Nationals vs. Phillies Odds & Pick: How to Bet Max Scherzer vs. Zack Wheeler (Tuesday, June 22)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler.
- The Washington Nationals take on the Philadelphia Phillies in an NL East matchup on Tuesday night.
- Max Scherzer and Zack Wheeler are expected to take the mound for the Nats and Phillies, respectively, so this game has all the makings of a pitcher's duel.
- DJ James breaks down the game below and shares his favorite prop bet for the contest based on hus analysis.
Nationals vs. Phillies Odds
|Over/Under||6.5 (-105 / -117)|
|Time||Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
The underachieving NL East could not be summed up in a better way than Philadelphia’s Zack Wheeler and Washington‘s Max Scherzer pitching for teams who are below the .500 mark on the season.
Wheeler has been one of the most reliable starters in MLB on the season and has a 5-3 record to show for it, while Scherzer has historically been one of the best pitchers in baseball.
One game separates these two between second and fourth in the NL East, so who has the advantage?
Health Plays a Role for Washington
The Nationals are somehow still in the mix for a division title, even with Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Daniel Hudson, and Will Harris spending time on the IL.
For the most part, the lineup has been relatively healthy, lately sparked by a red-hot Kyle Schwarber, who smashed five homers in the Nats’ last two games. Unfortunately for them, Schwarber is one of the only consistent bats against right-handed pitching, which does not align well with one of the National League’s best on the hill for Philly.
Juan Soto, Trea Turner, and Josh Bell also sport a better than average wRC+ when facing righties, but the rest of the lineup plummets after these four. The Nats also rank 23rd in the MLB in strikeout percentage against righties, so this concoction does not look like it will be effective.
Washington’s bullpen, meanwhile, has kept its head above water. It ranks eighth in ERA at 3.71, even though its xFIP sits at 4.27, which would indicate future regression.
With Hudson and Harris on the sidelines, pitchers like Kyle McGowin and Wander Suero have filled middle relief roles nicely.
That said, bullpens will not factor into this game if Scherzer can go his usual distance. Yes, coming off of the injured list may limit him in some capacity, but he is notorious for going deep into games. If that’s the case, bullpens are not a massive part of handicapping this game until the seventh inning or later.
Can Phillies Attack Scherzer?
The Phillies have the same issue with their lineup against righties.
Jean Segura, one of their best batters against right-handers, has been sidelined since June 16, so Bryce Harper and company will have to pick up the slack. Again, manufacturing runs may be hard to do if only half of the lineup can hit righties, especially one of the caliber of Scherzer.
Philly’s relievers have been subpar this season but have not overachieved like the Nats (4.36 ERA vs. 4.12 xFIP).
Chase Anderson landing on the injured list hinders the depth of this relief corps, but with Wheeler on the mound, it should only need a couple of innings in relief. José Alvarado and Héctor Neris should be able to handle the workload if Wheeler does not complete this one.
As far as I see it, both lineups are half-complete against two of the best starting pitchers in the league.
Now, typically betting on only the starting pitcher is not successful, but since both Wheeler and Scherzer have the ability to pitch very deep into games, this is a massive handicapping factor.
The lineups are relatively even, and there’s not much of an angle on either bullpen unless Scherzer has an innings limit coming off of the injured list.
That said, this is a game in which taking a player prop is the best move.
With their aces on the mound, taking either team is not an option, but Wheeler should be able to rack up strikeouts with the Nats’ tendency to swing and miss against righties.
Wheeler’s absurd 31.6% strikeout rate indicates he can keep this trend going. Take the over 7.5 (-114) up to over 8 (-130).
Pick: Zack Wheeler Over 7.5 Strikeouts (-114)
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