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Braves vs. Phillies Odds & Pick: Atlanta’s Bullpen Should Be The Differentiator

Braves vs. Phillies Odds & Pick: Atlanta’s Bullpen Should Be The Differentiator article feature image

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Wright

  • There's not much separating Braves SP Kyle Wright and Phillies SP Vince Velasquez, but there is a big difference between their bullpens.
  • Find out why BJ Cunningham thinks Atlanta's bullpens will be a big enough differentiator to bet them to win.

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies Odds, Pick

Braves odds -106 [BET NOW]
Phillies odds -109 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 9.5 (-104/-118) [BET NOW]
Time Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Friday morning 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 and Braves are now looking up at the NL East leading Miami Marlins?!

With Miami starting off the season 6-1, the Braves are now a half-game back in the division, while Phillies have gotten off to a slow 3-4 start and need to get back on track.

The Braves will send their young prospect Kyle Wright to the mound to face veteran Vince Velasquez in a game that could put Atlanta back atop the NL East.

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.


Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Atlanta’s offense has been solid to begin the season with a .324 wOBA and 107 wRC+, both of which rank ninth in MLB. Most of their success so far this season has come against fastballs. They lead Major League Baseball with 12.1 weighted fastball runs, which is three more than the next closest team.

Velasquez is primarily a fastball pitcher, so the Braves will have good opportunity to put up some runs.

Braves Projected Starter

Kyle Wright, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Kyle Wright’s first two starts of 2020 haven’t gone as planned. Wright hasn’t made it past the 4th inning yet and has been tagged for nine hits, five earned runs and seven walks in only six innings of work.

The seven walks is the most alarming stat from his first two starts as he’s done a good job keeping hitters at bay with only one extra-base hit allowed. If he wants to go deep into games, he’ll have drastically improve his walk rate.

Wright was the fifth overall pick in 2017 and has been highly touted by the Braves organization for the past few years. He doesn’t project out very well in his first full season with a FIP well over 4 and a BB/9 of 3.75.

Looking at the film, Wright’s best two pitches are clearly his fastball and slider because his changeup and sinker don’t have a lot of movement. His fastball has good velocity, sitting around 96-98 MPH, but it’s straight as an arrow.

His slider is pretty slick though, with good late-breaking action and good velocity, so it can be disguised well with his fastball. If he sticks to his fastball/slider combination and gradually works in his other pitches, I think he can have a successful first full season in the show, but he’ll have to cut down his high walk rate if he wants to stay in the rotation.


Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Philadelphia has only played seven games so far this season, but they’ve been really good offensively. They rank third in MLB with a .341 wOBA and 119 wRC+. Since it’s only been seven games, its too early to tell if this Phillies offense is legit, but they do project out well in my model at over 5 runs a game.

Phillies Projected Starter

Vince Velasquez, RHP 

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Vince Velasquez is a very similar pitcher to that of Lance Lynn. He almost exclusively uses his fastball, using location and movement to keep hitters off balance. His fastball does have a lot of movement and above average velocity, but its also prone to giving up bombs.

In 2019, Velasquez’s fastball yielded 18 homers, which lead to a HR/9 rate of 1.99. His secondary pitches aren’t very effective either as all of them produce a wOBA against well above .300.

The Braves are primarily a fastball hitting team, so Velasquez is going to have be on point with his location on Friday night.


Atlanta returned two of their best relievers Will Smith and Mark Melancon from injury this week. With Smith and Melancon in the fold the Braves rate out as one on the best bullpens in the NL. They’ll have a significant advantage over the Phillies in this series in the ‘pen.

Projections and Pick

There’s not much separating these two offenses or the starting pitchers. However, there is a big disparity in the bullpen and I think that will be the difference.

I am going to back Atlanta at -106, but I would only bet them up to -111.

Pick: Braves -106

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