Nationals vs. Phillies Odds, Predictions, Preview: Can Bryce Harper Stay Hot at the Plate? (August 5)

Nationals vs. Phillies Odds, Predictions, Preview: Can Bryce Harper Stay Hot at the Plate? (August 5) article feature image
Credit:

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Bryce Harper.

  • Philadelphia and Washington finish off their four-game set Thursday at Nationals Park.
  • The Phillies are going for the series sweep and have scored 21 runs combined in the first three games.
  • MLB betting analyst Mike Ianniello breaks down whether he thinks Philadelphia and Bryce Harper can maintain that pace at the plate.

Phillies vs. Nationals Odds

Phillies Odds -160
Nationals Odds +140
Over/Under 8.5
Time Thursday, 4:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

Philadelphia will go for a four-game sweep in Washington on Thursday after outscoring the Nationals 21-14 in the first three games of the series. The Phillies have won four in a row and have climbed to just one game behind the New York Mets for first place in the NL East.

The Nationals were big-time sellers at the trade deadline, shipping out most of their core and beginning to rebuild around Juan Soto. They sit fourth in the NL East and are now just 6-9 against Philadelphia this year.

Harper Heating Up For Phillies

It has been a bit of a strange season for the Phillies presumed ace, Aaron Nola (RHP). In 21 starts this year, he holds a 4.30 ERA, which would be his worst mark since 2016. However, his 3.47 FIP shows it might not be as bad as it has appeared. Some games he has looked elite as expected; others he has really struggled.

Despite the mixed results, Nola’s 10.76 K/9 rate is higher than his career average, and his BB% is the lowest of his career. As Nola himself admits, he has struggled getting out of innings this year. He has allowed a 7.18 ERA with two outs this season. He has allowed more than half of his runs and also half of his walks with two down.

Since the start of July, only the Dodgers have scored more runs than the Phillies. Philadelphia has the second highest wOBA in the league over that stretch.

It feels like people are not talking enough about how good Bryce Harper has been recently. In the last month he is batting .383 with a 1.184 OPS. In the last two weeks, he is hitting .422 with a 1.358 OPS. And in the last week, he is a blistering .455 with a 1.477 OPS.

The former MVP is second in all of baseball in batting average and OPS over the last month and doesn’t seem to be getting enough credit for leading the Phillies back into playoff contention.

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Up-And-Down Year For Nationals’ Ross

It has been a tale of every other game for Joe Ross (RHP) recently. Over Ross’s last 10 starts, he has allowed no earned runs in five of them, and 18 total runs in the other five. In his last start, he allowed five runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. So his next start should be a good one, right?

Overall Ross has made 18 starts this season and holds a 4.00 ERA and 4.46 FIP. He has had good outings, but when he’s off, it has been bad. Ross throws his sinker 45.6% of the time and has allowed a .349 wOBA this year. He only throws his fastball about 16% of the time, but it has been hit hard when he has.

The Nationals offense has actually been really good this season. They rank third in batting average and eighth in wOBA. However, last week they traded away offensive pieces Trea Turner, Josh Harrison, Yan Gomes and Kyle Schwarber.

Luckily, they still have Juan Soto. Since the All-Star break, Soto is batting .343 with a 1.184 OPS and has seven home runs and 16 RBIs in 19 games.

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Phillies-Nationals Pick

This is a very tricky matchup to handicap. Both pitchers have had outings when they have been lights out, but they have also had plenty of rough starts. When you look at their overall numbers as a whole, they both have an ERA of at least 4.00 and have been just average for much of the season.

While Nola has had a few dominant starts, they have mostly come at home. In 12 away games, he has a 5.29 ERA compared to 3.18 at Citizens Bank Park.

Ross on the other hand, has been much worse at home, posting a 5.32 ERA with just a 2-5 record in eight starts in D.C. this year. He will be facing the Phillies for the third time this season and Jean Segura and J.T. Realmuto are a combined 17-for-37 (.459) in their careers against Ross.

I mentioned above how great Harper has been lately, and he has absolutely torched his former team. In 13 games against the Nationals this season, Harper has a hit in every single one and is batting .417 with five home runs, nine RBIs and 15 runs scored.

The total has gone over in each of the first three games of this series, and I will back it to go over in the final one too.

I also recommend sprinkling a little on Bryce Harper over 1.5 total bases. He is absolutely on fire and has loved picking on his former team all season, I’ll throw a little on him to keep it going.

Pick: Over 8.5 runs (-110) | Sprinkle: Harper over 1.5 total bases

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