Astros vs Phillies Picks For World Series Game 3
Photo Illustration by Matt Roembke. Pictured: Bryce Harper and Yordan Alvarez
Astros vs. Phillies Game 3 Odds
|Over/Under||8 (-105 / -115)|
|Time||8:03 p.m. ET|
The extra day off means the Phillies will go with Ranger Suarez over Noah Syndergaard to start this one, while Houston remains committed to Lance McCullers Jr.
With the series knotted at one game a piece, who has the edge in Game 3? Our analysts have a trio of bets to recommend, including one play on the moneyline and two on the first five innings.
Here are our best bets for Game 3 of the World Series between the Astros and Phillies.
MLB Odds & Picks
Phillies Moneyline (+108)
Odds via FanDuel
Kenny Ducey: I realize no one dares fade the Big Bad Astros with the imposing Lance McCullers on the hill, but I think we ought to give the home team a bit more of a chance here in Game 3.
Let’s first start with the fact that McCullers didn’t even pitch all that well during the regular season. I mean, yes, he did finish with a 2.27 ERA, but his expected ERA was a full run higher than that. He also walked north of 11% of the hitters he faced for a second straight year.
Do I respect McCullers and think he’s a good pitcher? Yes. Am I scared to fade him with the hottest offense in baseball, which has a higher OPS this postseason than the Astros? No.
The main thing here, though, is that McCullers relies heavily on breaking balls. Curveballs and sliders account for more than 50% of all his deliveries, and that’s not exactly a winning strategy against the Phillies. They rank seventh in weighted runs per 100 curveballs, and 11th against the slider. Bryson Stott and Alec Bohm find themselves in the top 35 of all hitters in run value against the curve, and Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber are all top-45 against sliders.
So, while many may key in on whether or not the Phillies are facing a lefty on a given night, given the fact that they’re considerably better in that split, I’m going to eye the matchup with McCullers’ pitch arsenal, which is very good.
I also feel a whole lot better about Philly given it will start Ranger Suarez here instead of opting for a bullpen game. He owns a 1.86 ERA in 9 2/3 innings this postseason with nine strikeouts and is a big upgrade over Noah Syndergaard and the long-men that were to follow him.
Astros First Five Innings Moneyline (-120)
Odds via BetMGM
Collin Whitchurch: It was a bit of a surprise to see Rob Thomson initially opt for Noah Syndergaard in Game 3 over Ranger Suarez before the rainout, even if the latter made a brief relief appearance in Game 1 on what amounted to something of a bullpen day.
One has to imagine the mindset of Thomson is that he would have rather give his bullpen a heavier lift after the off day, as well as coming off a Game 2 where he didn’t use any of his key relievers in a loss.
Now with two full days off since the last game, he’s opting for Suarez, who has been a steady force in the rotation but is a tough matchup for this Houston lineup.
Thomson has managed this postseason brilliantly. He’s been unconventional in bringing in relievers like Jose Alvarado early, and I expect him to do something similar in Game 3 — a bold, necessary although also risky proposition given the teams will play now play Tuesday through Thursday with nary an off day.
I trust Thomson to pull the right strings, but I was still surprised to see this first five innings line as short as it is for the Astros. Lance McCullers Jr. gives Houston a significant edge in the early frames, and although the Phillies hit lefties better and have some hitters (Kyle Schwarber, Rhys Hoskins) with positive run values against his key offerings (slider, curveball, changeup), this number is good enough to get me over the hump.
Even with Suarez now on the mound instead of Syndergaard Games 3 and 4 are Houston’s biggest advantages on the mound, and it would be a travesty from their perspective to get to Game 5 with the series at anything worse than 2-2 (and preferably 3-1 in their favor, obviously).
The Astros mash lefties, and the Phillies are in their worse split against McCullers, so I trust this starting pitching mismatch enough that I feel the Astros should be bigger favorites in the first five innings than we’re getting at -120. I would play this to -125.
First Five Innings Over 4.5 (+120)
Odds via FanDuel
Mike Ianniello: Citizens Bank Park has been an absolute scene this postseason. Every team benefits from a home field advantage, but there has been something different about the electricity of the Philadelphia crowd that that Phillies are clearly benefiting from.
Philadelphia is 5-0 at home this postseason and averaging seven runs per game at home, with 12 home runs and a team OPS of .975. Lance McCullers Jr.’s xERA is more than a run higher than his ERA and after falling behind big the first two games, expect Philadelphia to be more aggressive early on to try and build an early lead.
Houston’s offense is locked in at the plate and has done damage early in games. While Ranger Suarez is undoubtedly an upgrade over Noah Syndergaard, he does give the Astros their better splits. They posted a 107 wRC+ against right-handed pitchers, which ranked ninth in the league, but they had a 124 wRC+ against lefties, the second-best mark in the league.
Suarez ranks in just the 26th percentile in strikeout rate and has had issues with his control at times. Houston has the lowest strikeout rate in the league against left-handed pitchers. Putting balls in play is a good recipe against a Phillies team whose defense has been its Achilles’ heel all season.
If the Astros were able to jump all over Philadelphia’s two aces in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, I can only imagine what they will do to a lefty. They put up five runs against him in the first inning alone at the end of the season and took him deep three times.
The Phillies’ home crowd should be able to give the offense the juice it needs to get going sooner in this one. Play over 4.5 in the first five innings here, as both offenses should be able to put up a couple runs against the starting pitchers, but could slow down against fully rested bullpens.