Phillies vs Braves Prediction & Picks Sunday | MLB Odds (July 7)

Phillies vs Braves Prediction & Picks Sunday | MLB Odds (July 7) article feature image

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Trea Turner

Phillies vs Braves Odds

Sunday, July 7
1:35 p.m. ET
Philadelphia Phillies Odds
Run LineOver/UnderMoneyline
+100o / -122u
Atlanta Braves Odds
Run LineOver/UnderMoneyline
+100o / -122u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Phillies and Braves rivalry has grown in the past couple seasons, and it's only intensifying as the Phillies take a strangehold on the NL East. As of now, the Phillies lead by 9 games, and it's slowly getting out of reach. The Braves took game two of the series following a tough loss on game one, so this is the decider. Who will take it?

Here's my betting preview along with my Phillies vs Braves pick and prediction.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Atlanta Braves

Reynaldo Lopez has been a total steal for the Braves. He's enjoying his first year since 2019 as a full-time starter, with a dazzling 1.83 ERA and is well on his way to becoming an All-Star. However, Lopez's peripherals point to regression looming — his 4.30 xERA and 3.12 FIP indicate he won't pitch to a sub-2 era all year.

Another problem for Lopez is that he generates soft contact — ranking in the 28th percentile in average exit velocity and 21st percentile in hard-hit percentage. He also struggles to find the zone consistently, ranking in the 33rd percentile in BB-rate, but his outstanding K-rate (73rd percentile) makes up for some of the walk issues.

The Braves offense have struggled to replicate their success from a season ago. They find a hot streak for stretches, then bounce back to reality. The offense ranks 20th in MLB with a 93 wRC+ since June 6th, while ranking 24th in MLB in K-rate and 20th in BB-rate in that span.

All-Star third baseman Austin Riley re-discovered his all-star form after a tough start. He owns a 171 wRC+ since June 6th, leading the Braves by a vast margin over Marcell Ozuna (135 wRC+) and the surging Jarred Kelenic (127 wRC+.) They'll need Kelenic and Matt Olson to step up against the Phillies rookie right-hander.

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Philadelphia Phillies

That rookie is 25-year-old, Michael Mercado. In Mercado's first start against the Cubs, he pitched five solid innings allowing just two hits and one run with four strikeouts. Mercado generated a lot of soft contact, as the Cubs failed to barrel him at all. We'll see if the Braves fare differently.

Trea Turner has picked up the slack for the injured Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. He hit a pair of homers in the opening game of the series, and that's par for the course recently for Turner, owning a 292 wRC+ since Harper went down. Turner isn't the lone Phillies' batter improving since the injury, as Nick Castellanos has a 212 wRC+ since the injuries.

Another key for the Phillies offense against Lopez is attacking his weak points. I already touched on his high walk rate, but they walked just 5% of the time since the Harper injury, and strike out on 27% of at-bats. Even if the Phillies rack up some strikeouts, it'll bring Lopez's pitch count up. They just need to avoid recording quick-outs.

Phillies vs. Braves

Betting Pick & Prediction

You might be able to tell from my write-up, but I'm picking Phillies moneyline.

I see real value in the Phillies, as the Lopez regression should hit sooner rather than later. I've faded him a few times without success, but the Phillies should be able to attack him. At +152 on the moneyline, the Phillies have tremendous value over a highly overpriced Lopez.

Mercado has done nothing but dominate this year between the Triple-A and major league level — so far. He posted a 1.71 ERA in 14 appearances and over 50 innings, and that's why he's now in the major leagues, starting for one of the top teams in MLB. It'll take time for teams to get a full scouting report on Mercado, so it could take a couple of starts to catch up. Plus, the Braves offense isn't very good.

Pick: Phillies moneyline (+152) via FanDuel

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