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Athletics vs. Phillies Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction: Can Bolstered Philadelphia Offense Back Up Aaron Nola?

Athletics vs. Phillies Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction: Can Bolstered Philadelphia Offense Back Up Aaron Nola? article feature image

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Schwarber and Nick Castellanos.

  • The Phillies are a big favorite over the Athletics on Friday afternoon as both teams kick off their 2022 MLB seasons.
  • Nick Martin is counting on a big effort from the new-look Philly lineup, and believes the Phillies will take care of business for starter Aaron Nola.
  • Get his full Phillies vs. A's betting preview and pick below.

Athletics vs. Phillies Odds

Athletics Odds +158
Phillies Odds -188
Over/Under 8
Time 3:05 p.m. ET
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Two team’s with vastly different expectations entering the 2022 season meet Friday when the Philadelphia Phillies host the Oakland Athletics at Citizens Bank park.

After dealing away a number of key big league talents, the Athletics enter this season with minimal upside and likely to suffer through 90+ losses. You get what you pay for with a $30 million payroll, I guess, and that does not appear to be much for Oakland.

The Athletics will have their ace on the mound here in Frankie Montas, and he will be in for a stiff test against what figures to be a high-octane Phillies offense likely to mash a ton of homers this season.

Can the Phillies start a promising season with a bang, or will Montas and the Athletics play spoiler? Let’s check out what we can expect from this matchup.

Phillies Have Thump, Dominant Nola

ZiPS projects the Phillies to produce a lofty 4.86 runs per game this season, and it’s easy to see why when looking at the potency of the lineup.

The offseason acquisitions of Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber make the batting order considerably deeper entering this season. The duo combined to hit 66 home runs in 2021 and an average wRC+ of 142.5.  Those two will provide great insulation around reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper.

Aaron Nola had his worst major league season in 2021 with regards to baseline-level stats. He pitched to a 4.63 ERA, which is a pretty shocking mark when considering his elite history in the big leagues.

However, Nola had a strong xERA of 3.35, and still managed to allow walks at the lowest rate of his career. The main causation to his surface-level struggles was an unsustainably low strand rate of just 66%. We should see that regress toward his career norm, and when it does we will see Nola dominate yet again.

Nola has a strikeout rate of 70% against right-handed batters since the 2020 season, which is the fifth-highest mark from MLB starters during that span. The Athletics’ projected starting lineup is RH heavy and is not likely to hit to much contact to begin with this season, and it’s easy to imagine Nola dominating Friday.

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Where Will Athletics Find Offense?

After an 86-win campaign in 2021, it’s frustrating to see the Athletics yet again completely tear it down this offseason. Oakland dealt away Matt Chapman, Matt Olson and Sean Manaea for a bevy of prospects.

It’s scary to write off the A’s from finding a way to post a decent record, but what’s left is a far below-average starting lineup. As you would expect, oddsmakers have set the betting O/U total on A’s wins at 68.5, and the main models actually agree in projecting Oakland at closer to 65 wins.

The Athletics will need quite a parlay of events to occur to end up producing effectively at the plate this season, and the ceiling for this offense is quite low.

Sean Murphy seems a logical bounce-back candidate this season after recovering from a punctured lung prior to getting going last year, and behind him a few names such as Seth Brown and Tony Kemp could surprise.

Even still, spots 7-through-9 in tomorrow’s projected order posted below 100 wRC+ marks last season, with a combined average of 92.25 (using projections for Cristian Pache and Kevin Smith, who had very poor numbers in small sample sizes).  ZiPS projects the Athletics to produce just 4.07 runs per game this season, 0.17 lower than the next-closest team.

Montas takes the mound looking to build on a strong 2021 campaign in which the 29-year-old managed 3.37 ERA in 187 IP.

Montas’ xERA was 3.98, however, so he could be a regression candidate to an this season. He featured an elite chase rate in the 91st percentile, however, was hard hit 42.3% of the time with a .315 xwOBA against.

It could be somewhat of a feast or famine day for Montas here, looking to pitch away from the Phillies’ power in the heart of the order.

Athletics-Phillies Pick

Nola is a pitcher I will be looking to back often early this season, as he is a logical target for vastly improved results compared to last year.

With how soft the Athletics’ lineup figures to be, this projects as a great spot for Nola to get what is likely to be a much more successful season started in the right way.

Montas should be a strong starter as well this year, but even an excellent performance in this matchup should see him leaving the game having allowed a few earned runs and in line for a loss.

Between the vast disparity in strengths between these batting orders, and my belief that Nola will find better numbers this season, I see value backing the Phillies to win by 2 or more at +114, and would play it down to -108.

Pick: Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 +114 (FanDuel, Play to -108)

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