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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Phillies vs. Braves: Bet the Underdog in NL East Matchup (May 25)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions for Phillies vs. Braves: Bet the Underdog in NL East Matchup (May 25) article feature image
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Maddie Meyer/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suárez.

  • The Atlanta Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday in MLB action.
  • The Braves are heavy moneyline favorites, but analyst Michael Arinze has found value on the underdogs.
  • Check out below why he's backing Philadelphia to win this contest.

Phillies vs. Braves Odds

Phillies Odds +145
Braves Odds -175
Over/Under 9
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Phillies and Braves are almost spitting images of one another this season. Both share identical 20-23 records. Both have also won the same amount of games at home (11) and on the road (9) so far. And with this four-game series tied at one game apiece, it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up with a split when it’s all said and done.

Wednesday’s matchup features Philadelphia’s left-hander Ranger Suárez against Atlanta’s Charlie Morton. After glancing at the numbers, I found their stats are also eerily similar. Thus, with slim margins on hand, we’ll need to dig even deeper to find a winning angle.

That said, let’s take a look and see where we can find betting value.

Philadelphia Phillies

It looked like a trip to the West Coast would be the turning point in the Phillies’ season. Against the Mariners, manager Joe Girardi got ejected after arguing a play at first base that led to a Seattle run. Philadelphia went down 3-0, but rallied back only to fall short in a 5-4 defeat.

However, the loss seemed to galvanize the Phillies, as they went on a four-game winning streak that included three victories against the mighty Dodgers. Unfortunately, Philadelphia lost its momentum once Bryce Harper had to miss some games due to an elbow injury.

The Phillies went 1-4 during that stretch, and they’re now 2-2 with Harper back in the lineup. There’s a clear difference with the Philadelphia offense when the reigning NL MVP is in the fold. The Phillies were shut out twice during his absence and scored just four runs during a four-game stretch.

Over the past three games, Philadelphia’s scored 16 runs. With that offensive production, the Phillies have more than a fighting chance to contend for a postseason berth. Now they need to get a similar performance from their pitching staff.

In his first three seasons, Suárez made 44 appearances with only three starts. Last year, he made 12 starts in 39 outings. This season, his appearances have been as a starter. Suárez is 4-2 with a 4.12 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. His advanced numbers align with his traditional ERA, given his 3.99 xFIP and 4.31 xERA.

Much of Suárez’s success comes from his sinker, which he throws 52.1 percent. With that pitch, he can induce ground balls and has a 1.63 GB/FB ratio. The sinker allows Suárez to often get out of trouble because he’s always one ground ball away from a double play. That’s how he’s primarily overcome his 3.43 BB/9 ratio.

Moreover, FanGraphs values his sinker at 5.3 runs above average. That alone is a good enough reason to throw the pitch more than 50% of the time.

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Atlanta Braves

After a few spotty starts, Morton might have found his groove again. He’s allowed four runs in his last 16 1/3 innings to drop his ERA by almost two runs. Through eight starts, he’s 3-3 with a 4.95 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.

Much of Morton’s struggles this season have been self-induced. His 4.28 BB/9 ratio is the second-worst of his career. What’s surprising is he’s getting ahead of opposing hitters with a first-pitch strike rate of 63.1 percent. According to FanGraphs, hitters aren’t chasing his pitches as much this season, as their swings outside the strike zone are down from 31.3% to 27.5 percent. In 2019 and 2020, that number was roughly around 33.8 percent.

The good news is there doesn’t appear to be an issue with Morton’s velocity. He still averages around 95 mph on his four-seamer. Thus, I think Morton has an excellent chance to continue to improve as the season progresses. However, Atlanta’s bullpen will need to manage the game better once their starters exit.

The Braves blew their eighth save of the season on Tuesday, which is the fifth-worst mark in the majors. The reality is the Atlanta bullpen hasn’t been that bad despite the blown saves. It ranks 11th with a 3.38 bullpen ERA, whereas Philadelphia ranks 21st with a 4.15 ERA. The advanced numbers are even more favorable for the Braves as they lead the league with a 2.89 FIP this season.

Thus, Atlanta is due for some positive regression if it can sort things out in the ninth inning.

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Phillies-Braves Pick

I think you can easily make an argument for either pitcher in this matchup. My model makes Atlanta no more than a -133 favorite , which is roughly a 55.86% implied probability. However, the Braves are now as high as -185 on the moneyline at some shops and that price is too rich for my liking.

Since 2018, Philadelphia hasn’t fared well in its visits to Atlanta, as it’s  just 10-23 for a loss of 11.4 units in this spot.

Yet, the Phillies are an impressive 15-8 for 5.46 units when Suárez gets the start on the mound.

The value is clearly with the Phillies, who are currently available at +152 odds on the moneyline at WynnBet. I’ll look to risk a half unit of my bankroll on the road underdogs.

Pick: Phillies ML (+152)

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