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Phillies vs. Rockies MLB Odds & Picks: Back the Over Even With Aaron Nola (Saturday, April 24)

Phillies vs. Rockies MLB Odds & Picks: Back the Over Even With Aaron Nola (Saturday, April 24) article feature image

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola

  • The Rockies took Game 1 of their series with the Phillies on Friday night, but now Philadelphia sends its ace to the mound.
  • How will Aaron Nola perform in such a great park for hitters?
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down the matchup and makes his betting prediction below.

Phillies vs. Rockies Odds

Phillies Odds -179
Rockies Odds +164
Over/Under 10 (-109/-109)
Time 8:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet.

The Rockies stole the first game of this series, 5-4, on the back of a German Márquez pitching performance and a Raimel Tapia walk-off home run.

However, with ace Aaron Nola on the mound, the Phillies are heavy favorites to win the second game of this series.

The Phillies opened up as -155 favorites but the line has steadily moved to -175 or worse. More than 65% of the public bets are on Philadelphia at the moment.

So, is there value with Nola and the road favorite? Or, should we back the Rockies to pull off another upset victory?

Philadelphia Phillies

The Phillies aren’t looking good right now.

They’ve lost three of their last four games, including two of three at home to the Giants. Brad Miller, Didi Gregorius and Jean Segura are all battling injuries. It’s unclear who will play tonight at the time of this writing, so make sure to monitor the lineups closer to first pitch.

The story of the Phillies’ season is their abysmal performances on the road.

The Phillies are just 1-6 with a run differential of -17 in road games this season. They’re scoring just 2.9 away runs per game, good for 27th in baseball, and rank 25th in OPS (.617), 27th in wOBA (.266) and 28th in wRC+ (67) among road offenses this season.

That was all too evident in their road series against the Mets, where the Phillies managed just four runs in three losses.

While they’ve lost a few games recently, the lineup is beginning to perform better. The Phillies have posted a .766 OPS and a 111 wRC+ over the last seven days. Plus, Bryce Harper is really starting to hit, as he’s posted a .524 batting average and a 1.534 OPS during that stretch with two home runs and six walks to just three strikeouts.

Plus, Philadelphia’s got its ace on the mound tonight:

Starting Pitcher: Aaron Nola (RHP)

Nola is coming off one of the most-dominant starts of his career.

At home against the Cardinals, Nola pitched a complete-game shutout where he allowed two hits, zero walks and recorded 10 strikeouts. Nolan Arenado and the new-look Cardinals’ offense looked clueless against the Phillies righty.

But that’s Nola — when he’s pitching at his best, he’s as good as any pitcher in baseball.

However, he’s had a slightly up-and-down career. After posting an All-Star season in 2018, Nola’s ERA and FIP jumped more than a point in 2019. Plus, his BB/9 increased from an obscenely low 2.46 in 2018 to 3.56 in 2019.

However, his 2020 season was better, and through four starts in 2021 Nola is posting almost identical numbers to his 2018 campaign. If he continues on this trajectory, Nola should be in the Cy Young conversation this season.

While Nola’s four-seam velocity and spin rate have remained almost the same, he’s throwing it much more than he has in previous seasons. Nola generally combines his fastball with his curveball, throwing the two pitches nearly the same amount.

But through four starts this season, Nola has thrown his fastball almost twice as many times as his curveball. Of course, the season is still young, and we may see more curveballs as Nola amasses more starts. But it’s something to monitor.

Colorado Rockies

The Rockies are not a good baseball team.

However, they’ve won four of their last five games, and the offense that ranks dead last in wRC+ this season has been league average over their last seven days.

But it’s really the pitching that has carried Colorado over this stretch. Over the past five games and in the hitter’s paradise that is Coors Field, the Rockies have held opponents to just 2.6 runs per game.

In fact, over the past seven days, the Rockies’ pitching staff has posted a 2.7 ERA, a 2.8 FIP and a 1.06 WHIP, all three of which rank in the top seven teams during this stretch.

The starting rotation has carried the Colorado staff during this time. Guys like Márquez, Jon Gray, Austin Gomber and Kyle Freeland have stepped up.

Today, it’ll be Antonio Senzatela who will have to do the same.

Starting Pitcher: Antonio Senzatela

After posting a career year in 2020, Senzatela is coming back down to Earth. Through four starts, Senzatela has posted a 5.40 ERA, a 4.85 FIP and a 1.40 WHIP.

Of course, three of those starts have come at Coors Field, where judging a pitcher becomes more difficult. However, for some odd reason, Senzatela is a much better pitcher at Coors Field than away.

In 2020, Senzatela posted a 2.10 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP at Coors but a 4.62 ERA and a 1.41 WHIP on the road. In 2019, he posted a 6.21 ERA and a 1.64 WHIP at Coors but a 7.29 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP on the road.

So far in 2021, that trend seems to be repeating itself.

Senzatela is a fastball pitcher, but he’s thrown his fastball less and less each year. He threw his four-seam 72.1% of the time in 2017, and that number dropped to 55.9% of the time in 2020. So far in 2021, he’s thrown it just 46.7% of the time.

Perhaps that explains why his strikeout numbers continue to drop every season. After posting strikeout rates of 13.1% in 2019 and 13.5% in 2020, Senzatela is currently striking out just 12.4% of batters faced — a number that ranks in the bottom 3% of pitchers.

Phillies-Rockies Pick

While recent trends and a basic look at the game would point under, I think that’s why it’s a good spot for the over.

The Phillies have an elite starting pitcher on the mound and the Rockies’ pitching staff has held the total under in four of five games. Plus, the Phillies boast a below-average offense while the Rockies boast the worst offense in baseball (statistically).

All these factors are pushing this total down to 10, where I absolutely think it’s too low. I think the under is overvalued due to season-long statistics.

But both these lineups are beginning to heat up, as their offensive numbers over the past seven days have been much better than their season-long ones. Specifically the Phillies, who I believe are poised to break out.

Additionally, we’ve tracked sharp money coming in on the over, and our own MLB expert Sean Zerillo is playing the over today.

On a beautiful Saturday morning, there’s nothing I’d rather do than bet the over at Coors Field. I played the over 10 at -109 on PointsBet. However, I’m not sure I would bet it at any worse than that.

Pick: Over 10 (-109)

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