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MLB Picks, Odds for NLDS Game 1 Phillies vs Braves

MLB Picks, Odds for NLDS Game 1 Phillies vs Braves article feature image
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Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/Getty Images. Pictured: William Contreras

  • The Braves are strong favorites over the Phillies in Game 1 of the NLDS this afternoon in Atlanta.
  • Atlanta's big margin is credited to the presence of Max Fried, who takes the mound opposed by Philly's Ranger Suarez.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Phillies vs. Braves Game 1 Odds

Phillies Odds +170
Braves Odds -205
Over/Under 7 (-120/-100)
Time 1:07 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

After surprising the baseball world by defeating the Saint Louis Cardinals on the road, the Philadelphia Phillies head to Atlanta to take on one of the hottest teams in baseball in the Braves. Atlanta will start their ace, Max Fried, in Game 1 against Ranger Suárez for the Phils.

Fried had an electric second half. He posted a 2.18 ERA, down from a 2.64 mark before the All-Start break. Suárez was more so durable with a 3.15 ERA in the second half.

Both teams have similar-performing bullpens and both have above average-offenses when it comes to facing left-handed pitching since August 1 (Phillies at 123 wRC+, Braves at 115 wRC+).

Still, there is a reason the Braves are favored so heavily in this game, but offensively, they should be able to produce with Suárez on the hill.

Let’s see where we can find value in this NLDS Game 1.

Phillies Need Suárez to Throw Strikes

Suárez is a strong pitcher, but he has his faults. He excels at preventing hard contact, ranking in the 73rd percentile in hard hit rate and average exit velocity. Much of this is due to not throwing very hard.

His detriment is mainly walking nearly 9% of hitters, while only striking out 18.8%. The Braves have the second-most strikeouts in baseball this season, so this could have been one issue he could exploit. It does not look like it will be, though.

The Braves have eight hitters eclipsing a .340 xwOBA since August 1 against lefties. Nine have an average exit velocity over 90 MPH. They should trounce Suárez’s pitching, which will, in turn, lead to the weaker part of the Phillies bullpen and strain Philly for the rest of the series in the pitching department.

In the playoffs, teams need a lockdown bullpen, and bullpens can be volatile, even if they have been strong all season. The Phillies have four arms under a 3.00 xFIP.

Depending on usage of former starters who are no longer in the rotation for the NLDS, they may have more long relief options than usual. But there could still be room for a few more Braves runs later in the game.

Fried Elite For Atlanta

Fried is a different breed. He ranks in the 92nd percentile in average exit velocity and the 90th percentile in hard hit rate. He also only walks 4.4% of hitters. This provides him a massive edge over Suárez and the Phillies.

The Phils do have eight hitters with a .340+ xwOBA against lefties since August 1, as well. That said, Fried has not shown that he will slip up the way Suárez has against some stronger teams.

Against the Phillies, Fried has thrown 23 innings with a 3.13 ERA, six walks and 25 strikeouts in 23 innings. He will be able to hold this lineup in check again.

The Braves have a similar overall bullpen xFIP since August 1, but they only have three arms under a 3.00 xFIP. Fried will go at least five innings in a solid outing, so they may need to find another middle relief arm.

This fills in most the pitching duties in this game, assuming the Braves are leading when Fried exits.

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Phillies-Braves Pick

The Braves are the better team here, just based on the starting pitching. Otherwise, if Fried is not the pitcher in this game, the Phillies moneyline would hold more value.

Take the Braves team total over at 4 (-118) with an inexperienced playoff starter in Suárez on the bump. Expect some early jitters and in conjunction with that, some runs. They should push across a few more with Philly’s middle relievers in the game, as well.

Pick: Atlanta Braves o4 (-118) | play to 4.5 (-110)

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