Reds vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet Tyler Mahle vs. Zack Wheeler (Friday, August 13)

Reds vs. Phillies Odds, Preview, Prediction: How to Bet Tyler Mahle vs. Zack Wheeler (Friday, August 13) article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Wheeler.

  • Tyler Mahle and Zack Wheeler face off in the series opener on Friday night when the Reds face the Phillies.
  • Mahle has become a staple in the Reds' rotation, while Wheeler is the favorite for the NL Cy Young Award.
  • Mike Ianniello breaks down the betting value in the matchup and delivers his pick for the game below.

Reds vs. Phillies Odds

Reds Odds+155
Phillies Odds-190
TimeFriday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday and via BetMGM

The Philadelphia Phillies have been one of the hottest teams in MLB of late. The Phillies are 23-14 since the start of July, which gives them the second-most wins in the majors over that stretch. They're 9-2 since the start of August, tied for the most wins.

The Phillies sit atop the National League East standings and actually have the Cincinnati Reds to thank for that. Philadelphia and Atlanta were tied for the division lead yesterday before the Reds thumped the Braves 12-3 last night.

The Reds, meanwhile, are currently on the outside looking in of the NL playoff picture and will need to go on a run to close the gap on the Padres for the final wild-card spot.

Both of these teams are coming off a win on Thursday to avoid being swept. So who has the advantage on Friday in a matchup between good starting pitchers and strong offenses?

Mahle Providing Huge Boost to Reds Rotation

At just 26 years old, Tyler Mahle is having a breakout season and looks like a potential future ace in the Reds rotation. He is 9-3 on the season with a 3.78 ERA and 3.69 xERA.

Keeping things simple, Mahle throws just three pitches, highlighted by a fastball that he delivers 53% of the time and complemented by a slider and splitter. His fastball has been terrific all season, allowing just a .197 xBA and generating a 35.4 K%.

Mahle has suffered just one loss since May and does a good job eating innings, tossing at least five frames in 20 of his 23 starts. He has solid strikeout numbers and doesn’t allow a lot of hard contact.

The Reds offense has been one of the best and most consistent in the league all season, ranking fifth in the league in runs and third in wOBA.

Cincinnati earned a pair of All-Star starts in the outfield with Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos, who are each having career seasons. Castellanos, though, did miss Thursday's game with swelling in his foot.

Consistently one of the best players in the league, Joey Votto got off to a slow start but has returned to the hitter baseball fans are used to seeing. Over the last month, he is hitting .351 with a 1.284 OPS and has 14 home runs in his last 21 games.

Wheeler Delivering as Phillies' Ace

With the injury to his former teammate Jacob deGrom, Zack Wheeler has taken over as the favorite to win the NL Cy Young Award.

Wheeler has always been viewed as a high-end, but not elite, No. 1 starter. This year, though, he has been dominant and one of the best pitchers in the game.

In his second year in Philadelphia, Wheeler is 10-6 this season with a 2.42 ERA, which ranks sixth in the league. His 10.44 K/9 rate this year is nearly two strikeouts higher than his career average, and he ranks in the top 5% of the league in xERA, xwOBA and average exit velocity against.

The biggest change in Wheeler’s approach has been his slider usage. After throwing it just 15.9% of the time last year, he has upped that to 26.7% in 2021. At 91.6 mph, he throws the fastest slider in the league and it has been dominant. His slider has allowed just a .193 batting average and .242 wOBA, while generating a 33.3 K%.

Wheeler might not be the only Phillies player to win some hardware this season. Bryce Harper currently has the second-best odds to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award, behind only Fernando Tatis Jr., who continues to be on the injured list. Over the last month, the red-hot Harper is batting .346 with a 1.221 OPS.

J.T. Realmuto is currently day to day after taking a foul ball off the mask and is questionable for this game, while Rhys Hoskins is on the injured list with a groin injury. Luckily, the Phillies did just get Andrew McCutchen back in the lineup, who is having a great season with 20 home runs.

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Reds-Phillies Pick

Both of these offenses have been hitting the ball extremely well, with each ranking in the top 10 in wOBA and wRC+ since the start of July. But both of these pitchers have also been really good.

So which should we back?

I am always more comfortable betting on good pitcher’s so I think there is value on the under in this spot.

Wheeler is the NL Cy Young Award favorite and has been dominant this season. He has been especially good at Citizens Bank Park, going 6-3 with a 2.02 ERA and allowing just a .191 batting average against. His slider has been lights out this season and his go-to strikeout pitch. Cincinnati ranks just 21st in the league with a -15.8 run value against sliders this year.

Mahle has also been very good, and unlike Wheeler, he has been much better on the road. In 12 starts away from Cincinnati, Mahle is 6-1 with a 2.06 ERA and .192 batting average against, compared to his 5.74 ERA at home. His best pitch is his fastball which he throws 53% of the time and the Phillies are just 18th in the league against fastballs this year.

Both bullpens are a bit untrustworthy so while I do like the full-game under 8.5, as well, I will play the first five innings under 4.5 at -115 and back the two starting pitchers to shine on Friday night.

Pick: First Five Innings Under 4.5 (-115, play to -125)

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