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Phillies vs. Braves MLB Picks, Odds: Aaron Nola Has Edge Over Regressing Kyle Wright (Thursday, May 26)

Phillies vs. Braves MLB Picks, Odds: Aaron Nola Has Edge Over Regressing Kyle Wright (Thursday, May 26) article feature image
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Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Wright

  • Phillies vs. Braves odds are essentially a coin-flip for the series finale on Thursday night.
  • Philadelphia sends ace Aaron Nola to the mound against Atlanta's young right-hander Kyle Wright.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.

Phillies vs. Braves Odds

Phillies Odds -110
Braves Odds -110
Over/Under 8
Time 7:20 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves meet Thursday in the finale of a four-game set between these division rivals.

The Phillies took the opener but have since dropped back-to-back games. They’ll now turn to their ace to try and salvage a split in the series. However, that is certainly not a done deal as the Braves will hand the ball to their breakout right-hander Kyle Wright.

Wright was tremendous in April; however, he appears to be coming back down to earth slowly, and he could land today against a Phillies lineup that has picked it up of late.

While the Phillies bats may lend support, should we back Aaron Nola even though he has an ERA over 4 in the month of May?

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Phils Set to Pounce on Regressing Wright

Wright was one of the best stories of April as the young right-handers displayed an enhanced arsenal that featured a wicked curveball and a fastball that was coming out of his hand nearly 2 mph harder than ever before.

Overall, he was dominant through his first four starts as he only gave up three runs and punched out 34 guys in just 24 innings. However, since the calendar has flipped to May, the results have differed.

Wright’s ERA in May is 3.91 in the same amount of starts he made in April. The leading cause of Wright’s drop-off is his command. Walks have become an issue over his last four starts as he’s walked more than one batter three times and even walked four against Boston. This actually started in his last start of April as he walked four against the Cubs, too.

He’s gotten away with the command issues in two of his last six starts as they came against the weaker lineups of Miami and Chicago. However, more potent teams like the Mets, Padres and Red Sox have all converted those free passes into runs, and the Phillies are more than capable of doing the same.

After many of their best bats started the season cold, the Phillies have gotten into the swing of things in April. As a team, they have the seventh-highest batting average in the month of May, and they are in the top half of the league in wRC+.

They haven’t seen this new version of Wright, but if they can remain disciplined, they should be able to get the best of him.

Nola to Keep Free-Swinging Braves Off-Balance

The defending World Series champions are at full strength, yet they sit two games under .500 and seven games behind the Mets in the NL East. While their offense has a ton of talent and potential, their lack of plate discipline has made them very inconsistent.

The Braves enter this game with the highest strikeout rate in the majors. They’ve struck out at a 26.4 percent rate, which is about four percent higher than the league average.

The issue is the strikeouts do not stem from a couple of guys; it’s from everyone and some of their stars too. Ronald Acuna Jr. leads the team (in terms of everyday players) with a 33.8 percent strikeout rate, but guys like Dansby Swanson and Adam Duvall are not far behind.

Nola is bad news for an undisciplined team like this. He enters this start in the top 15 percent of all qualified pitchers in strikeout rate as his curveball and changeup have been on another level thus far.

However, the Philly ace is much more than a strikeout artist as he’s been a tough nut to crack this season. He sits in the top 20 percent of the league in expected batting average and expected weighted on-base average. All of that makes his expected ERA over a full run lower than his actual ERA.

If Nola has his off-speed stuff working, it will be a long night for the Braves lineup.

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Phillies-Braves Pick

The Wright hype train appears to be coming to a stop, and this Phillies team is ready to heat up. Their big bats have been solid of late; they just aren’t getting the results on the scoreboard.

That’s all going to change here behind their ace, which is the guy you want against a lineup like Atlanta’s. Nola should be sharp and ideally work his way into the sixth to limit the number of outs the Philly bullpen has to get. Regardless, Nola should receive plenty of support in the process. Take the Phils in this series finale.

Pick: Phillies +105 (Play to -110)

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