Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Bet Zack Wheeler Against Madison Bumgarner (Thursday, August 19)

Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Odds, Preview, Prediction: How To Bet Zack Wheeler Against Madison Bumgarner (Thursday, August 19) article feature image
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Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler and Madison Bumgarner

Phillies vs. Diamondbacks Odds

Phillies Odds -195
Diamondbacks Odds +165
Over/Under 8
Time 3:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings.

Philadelphia’s strongest argument for a late playoff charge was its schedule, as the Phillies have the easiest remaining schedule in all of MLB. But the Phillies dropped the first two games against lowly Arizona and now turn to ace and Cy Young contender Zack Wheeler to try to salvage the series and avoid a three-game sweep.

As bad as Arizona was and has been for most of the season, it did take three of four from San Diego and has now taken the first two against Philadelphia. The Diamondbacks’ lineup and bullpen have remained among the league’s worst, but improved starting pitching has turned them from terrible to a merely bad team.

Madison Bumgarner’s improvements on the mound against a struggling Phillies’ lineup provides value on the under in the first five innings. Going against Wheeler, runs should be difficult to come by early in the game.

Phillies’ Bats Have Gone Cold

Only one Phillies hitter has an OPS above .725 in the last eight games — Bryce Harper. Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto and Ronald Torreyes have all slumped at the same time, Rhys Hoskins remains out of the lineup and will not play on Thursday. The results for the Phillies’ offense have been disastrous. Philadelphia managed 19 runs and two wins in those eight games. It’s only scored more than four runs once in that time span. It’s bullpen has quietly improved and starting pitching has been solid and at times very good, but the Phillies haven’t scored much at all of late.

The lineup didn’t hit particularly well against the Mets either in that three-game sweep, so the Philadelphia lineup has to prove it can produce before I look to bet an over on them. The Phillies do project better against lefties than righties, but top right-handed bats Realmuto and McCutchen have had terrible results all week.

Despite the issues at the plate, Wheeler has continued to dominate. Wheeler holds a 2.72 xERA, a .255 xwOBA allowed and has avoided hard contact all season long as he’s in the top-five percentile in avoiding hard hit balls. He’s dominated lineups much better than this Arizona one and should shut down the Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Bumgarner Has Been Solid For Snakes

It appeared at points last season that Madison Bumgarner’s major-league career was coming to an end. His 7.68 xERA in 2020 combined with a dip in velocity and an increase in hard-hit rate. He’s returned to his solid but not excellent standard with a 4.30 ERA and 4.21 xERA. His peripheral pitching numbers have improved, too, with an increased strikeout rate, a decreased walk rate and far fewer barrels and hard-hit balls.

His improvements since returning from injury have boosted the Diamondbacks’ rotation and allowed them to remain competitive. The Phillies have thrived off lefties who have control issues, but Bumgarner is in the top-10 percentile in walk rate this season.

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Phillies-Diamondbacks Pick

Philadelphia’s offense has been almost nonexistent for the last two weeks. The Phillies have gone under both games this series, two of three against the Dodgers and Reds both.

The offense won’t stay bad forever, but Thursday against Bumgarner isn’t the day to back Philadelphia’s bats to come alive. With Wheeler shutting down a bad Arizona lineup on the other side, this game should be close and low-scoring headed to the bullpens.

Pick: Under 4 first five innings (-105 or better)

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