MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Baltimore Orioles vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Thursday, August 13)

Credit:

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Renato Nunez (left) and Anthony Santander.

Orioles vs. Phillies Odds

Orioles Odds +163 [BET NOW]
Phillies Odds -190 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 9.5 (-113/-108) [BET NOW]
Time 4:00 p.m. ET
TV ESPN

Odds as of Wednesday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


After taking the first two games of the series, the Orioles will look for a rare sweep of the Phillies on Thursday. With a win, Baltimore can potentially move to within one game of the Yankees for first place in the AL East. The Phillies are reeling at the moment after losing four of their last five games. They’re now in last place in the NL East and looking for any type of spark to turn around their season.

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Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

Baltimore Orioles

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Surprisingly, Baltimore has been on fire offensively. They rank fourth in MLB with a .339 wOBA and 117 wRC+. Most of that success has come lately, as they’ve scored 38 runs in their last five games. The crazy part of their success offensively is the four players with wOBAs over .400 who you probably wouldn’t have predicted before the season: Renato Nunez, Chance Sisco, Jose Iglesias and Pedro Severino.

With Jake Arrieta’s career trending downward, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Orioles keep their hot streak going on Thursday.

Orioles Projected Starter

Tom Eshelman, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Tom Eshelman has only pitched 43.1 innings in his big league career, and they have gone well, to say the least. The former second-round pick has a 5.75 xFIP, 2.91 HR/9 and only a 5.19 K/9 to begin his career in the big leagues. What’s interesting about Eshelman is that his velocity is really low, but he’s pretty effective with his fastball. He throws it the most of any of his pitches and he only surrendered a .279 opponent batting average against it in 2019.

Another interesting thing about Eshelman is through his first 7.1 innings of 2020, he’s completely scrapped his sinker and slider, which were his worst two pitches last season. He’s only gone with a three-pitch arsenal of fastballs, curveballs and changeups. His changeup doesn’t have enough movement to be an effective pitch, which is why it got tagged for a .421 wOBA against in 2019. However, his curveball has some fantastic 12 to 6 action and is really effective if he keeps it down in the zone.

Eshelman does not match up well against the Phillies, as they’ve been the best team in the league against both changeups (6.6 weighted changeup runs) and curveballs (6.8 weighted curveball runs), so he has a challenge ahead of him Thursday.

Philadelphia Phillies

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Philadelphia has played less games than the rest of the league, but they’ve been fantastic offensively. They have the best wOBA (.347) and the second-best wRC+ (121) in MLB to begin the season. It’s no surprise they’ve been led by Bryce Harper, who has a .483 wOBA through his first 13 games.

As I mentioned above, the Phillies have a fantastic matchup against Eshelman on Thursday as they’ve been the best team in the league against both changeups and curveballs, which are his main two secondary pitches.

Phillies Projected Starter

Jake Arrieta, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Arrieta has taken a big step back since joining the Phillies. The reason for that is his sinker is a lot less effective than it used to be.

During his breakout season in 2015, Arrieta was dominant with his sinker, allowing only a .191 BA and a .236 wOBA to his opponents. Fast forward to 2019, and he allowed a .304 BA and a .366 wOBA against his sinker. However, his changeup and curveball were pretty effective in 2019 with a wOBA against below .275.

He’ll have a tall task ahead of him on Thursday against a red-hot Orioles lineup. They’ve been crushing right-handed pitching to the tune of a .323 wOBA and 113 wRC+ so far in 2020.

Bullpens

The Orioles bullpen has actually been really good to begin the season. They are vastly outperforming their projections, as they rank sixth in MLB with a 3.71 xFIP. Philadelphia’s bullpen, on the other hand, hasn’t been performing up to its preseason projections. They have a 4.69 xFIP through their first 13 games, which ranks 22nd in MLB. So, surprisingly the Orioles have the upper hand in the bullpen department on Thursday.

Projections and Pick

This series has been high-scoring so far, with 27 runs scored in the first two games. I expect the runs to continue on Thursday, not just from the Phillies, but the Orioles as well. Since I have 4.63 runs projected for Baltimore, I am going to ride their red-hot offense and back their team total of 3.5 at -139 (DraftKings) and would bet it up to -147.

The Pick: Orioles Team Total Over 3.5 runs (-139).

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