MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Phillies vs. Nationals (Thursday, August 27)

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Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Juan Soto #22 of the Washington Nationals

Editor’s note: The Phillies and Nationals have decided not to play Thursday’s game.


Philadelphia Phillies vs. Washington Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds +160 [Bet Now]
Nationals Odds -190 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-117/-105) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 9:45 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 9 a.m. ET 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.


The Phillies will go for a sweep on Thursday night as they send their top prospect Spencer Howard to the mound. The Nationals will counter with their ace, Max Scherzer, in hopes he can avoid having the Nats fall even further below .500.

Phillies Probable Starter

Spencer Howard, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Howard hasn’t had a great start to his MLB career. The former second-round pick has already accumulated a 5.40 xFIP through his first three starts and is having issues with his control. In only 11.2 innings pitched, Howard has already allowed four home runs and five walks to opponents.

Howard is the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect from their minor league system and spent last year ascending all the way from rookie ball to AA. His numbers in AA were really good (11.15K/9 & 2.66 xFIP), but under normal circumstances I think the Phillies would have kept him the minors for one more year.


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.


Howard is mainly a fastball pitcher (throwing it 60.8% of the time in 2020). It has good velocity (94.3 mph average), along with fantastic movement and was the reason he was so successful at the minor league level.

While it’s easy to overpower hitters at the minor league level with that type of velocity, you have to be on point with your location in the majors. Howard hasn’t quite figured out his control yet and I think that is something the Nationals are going to take advantage of tonight.

Nationals Projected Lineup

The Nationals have been hitting the ball well over the past two weeks. In their last 13 games, they are hitting .273 with a .341 wOBA and 112 wRC+. Juan Soto and Trea Turner are absolutely crushing the ball, as both have a wOBA above .480 in their last 13 games. During that span they’ve also combined for seven home runs and 17 RBIs.

With Howard having issues with his control so far and predominately going to only one pitch, I think the Nationals will be able to feast on his fastball and knock him out of the game early.

Bullpens 

Both bullpens got somewhat of a break yesterday with both starters going 6+ innings, but both of these bullpens haves been an issue so far this season.

The Phillies bullpen has been a disaster this season. Philadelphia’s relievers have a combined ERA of 7.52, which is the highest in MLB. In fairness, they have been a tad unlucky because their xFIP is 4.39. But that alone does not absolve their disappointing performance.

The Nationals bullpen hasn’t been much better: Washington’s relief pitchers report a 4.58 xFIP, which ranks 17th in MLB.

Projections and Pick

With some of Howard’s control issues right now and the issues in Philadelphia’s bullpen, I think this is a great opportunity to jump on the Nationals team total.


Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


I have Washington projected for 6.17 runs in this game, so I think there is value with their team total of Over 5.5 runs at +118  and I would play it down to -110.

Pick: Nationals Team Total Over 5.5 runs (+118) [Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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