MLB Betting Odds & Predictions: Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Saturday, August 29th)

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Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Tomlin

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies Odds

Braves Odds +105 [Bet Now]
Phillies Odds -120 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 10.5 (-105/-115) [Bet Now]
First Pitch Saturday, 1:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Monday at 10 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.


Every team in the NL East is within five games of the first-place Braves, who will look to extend their lead in today’s showdown with the Phillies.

Josh Tomlin will take the mound against Zach Eflin in a rematch from Sunday Night Baseball six days ago. Eflin and Tomlin combined for seven earned runs in only 8.1 combined innings of work in that game. Should we expect similar struggles on Saturday afternoon?


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.

Braves Projected Lineup

The Braves have been crushing the ball over the past 14 days, with a .352 wOBA and 121 wRC+. Freddie Freeman has been particularly hot, hitting .400 to go along with a .501 wOBA.

Atlanta has done most of its damage against right-handed pitching, ranking third in the MLB with a .350 wOBA and 122 wRC+. The Braves have also been the second-best team against fastballs this season, which is Eflin’s primary pitch, so they’ll have a good matchup on Saturday.

Braves Probable Starter

Josh Tomlin, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Josh Tomlin may be on the back end of his career, but he’s been a pleasant surprise so far this season with a 3.0 xFIP through his first 18.1 innings this season. However, all of that success has come as a reliever.

Tomlin was forced into the starting rotation after some injuries, and while he’s been fantastic as a reliever, he’s allowed six earned runs in seven innings of work as a starter.

Tomlin has thrown his cutter 54.8% of the time this season and his fastball-cutter combination has been effective, overall. Hitters have a .236 batting average against Tomlin this season.

He can get results with his cutter out of the bullpen, but when he has to go through the order two or three times, hitters have had a lot more success.

Phillies Projected Lineup

The Phillies have been fantastic offensively to start the season. They have the fourth-best wOBA (.344) and fifth-best wRC+ (117) in the Majors.

Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto have been on a tear, each posting wOBAs above .390 and combining for 16 home runs and 45 RBIs.

In 179 plate appearances against left-handed pitching, the Phillies have a .358 wOBA and 125 wRC+, which is significantly higher than their numbers against righties.

Phillies Probable Starter

Zach Eflin, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Zach Eflin grades out as a below-average starting pitcher. The right-hander has been good this season with a 3.21 xFIP, but you have to wonder if he’ll be able to keep it up as that is significantly lower than his career average of 4.63.

He is primarily a fastball-slider-sinker pitcher, but none of those pitches are particularly dazzling. In 2019, Eflin allowed a wOBA above .300 on all three of those pitches. That is the case again in 2020.

Atlanta not only crushes fastballs, but they’ve also been the eighth-best team against sliders in 2020. Eflin will have to be on point Saturday if he wants to get through this loaded Braves lineup.

Bullpens

The Phillies bullpen has been a disaster this season. Philadelphia’s relievers have a combined ERA of 8.00, which is the worst mark in the MLB. In fairness, they have been a tad bit unlucky, because their xFIP is 4.47. But that alone does not absolve their disappointing performance.

The Braves will have a significant advantage in the bullpen department on Saturday.

Projections and Pick

The odds for this game came out just a few hours before the first pitch was scheduled, so the market has yet to really settle. At the current prices, I am closer to a bet on the Phillies than the Braves.

I would bet Philadelphia at -105, while I’d need a +131 to pop for a bet on Atlanta (shop for the best number on our updated odds page).

You can also follow me on The Action Network App to see if I end up making a play on the moneyline or total once the odds for this game come out.

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