Sunday MLB Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Padres vs. Phillies: The First-Inning Prop to Bet (July 4)

Sunday MLB Betting Odds, Preview, Prediction for Padres vs. Phillies: The First-Inning Prop to Bet (July 4) article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez.

  • The San Diego Padres have lost three consecutive games and are in danger of being swept by the Philadelphia Phillies.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down Sunday's Major League Baseball game below and delivers his top pick.
  • Check out how Arinze is approaching things below in this intriguing matchup.

Padres vs. Phillies Odds

Padres Odds-136
Phillies Odds+116
Time1:05 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings and of Sunday morning.

The San Diego Padres have lost three straight games and are in danger of being swept on the road by the Philadelphia Phillies. And neither game in the series has produced the fireworks one might have expected at the hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.

Despite that, both games yielding two early runs in the first inning. While that's usually a good sign for over bettors, neither game finished over the total in the series.

The circumstances of the first two games got me thinking about a first-inning play as it appears those early runs are being priced into Sunday's line.

Let's dig into the numbers to see where we might end up for a possible play.

Padres' Snell Due for Positive Regression

Blake Snell gets set to make his 16th start of the season for the Padres in what's been a very up and down year. He comes into this game with a 3-3 record, a 5.29 ERA, and a 1.55 WHIP. His 5.43 BB/9 ratio has led to his high WHIP, but he's also been a bit unlucky when you consider that hitters have a .329 BABIP against him yet only a .241 batting average.

Snell's 12.21 K/9 ratio is a big reason why he's getting opposing hitters out because once they put the ball in play, it just finds a spot to land. But if you look at the advanced numbers, his 4.26 FIP and 3.68 xFIP would make him a candidate for positive regression in the second half.

According to Baseball-Reference, Snell's splits haven't been impressive in any inning. His 6.14 ERA in the first inning is his second-highest behind a 6.48 ERA in the fifth inning. However, a closer look reveals that his first-inning ERA is really only attributable to three poor outings out of 15 all season. Even then, he still has an 80% success rate of not allowing a first-inning run.

Though the Phillies will be facing Snell for the first time, their lineup does have 36 at-bats against him with a .167/.279/.194 line and a .028 ISO with no home runs.

Phillies' Velasquez Looks to Build Off Great Start

Vince Velasquez will look to build off a seven-inning shutout performance against the Marlins. Velasquez only allowed two hits in the outing and managed to lower his ERA more than half a run to 4.22. Velasquez is now 3-2 with a 1.28 ERA. His 4.61 FIP and 4.62 xFIP is still a bit high for my liking but note that we're specifically handicapping this game to identify a possible first-inning angle.

Interesting enough, the first inning is where Velasquez has thrived this season, as evidenced by his 0.75 ERA. In fact, it's his lowest ERA of any inning by more than two runs as hitters have a .098/.1480/.195 line against him in this spot.

Velasquez also has outstanding numbers against the Padres as he's made four appearances with three starts and is 3-0 with a 1.19 ERA and a 0.574 WHIP. If we go even deeper, we'll find that in 22 2/3 career innings against San Diego, Velasquez has struck out 30  batters and issued three walks for a 10.0 K/BB ratio.

While the Padres roster has had some turnover since he last faced them, their current lineup does have 25 at-bats against Velasquez. Nonetheless, those hitters have only managed a .160/.160/.320 line against the California native.

Two of those hitters include Tommy Pham and Manny Machado, who bat at the top of Philadelphia's lineup but are a combined 2-10 when facing the Phillies right-hander.

Velasquez has allowed a first-inning run just once, translating to a 91.7% success rate. Thus, our case for a possible first-inning under is improving yet again.

Padres vs. Phillies Pick

Both San Diego and Philadelphia are right in the middle of the pack for first-inning runs this season. San Diego has scored a first-inning run 30.6% of the time, while the Phillies have scored 31.3%.

When I assess how successful each lineup has been in the first inning, along with the frequency of first-inning runs allowed by both pitchers, I'd put the chance of an early run at no better than 40%.

If you just looked at Snell's first-inning ERA, you would overlook that those runs were isolated to three starts where he allowed at least three runs on each occasion. And both pitchers have had success against the hitters at the top of the order in the opposing lineups.

I think we're getting some value with DraftKings offering the first-inning under at +112. And given the current price, I think this is well worth a contrarian play.

Pick: No run scored in the first inning (+112)

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