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Thursday MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Sept. 3)

Thursday MLB Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Washington Nationals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (Sept. 3) article feature image

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Eflin #56 of the Philadelphia Phillies

  • The Philadelphia Phillies (-167 favorites) and Washington Nationals (+145 underdogs) meet in the final game of their four-game series Thursday.
  • The Phillies have been on fire, winning eight of their past nine games entering today's matchup. Should you ride the hot hand?
  • Michael Arinze gives his full game preview, including how he's betting today's game.

Nationals vs. Phillies Betting Odds

Nationals Odds +145 [Bet Now]
Phillies Odds -167 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 10 (-117/-104) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Thursday at 1:30 p.m. ET and via Parx, which offers new customers a 20% profit boost + $500 risk-free wager on their first bet AND your bets automatically sync to the Action app. Learn more about BetSync here.

It took almost 30 games but I finally figured out the Washington Nationals. For weeks I had been backing this team with its two-headed monster of Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg at the top of the rotation, but no mas.

No more waiting for Strasburg to come off the IL only to go back on and be shut down for the remainder of the season. No more waiting for this team to fire on all cylinders and make a stand to defend its title. The Nationals have been trying to tell us for weeks that they want little to do with the 2020 restart and I finally listened.

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

I’ve been pretty much betting against the Nationals for more than a week now. My favorite spot to fade them has been at home where they’re 4-12 for a loss of 12.85 units. Even as home favorites they’re 3-8 for a loss of 10.86 units.

They’ve actually been better on the road, evidenced by their 8-7 record for +.56 units, but much of that was done earlier in the season. Figure this: The Nationals haven’t won a series since Aug. 16 when they took two of three from the Baltimore Orioles in the Beltway Series. Now they’ve been shut out in consecutive games by the Philadelphia Phillies and are in danger of being swept in the four-game series.

We’ll dive in to see if there is any reason to think this Nationals team can turn things around for today’s matchup.

Washington Nationals

The Nationals will conclude their series with the Phillies this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. Anibal Sanchez will get the ball to try to put an end to Washington’s five-game skid.

Sanchez is 1-4 on the season with a 6.90 ERA and 1.70 WHIP. Batters are hitting .326 against him which is .91 points higher than they did last year. Much of that may be due to some loss in velocity as Baseball Savant tracks his fastball at almost 1.5 mph lower than last year. In fact, batters are hitting .400 off his fastball which he throws at a higher rate (29.3%) than any other pitch in his arsenal.

While Sanchez’s 6.06 FIP, which is lower than his ERA, does perhaps suggest he’s been a little unlucky, the difference is less than one run.

At this point, if both your ERA and FIP are above six what’s really the difference? You’re just not getting anyone one out.

Philadelphia Phillies

Sanchez will be opposed by fifth-year starter Zach Eflin. Eflin is 2-1 on the season with a 4.10 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. In his last start against the division-leading Braves, Eflin threw seven innings on one-run ball while striking out eight batters and not surrendering a walk.

Eflin looks to be a pitcher on the rise. Batters are hitting just .252 against him, but when they make contact and put balls in play they’re hitting .365. This tells me Eflin has been a bit unlucky given the earned runs he’s allowed and his 2.71 FIP supports this theory.

Last year Eflin finished the season with a 4.85 FIP, but this season he’s been able to find success by making a mechanical change to one of his pitches. Eflin is throwing his curveball harder than he did last year which is creating a tighter, sharper break as opposed to one that sits up in the zone.

The results have been impressive as the whiff rate on this pitch is up 8% and batters have gone from hitting .308 against the curve last year to just .133 this year.

As a result, he’s almost doubled the usage of the pitch from 5.4% to 10.5% year-over-year due to the success he’s had.

Betting Analysis

I’m not sure if Eflin is under the radar, but my guess is that if he is, he won’t be there for long. The Philles have won all but one of his five starts this season.  His predictive stats fit the profile of exactly the kind of pitcher I’m looking to throw my money behind. He last faced the Nationals at home in May last season and helped guide the Phillies to a 7-1 win. His opponent in that matchup was none other Sanchez.

Sanchez’s teams are 9-16 against the Phillies for a loss of 4.68 units. His teams are also 0-4 in their last four trips to Citizens Bank Park. If you think that Sanchez has the chance to be a streak-stopper, think again.

In games where his teams are facing a losing streak of six in a row, he’s 5-9 for a loss of 4.2 units. If you were wondering how teams do after being shut out for two consecutive games, I’ve got that too. Going back to 2018, teams in this situational spot are 19-25 for a loss of 11.05 units.

I’ve seen enough data to get me on the Phillies in this matchup. Parx Casino is offering the Phillies at -167 in this game. Normally I’d hate to lay this kind of juice, but I’ll look to play it safe and risk a half-unit of my bankroll on the Phillies this afternoon.

Let’s hope they can continue to stay hot when Eflin takes the mound.

The bet: Phillies -167 (play up to -175) [Bet Philadelphia at -139 with a 20% profit boost at Parx]

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