Phillies vs. Braves Odds & Pick: The Best Way To Invest In Philly On Saturday

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Photo credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler

  • The starting pitching matchup on Saturday's Phillies-Braves game a complete mismatch.
  • Find out how our baseball betting analyst BJ Cunningham is investing in Zach Wheeler and Philly as a result.

Phillies vs. Braves Odds, Picks

Phillies Odds -118 [Bet Now]
Braves Odds +102 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-122/+102) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET

Odds 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.


The Braves will look to expand their lead in the NL East after putting on a show offensively last night, beating the Phillies 11-2.

The Phillies, meanwhile, are four games below .500 and need to turn their season around in a hurry if they want to contend for a playoff spot.

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.
  • BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning. 

Phillies Projected Lineup

The Phillies have been fantastic offensively to start the season. They have the fourth-best wOBA (.344) and fifth-best wRC+ (116) in MLB. Bryce Harper has been on a tear so far this year, posting a .474 wOBA through his first 21 games.

They’ve been absolutely mashing left-handed hitting so far in 2020. In 179 plate appearances, they have a .379 wOBA and 140 wRC+, which is significantly higher than their numbers against righties. They should have no trouble against a below-average lefty like Robbie Erlin.

Phillies Probable Starter

Zack Wheeler, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Wheeler has an elite fastball with top-end velocity and a lot of movement. In 2019, he added a few more MPH to his fastball and continued that velocity into 2020. Hitters have had difficulty against his fastball so far this season, as he’s allowed only a .283 wOBA against it.

His slider has also taken a big step forward in 2020, improving from a 26.6% whiff rate in 2019 to 33.3% this year. Hitters reported a meager .269 wOBA average against it so far this season.

Wheeler’s biggest improvement, though, has been his sinker. In 2019, it was his worst pitch, allowing a wOBA of .343 against it. So far in 2020, he’s throwing it less often, which has been a major benefit, as he’s allowing only a .262 wOBA against that pitch.

Braves Projected Lineup

Atlanta’s offense has been pretty good so far this season with a .332 wOBA and 108 wRC+, which rank inside the top-10 in MLB.

However, the Braves are missing a key piece of their lineup in Ronald Acuna Jr. They’ve been pretty good over the last few weeks without him (.352 wOBA), but his absence leaves a big hole at the top of this lineup.

Braves Probable Starter

Robbie Erlin, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Erlin has been going back and forth between the starting rotation and bullpen for his entire career. His xFIP has been below 4 for most of his career, but the last two years haven’t been pretty.

He’s a soft-tossing lefty with a main four-pitch arsenal that he mixes up pretty well. He really has only one good pitch: his curveball. It generates a below-average whiff rate (28.0% in 2019), but he’s very effective with it, allowing just a .182 average against it in 2019.

None of his other pitches are that effective, as they all allowed a .330 wOBA or higher in 2019. Erlin will have his work cut out for him on Saturday, as the Phillies have been crushing lefties so far in 2020.

Bullpens

The bullpen matchup is a complete mismatch in this series. The Phillies have been a disaster to this point in the season, ranking 20th in MLB in xFIP (4.60). The Braves have one of the best bullpens in the NL and have been good so far this season with a 4.24 xFIP.

Projections and Pick

I think the starting pitching matchup is a complete mismatch in this game, especially given how dominant Philadelphia has been against lefties this season.

I also want to avoid the bullpen mismatch at all costs, so I am going to bet the Phillies first five innings line at -143 (DraftKings), but I would play it up to only -146.

Pick: Phillies First Five Innings (-143)

[Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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