and he was 16-11 with a 3.48 ERA and 179 strikeouts this season. Maeda is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and six strikeouts in his postseason career.

The Cubs are 5-2 in Lesters last 7 road starts and 24-7 in Lesters last 31 starts overall. The Dodgers are 6-1 in Maedas last 7 home starts and 0-4 in Maedas last 4 starts overall. The under is 33-16-5 in the last 54 meetings in Los Angeles and 14-4 in the last 18 meetings overall.

Lester has a ton of playoff experience and has allowed just one run and nine hits in his 14 innings of work this postseason. The Dodgers have also managed just two runs against Lester this season in a combined 21 innings. Maeda is in the postseason for the first time and is allowing a run per inning at the moment. Overall, Maeda has allowed three or more runs in four straight games and the Dodgers have lost five of the last seven games he's pitched. The pitching matchup heavily favors the Cubs in this spot, so that's where you have to lean when dealing with two offenses capable of lighting it up.

The Cubs have the advantage here, forcing the Dodgers to turn to Clayton Kershaw for game six on Saturday.

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Chicago Cubs -155

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