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Braves vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Philadelphia, Zack Wheeler in NL East Matinee (Thursday, June 10)

Braves vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: Back Philadelphia, Zack Wheeler in NL East Matinee (Thursday, June 10) article feature image

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.

Braves vs. Phillies Odds

Braves Odds +120
Phillies Odds -139
Over/Under 7.5
Time 1:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Thursday morning via DraftKings.

The National League East rivalry between the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies is usually intense. These teams always seem to be vying for the division title, with both clubs featuring stars at every position.

However, while these franchises have the pieces, they haven’t gotten anything done so far this season. Atlanta and Philadelphia are just below .500 when it comes to their records, with both are trailing the New York Mets by more than three games and sit more than five games out of a wild-card spot.

Yet, one team has an elite starter on the mound for Thursday’s contest and I think the best bet is to back him in this spot.

Braves Looking to Find Consistency Moving Forward

Believe it or not, the Braves have snuck past the Phillies for second place in the NL East. They’re also 3.5 games back in the division and 5.5 games back in the wildcard. While the Braves have an elite offense that ranks among the top five teams in OPS (.749) and wOBA (.324), they can’t seem to break through and win more games.

The Braves have scored the most runs in the division, but they’ve also allowed the most, and they have a perfectly even run differential this season (287 runs scored, 287 runs allowed). The pitching has been a big issue, as they don’t have enough quality arms in the rotation or the bullpen. The staff ranks among the bottom 10 teams in FIP (4.33) and WHIP (1.33).

Today’s starter brings hope for Atlanta fans, though. Coming off a dominant 2020 season, young prospect Ian Anderson is having another solid year. He’s posted a 3.64 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP through 11 starts this season, and the Braves are 7-4 in those games.

Wheeler Having Dominant Campaign for Phillies

Who do you think the Phillies’ leader in WAR is so far this season? Maybe it’s Aaron Nola or Bryce Harper. Maybe even Rhys Hoskins?

Wrong. It’s Zack Wheeler. After having a career 2020 in which he earned Cy Young votes, he’s been even better this season. He’s posted a 2.55 ERA and a .94 WHIP through 12 starts this season, and his expected stats have been even better.

His 6.1% barrel rate and 86.3 average exit velocity mean he’s missing bats and hard-hit balls, and therefore his xERA and xwOBA are among the top 7% of qualified pitchers. He’s also struck out 100 batters in 82 1/3 innings this season.

If only the Phillies offense could give him some run support. The Phillies are just 6-6 in Wheeler’s starts this season, and scored a lousy four runs in his past two starts, both losses.

The Phillies offense is below-average all around. They have an OPS below .700 and just a 92 wRC+, both stats that rank among the bottom 12 teams.

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Braves-Phillies Pick

Given these teams struggle with scoring and have promising starters on the mound, the total is predictably low. At just 7.5, the over seems like a good bet.

However, the wind is blowing left and in and we have an under-leaning umpire on the mound in Tony Randazzo (202-199 to the under).

Instead, the best bet is with Wheeler and the Phillies. Wheeler’s home stats are insane (1.97 ERA | 0.72 WHIP) and the Phillies are 18-12 at Citizens Bank Park this season.

Meanwhile, the Braves bats cool down significantly on the road. While Atlanta have a 12-13 road record, it’s just 1-4 in their last five in Philadelphia.

Pick: Phillies ML (-139 — play to -150)

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