MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions | Phillies vs Astros Betting Preview for Friday, April 28
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images. Pictured: Aaron Nola.
- The Philadelphia Phillies and Houston Astros square off in a World Series rematch on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.
- Action Network's Jim Turvey has targeted some player props on Aaron Nola, Kyle Tucker and Nick Castellanos.
- Continue reading for the Phillies vs. Astros series opener preview, plus prop picks.
Phillies vs. Astros Odds
-100 / -120
-100 / -120
The Philadelphia Phillies take on the Houston Astros on Apple TV+ on Friday night in a rematch of the 2022 World Series. Neither team has gotten off to quite the start their fans would have imagined off a pennant-winning season, but both teams have also been much better of late, with both having won seven of their last 10 games heading into this matchup.
The pitching matchups for this series look excellent, and Friday is no exception, with Aaron Nola toeing the rubber opposite Framber Valdez.
The Astros remain without several key pieces for this rematch, with Yordan Alvarez and Chas McCormick having recently joined Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley as important pieces on the shelf for Houston. For the Phillies, they are really only missing the two big pieces they have been without all season: Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.
Aaron Nola’s numbers have been down early in this season, with a 5.40 ERA and 4.13 FIP that are both up well over a run and a half from last season’s excellent totals. Even more worrying is what’s going on under the hood. Nola’s velocity is down over 1-2 mph, and his Stuff+ number has gone from well above average to just below average.
Along with those drops has been a cratering in his strikeout rate. What was an excellent 10.32 K/9 now sits at 6.99, and it’s partnered with an increase in walk rate as well. Combine those two, and Nola goes from being in the 96th percentile among pitchers with 100 IP last season to the 22nd percentile among qualified pitchers this season. Even though we are talking about less than a month’s worth of starts, that’s an incredible drop.
On the hitting side of things, the Phillies have once again been above average against lefties this season. Last year, the Phillies’ wRC+ of 115 against southpaws ranked sixth in baseball, and this season, with a mostly similar roster, they rank 12th with a 104 wRC+. Hoskins being out of the lineup likely hurts a bit, but Nick Castellanos is back to crushing lefties, with a 208 wRC+ against lefties, albeit is a tiny sample of 27 plate appearances.
On the surface, Framber Valdez appears to have picked off right where he left off last season, with a 2.25 ERA that would make for an impressive fourth straight season of lowering his ERA. But from the Fun With Numbers drawer, he and Nola actually have almost the exact same xERA: 4.25 for Nola; 4.19 for Valdez.
So is Valdez due for some regression? It’s really only the ‘x’ stats that don’t like him. He does give up hard contact, but he kind of always has for his career, and it has never really burned him. Three of the last four seasons have seen Valdez in the bottom 10 percent in terms of exit velocity allowed, and it’s four for four in terms of being bad at max EV allowed. All this and his ERA over that time is an incredibly clean 3.00.
Over that same time he has a 3.34 FIP, but he has consistently out-performed it. These types of pitchers typically can’t evade the FIP monster forever, but there are some who can do it for five, six, seven years of befuddling bettors. Personally, I am giving Valdez the benefit of the doubt in my capping these days.
In terms of the Astros’ lineup, there’s really only two bats to scare Nola there. Kyle Tucker is still somehow one of baseball’s best semi-secrets, and his wRC+ of 162 against righties this season is no fluke. Alex Bregman has also hit righties incredibly well this season, ironically it has been lefties who have been giving him issues (this feels like a small sample fluke). Outside of those two, it’s a bunch of singles hitters who don’t draw walks — this is not your even-slightly-older brother’s Houston Astros lineup right now.
Phillies vs. Astros Betting Pick
With all that in mind, there are a few ways I am looking to play this game.
My favorite play is Aaron Nola under 5.5 strikeouts +100 at PointsBet. As noted above, Nola’s velocity and Stuff+ are down, and he has reached six strikeouts only once in five starts.
I also am going to place a Hits + Runs + RBI over on Tucker and a total bases over on Castellanos. Both of these have best prices at DraftKings, and the logic on Tucker being H+R+R is that he is a frequent walk drawer, while Castellanos is a doubles machine and less likely to draw walks. I like both players overall, and these were the markets that made the most sense.
Picks: Nola under 5.5 strikeouts | Kyle Tucker over 1.5 H+R+RBI | Nick Castellanos over 1.5 Total Bases
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