Phillies vs Rays Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Tuesday, July 4

Phillies vs Rays Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Tuesday, July 4 article feature image

Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Philadelphia Phillies player Bryce Harper

Phillies vs. Rays Odds

Tuesday, July 4
4:10 p.m. ET
Phillies Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Rays Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

It's only fitting that folks across the country get the day off on Tuesday to watch Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Zach Eflin's much-anticipated revenge start against his former team, the Philadelphia Phillies.

Philly enters Tuesday on a hot streak and will send its best arm, Aaron Nola, to the hill. He faces a Rays offense that dropped 15 runs on the Seattle Mariners on Friday, but he disappeared over the last two games in a deflating series loss.

Let's get into how to bet this July 4th showdown between the Phillies and Rays at Tropicana Field.

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Philadelphia Phillies

What to expect from Aaron Nola on a weekly basis is kind of a mystery.

The righty had a solid April – 3.58 ERA in five starts – but has since struggled to the tune of a 4.93 ERA in May and a 4.06 ERA in June. He's had some great starts sprinkled in, including six shutout innings against the Atlanta Braves on June 22, but he's also been torched by the likes of the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs.

The good news is that Nola seems to be trending in the right direction despite some bad results. His expected batting average in April was .239 — that has since dropped to .234 in May and .205 in June. His expected slugging was also a tasty .366 in June, and his whiff rate grew for a second straight month to a high of 30.5%.

So while Nola's strikeout numbers and expected stats may look worse than they did a season ago, they're currently improving. He has a 3.63 xERA on the season as well, further indicating that he should be strong more times than not.

The Phillies offense has been surprisingly stable over the last two weeks with a 111 wRC+, which ranks ninth in the league during that time. They've done all of this despite Bryce Harper's extended home run drought, and it's thanks to a low 21.4% strikeout rate and high .270 batting average.

If the power surge ever comes for Harper, and the rest of the team, it could return to late-2022 levels.

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Tampa Bay Rays

Tampa Bay's offense has been roughly identical to Philadelphia's over the last two weeks.

The Rays have hit .296 with a 22.3% strikeout rate, and they've hit just as many homers (14) as their counterparts over that span. Tampa has been worse in the strikeout department and has sported a lower Isolated Power as well, and that's with the 15-run outburst against Seattle.

That being said, the Rays haven't needed many runs when Eflin has pitched. The longtime Phillies hurler owns a career-best 3.29 ERA through 90 1/3 innings, with an even better 3.09 xERA, which is also a career low. His strikeout numbers are way up to 25.6% this year, and he's been able to post a good .372 xSLG despite a high 9.2% barrel rate.

Unlike Nola, Eflin hasn't had as pretty of a trajectory over the course of this season. He began the year with some poor expected stats — like a .446 xSLG — and while they have been much better over the last two months, they've still risen somewhat significantly from May to June.

The good news is that his whiff rate has remained as steady as has his ground-ball rate, though a slight increase in average launch angle on his sinker and a huge jump in launch angle on his curveball have led to the change.

Still, as long as he keeps the ball on the ground, Eflin is going to be effective against anyone.

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Phillies vs. Rays Betting Pick

Given what we've discussed above, I have a good deal of faith in both starting pitchers.

Nola has improved dramatically beneath the surface and has earned the respect he's being given by oddsmakers, while Eflin's remained strong despite a slight regression in expected stats.

The Phillies are in the top 10 of all pitchers when it comes to fly ball rate, which makes me a bit nervous for Eflin here. He was able to pitch around seven hits in each of his last two starts, but when you couple that with some home run concerns and an improved Phillies offense, the chances of him escaping unscathed are low.

I think there's plenty of value in buying low on Nola and the Phillies in a matchup between two even offenses. Philly's ability to get the ball in the air could provide the homer or two that makes the difference.

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