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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Nationals vs. Phillies: How to Bet the First 5 Innings (Thursday, July 7)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Nationals vs. Phillies: How to Bet the First 5 Innings (Thursday, July 7) article feature image
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Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Schwarber #12 and Rhys Hoskins #17 of the Philadelphia Phillies.

  • The Washington Nationals (+150) and Philadelphia Phillies (-185) meet on Thursday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
  • Neither starting pitcher projects to pitch deep into the contest, and both bullpens are suspect. Therefore, our MLB betting analyst is targeting the first five.
  • Check out Doug Ziefel's full betting guide for Thursday's MLB matchup, featuring updated odds, picks and predictions for Nationals vs. Phillies.

Nationals vs. Phillies Odds

Nationals Odds +150
Phillies Odds -185
Over/Under 9.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 4:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Washington Nationals punched back to even up the series behind a stellar pitching performance by Josiah Gray. However, pitching may take a backseat in the rubber game of this series when you look at the matchup on the mound.

Joan Adon will make his return from Triple-A and get the ball this afternoon. His initial stint in the big leagues was not good, to say the least. He returns with a 1-11 record and a 6.97 ERA in 13 big league starts.

Opposing him for the Phillies will be Bailey Falter and falter is what he’s done in his starts so far. The 25-year-old lefty will be making his fifth start of the season, and he enters with an ERA of 4.88.

While their numbers are down, there is intrigue surrounding these two starters as Adon may have made adjustments since his last big league appearance, and Falter may pitch differently to the Nationals in his second start against them. Will either of those notions come to fruition? Let’s dig deeper to find out.

Nationals Set to Do Damage Against Falter

Washington may be in a battle for the worst team in the league, but if there’s one thing it does well, it’s hit left-handed pitching. The Nationals enter this game ranked 14th in batting average against lefties. Their lineup includes guys like Nelson Cruz, Maikel  Franco, and Cesar Hernandez, who have all hit lefties exceedingly well throughout their careers.

Although it doesn’t end there, as Victor Robles and Luis Garcia have also proven to have some prowess against lefties, you cannot overlook Juan Soto despite his struggles at the plate. His underlying numbers are still elite, and he’s due to get back on track.

The Nationals are not only in a good spot because of their splits, but it’s safe to say Falter is not an elite lefty by any stretch. We went over his peripheral stats in the open, but his underlying stats are even more startling.

Falter is primarily a two-pitch pitcher as he throws his fastball 61 percent of the time, and his slider takes up 27% of his pitches thrown. The issue is that these are big league-caliber pitches. His fastball has an xBA of .262, and his slider is higher at .315.

As a result, Falter ranks in the bottom 20th percentile of the majors in every expected statistic unless he develops a new game plan for this outing. The Nationals could top the three runs they put up on him in five innings back in June.


Expect the Phillies to Mash Early On

Adon’s last big league start actually came against Falter and the Phillies on June 17. Falter outperformed Adon as the Phillies put up four runs on seven hits against him that day.

His second crack at this Phillies lineup comes with just as bleak an outlook as the last one did. However, the Phillies have been producing of late even without Bryce Harper. They have won six of their previous 10 as Kyle Schwarber has shouldered the load offensively.

He hit .272 with 12 homers and 27 RBI in June and has carried that over to July. In the first six days of the month, he’s hitting .350 with four homers and five RBI. Adon will have to deal with him and other veterans such as Rhys Hoskins and JT Realmuto, who have begun to pick it up of late.

Adon’s bleak outlook comes not only from his opposition but his underlying numbers as well. Just like his counterpart, Adon ranks in the bottom 20 percentile of every expected category as he’s surrendered a great deal of hard contact. So unless some serious adjustments were made in the last two weeks, expect the Phillies to beat up on him again.

Nationals-Phillies Pick

The latest we will see either of these two starters go is the fifth inning. With significant question marks in each bullpen, it’s better to stick with what we know. Each starter has been poor this season, and their recent history against their opposition is a factor in each of their numbers.

So with the Nationals splits against lefties and a Phillies lineup that has been hot of late, the over in the first five is the call here.

Pick: F5 Over 5.5 (-105)

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