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NLCS Game 1 Phillies vs Padres Picks, Odds

NLCS Game 1 Phillies vs Padres Picks, Odds article feature image
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Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler (Phillies)

  • Game 1 of the NLCS kicks off with Zack Wheeler going for the Phillies and Yu Darvish on the hill for the Padres
  • The Phillies have the stronger lineup and have an advantage in the bullpen.
  • D.J. James previews the matchup and offers up his best bet.

Phillies vs. Padres Game 1 Odds

Phillies Odds +110
Padres Odds -125
Over/Under 6.5 (-124/+105)
Time 8:03 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The San Diego Padres will host the Philadelphia Phillies in the opener of the NLCS on Tuesday night.

Yu Darvish will start for the Padres, and Zack Wheeler will go for the Phils.

Darvish had a solid 2022 campaign, with a 3.10 ERA and 3.49 xERA. However, Wheeler was a tad better thanks to a 2.82 ERA and 3.10 xERA. In addition, his peripherals are much more encouraging, allowing much less hard contact than Darvish.

That said, both teams are fairly comparable against right-handed pitching.

Since August 1, the Padres hold a 108 wRC+ and the Phillies have a 107 wRC+. Philadelphia has an OPS about 40 points higher, though, so the power numbers are better.

San Diego does have Josh Hader out of the bullpen, but the Phillies have a few more functional pieces at their disposal in relief.

Since the major difference in this game is the starting pitching, going with the underdog on the moneyline is the correct bet.

Why Phillies Have Starting Pitching Advantage

Wheeler is one of the best pitchers in the National League. He ranks in the 94th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 76th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage.

He is also in the top 30% in walk rate and strikeout rate, while getting hitters to chase at an above-average clip.

The Padres have a top-heavy lineup against righties since August 1. Juan Soto and Manny Machado were the only two batters on the NLDS roster with a .320+ xwOBA.

This does not indicate a stiff battle with Wheeler at the helm.

Only Jake Cronenworth, Josh Bell and Jurickson Profar were above .300. This means the bottom-half of the lineup was propped up by the success of the top-half, so expect Wheeler to take care of business and throw at least five innings.

Philadelphia is around league average when it comes to relief options. It had three relievers under a 3.00 xFIP in the regular season, but Philly struggles in terms of leaving runners stranded, ranking 29th, only ahead of the Miami Marlins in WHIP.

José Alvarado, Zach Eflin and Noah Syndergaard would be the best available options in relief behind Wheeler, so expect at least one of them to take the hill when Wheeler exits.


Darvish Facing Difficult Matchup to Start Series

Darvish does not walk many hitters and strikes them out around 26% of the time. Still, he ranks in the 49th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 58th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage.

These numbers are not as impressive, especially when facing a lineup like the Phillies (seventh in Average Exit Velocity and sixth in Hard Hit Percentage).

The Phillies also had six batters above a .320 xwOBA after August 1 against righties. This means the majority of the lineup can put together a solid plate appearance.

Rhys Hoskins started to put it together in the NLDS, as well, so this could be a pleasant surprise against a good starting pitcher.

The Padres have a worse xFIP than the Phils at 4.04 versus 3.96, but they have a better WHIP and leave runners stranded more often.

Hader looks sharper, so there is a small edge to San Diego out of the bullpen.

Seeing how well Philadelphia hits righties, it should force the Padres to use weaker middle relief options, though.

Phillies-Padres Pick

Wheeler is the better of the two starting pitchers, and since he can throw deep into a game against a weaker lineup than Darvish, he has an advantage.

The bullpens are seemingly equal, given the circumstances surrounding the lineups with these starting pitchers.

Take the Phillies at +110, and play them to -115. They should slight favorites in this game, even on the road.

Pick: Philadelphia Phillies +110 | Play to -115

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