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Saturday MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Phillies vs. Braves Betting Preview (May 8)

Saturday MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Phillies vs. Braves Betting Preview (May 8) article feature image

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Ian Anderson #36 of the Atlanta Braves.

  • Philadelphia defeated Atlanta on Friday to stretch its winning streak to five games.
  • The Phillies currently have the top spot in the NL East, while the Braves have disappointed so far, sitting in fourth.
  • With all that said, the Braves are still favored, and Michael Arinze is comfortable backing them.

Phillies vs. Braves Odds

Phillies Odds+150
Braves Odds-160
Time7:20 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via William Hill.

The Philadelphia Phillies extended their winning streak to five games after a decisive 12-2 win over the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. The victory preserves Philadelphia's one-game lead atop the National League East. Atlanta will look to bounce back with Ian Anderson getting the start on Saturday.

Vince Velasquez will oppose Anderson for Philadelphia.

Velasquez began the season in the bullpen, but his past three appearances have been as a starter, including a quality outing against the Brewers for his first win of the year.

However, one team that Velasquez has struggled with in his career is the Braves. We'll examine that and much more, including whether a five-game winning streak is the right time to consider fading the Phillies.

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Philadelphia Phillies

There's something about Velasquez that seems just tantalizing to the Phillies' front office. He's been arbitration-eligible for the past three years, and each time the organization chose to retain his services despite some very mixed results.

Velasquez hasn't finished a season with an ERA under four in his career. In fact, his 4.85 ERA in 2018 was his lowest in the last four years. Perhaps that's why Phillies fans were befuddled with the move to bring back the right-hander, especially when it seemed he was destined for a role in the bullpen.

However, three poor starts by Matt Moore has thrust Velasquez back into the rotation. Philadelphia is now 2-1 in his starts this year, but there are multiple causes for concern.

For one, Velasquez's 6.13 FIP is more than a full run higher than his ERA (4.91), which makes him a strong candidate for regression. And his 6.38 BB/9 ratio is the worst of his career, along with his 2.45 HR/9 ratio.

There's no question that Velasquez is a fly ball pitcher, as evidenced by his 1.05 GB/FB ratio. However, he could find it challenging pitching at Trust Park, which is ranked seventh in home runs according to ESPN's Park Factor.

Atlanta Braves

Anderson will look to bounce back from a short outing his last time out. The native New Yorker didn't come out for the fifth inning after allowing four runs in four innings of work against the Blue Jays. It was the first loss this season for Anderson, and his ERA climbed from 2.48 to 3.27.

Yet, unlike Velasquez, Anderson's 3.35 FIP is well within the range of his ERA. His 2.65 GB/FB ratio is promising for a pitcher, especially at Trust Park. And his 0.82 HR/9 is also encouraging.

Anderson should be able to get ahead of Philadelphia's hitters on Saturday. He's made the same amount of starts this season (six) as he did last year, and he's already increased his first-pitch strike percentage (63.8%) three percent.

Much of that has to do with his plus-fastball, which averages around 94.4 mph. That could prove effective against a Philadelphia team ranked 26th in the league against the fastball (7.4 runs below average).

Phillies-Braves Pick

Velasquez has shown a lack of consistency throughout his career, and that's something I can't overlook in this spot. That inconsistency is even more prevalent when you consider that his teams are just 11-17 for a loss of 5.83 units when he's coming off a quality start.

We also know that Velasquez could experience some regression in the future, and a meeting with Atlanta isn't exactly what I'd call a good omen.

Velasquez is just 1-6 with a 4.83 ERA in 14 appearances (12 starts) against the Braves. Overall, the Phillies went 3-9 in those starts for a loss of 6.42 units.

There are also some things working against the Phillies in this spot when they're on a five-game win streak. They're 22-25 for a loss of 13.41 units in the next game.

Another thing I learned is when they're on a five-game win streak, and they're an underdog at +100 or worse off a game where their opponent scored two or fewer runs, they're just 1-6 with a negative ROI of 70.6%.

In short, I like Atlanta to bounce back in this spot given their edge in starting pitching and the fact that things haven't always gone according to plan for Philadelphia when trying to extend their consecutive streak to six games.

With Atlanta as high as a -180 favorite, I'll look to play them on the alt run line at -1 / -125, which is available at William Hill.

However, if you're unable to find that, I'd prefer to pass on the game as both teams are susceptible to allowing late runs due to subpar bullpens.

Pick: Braves -1 (-125)

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