MLB Playoffs Odds, Picks for NLDS Game 2 Phillies vs Braves
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler (Phillies)
- The Phillies and Braves meet in Atlanta for Game 2 of the NLDS.
- Underdog Philadelphia looks for a 2-0 lead behind Zack Wheeler, while Atlanta hopes to even the series behind Kyle Wright.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown, including a betting pick.
Phillies vs. Braves Game 2 Odds
|Time||4:35 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
After a high-scoring affair in Game 1 of the NLDS on Tuesday afternoon, Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies will take on Kyle Wright and the Braves in Atlanta for Game 2. Wheeler is the better pitching option of these two and was consistent throughout the year with a 2.89 ERA in the first half and 2.70 ERA in the second.
Wright’s first half ERA was 2.95 and his second-half mark was 3.58. Even if those numbers are solid, Wright does not have the ace peripherals that Wheeler possesses.
Out of the bullpen, both teams might be a bit taxed after Tuesday’s game and they were virtually the same xFIP-wise in the second half (3.85 for Philadelphia, 3.96 for Atlanta since August 1).
Lastly, both lineups are above average against right-handed pitching, with a bit more of an edge to Atlanta.
Either way, backing Wheeler and the Phillies on the moneyline is the correct call for this game.
Philadelphia Phillies: Can Wheeler Shut Down Atlanta?
Wheeler ranks in the 94th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 76th percentile in Hard-Hit Rate. This becomes crucial when facing an Atlanta lineup that ranks second in both categories. Wheeler also only walks 5.6% of hitters, while striking out 26.9%. Atlanta ranked fifth in strikeout rate versus righties since August 1, so this matchup does not favor the Braves.
Now, the Braves do have six batters eclipsing a .325 xwOBA off of right-handers. This makes up the majority of the lineup, but there is a significant drop-off at the bottom. Overall, the Braves have a better wRC+ against righties (114) than the Phillies (107), so that's is a small advantage.
The Phillies have four relievers below a 3.00 xFIP. This is sorely needed in the playoffs. In that same timeframe outlined above, Philadelphia ranked 26th in LOB percentage, while the Braves ranked second. This is concerning if a reliever enters with men on base.
Atlanta Braves: Win Needed in Game 2
Wright is not as close as a viewer would expect to Wheeler. Wright holds a 3.19 ERA against a 3.89 xERA, meaning he has been lucky and his second half showed some of that regression. In fact, he ranks in the 35th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 23rd percentile in Hard-Hit Rate, while being slightly above average in strikeout and walk rates. The edge definitely leans to Wheeler.
The Phillies also have six hitters with a xwOBA over .325. They do, however have that lower wRC+, but facing Wright (especially since the All-Star Break) is not the same as facing Wheeler. That said, Wright did hold the Phillies to three runs or fewer in each start against them in the regular season. However, two of those three starts were in the first half, when he was throwing far better. Since the Phillies rank in the top seven in Hard-Hit Rate and Exit Velocity, they should take advantage of Wright’s inability to limit hard contact in the second half of the season.
Finally, the Braves have a similar bullpen to the Phillies with only three members boasting a sub-3.00 xFIP. After losing Game 1, the Braves will need all hands on deck, so A.J. Minter and Raisel Iglesias, who didn't throw in Game 1 will surely pitch in this one. Atlanta will just need to find the bridge to get to those two if Wright struggles.
Wheeler is the better starting pitcher in this game. Wright has taken a step back and with both lineups and bullpens being shockingly similar, backing the better starting pitcher is the right call. The Braves may be pressing after losing Game 1, so keep that in mind with a starter who prevents hard contact.
Take Philadelphia from +112, and play them to -115. Their line should be closer to even money.
Pick: Philadelphia Phillies +112 | play to -115