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Saturday MLB Odds & Picks: Marlins Undervalued vs. Howard, Phillies (Sept. 12)

Saturday MLB Odds & Picks: Marlins Undervalued vs. Howard, Phillies (Sept. 12) article feature image

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Spencer Howard

Phillies vs. Marlins Betting Odds

Phillies Odds -125 [Bet Now]
Marlins Odds +105 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-117/-105) [Bet Now]
Time 6:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The Phillies and Marlins are in a battle right now for second place in the NL East. Miami trails Philadelphia by half a game, so this series is crucial in determining who will make the playoffs.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Phillies Projected Lineup

The Phillies have been fantastic offensively this season. Philadelphia’s lineup boasts the sixth-best wOBA (.340) and eighth-best wRC+ (110) in MLB.

However, most of the Phillies success has come against left-handed pitchers.  Philadelphia has a .374 wOBA against lefties, compared to only a .325 wOBA against righties.

Jose Urena been a middle of the road starter the last few years, so we’ll see if the Phillies can keep their red-hot offense going.

Phillies Probable Starter

Spencer Howard, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Howard hasn’t had a great start to his MLB career. The former second-round pick has already accumulated a 5.40 xFIP through his first five starts and is having issues with his control. In only 20.2 innings pitched, Howard has already allowed five home runs and eight walks.

Howard is the Phillies’ No. 1 prospect from their minor league system and spent last year ascending all the way from rookie ball to AA. His numbers in AA were really good (11.15 K/9 & 2.66 xFIP), but under normal circumstances I think the Phillies would have kept him the minors for one more year.

Marlins Projected Lineup

The Marlins have improved offensively over the past two weeks, accumulating a .319 wOBA and 101 wRC+. Adding Starling Marte at the trade deadline has already been a huge addition as he’s already hit two home runs and driven in nine runs in his first 11 games.

The Marlins have somewhat struggled versus right-handed pitching this year (.305 wOBA), but I don’t think they’ll have too much trouble taking advantage of Howard’s control issues.

Marlins Probable Starter

Jose Urena, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Jose Urena has been a below average starter in MLB for the past for the past four years. He has a career xFIP of 4.83, but his projections for the season provide some optimism. ZIPS projects Urena at a 4.13 ERA and 4.23 FIP, which are better than his career averages.

Urena is primarily a sinker ball guy, as he threw it 62.9% of the time last year. He wasn’t very effective with it, allowing a .320 average and .365 wOBA against it in 2019. He has some solid secondary pitches, but he needs to utilize them more if wants be effective this year.

The one pitch the Phillies have struggled against this season is sliders (-7.7 weighted slider runs), so look for Urena to utilize that pitch a lot on Saturday night.


The Phillies made a number of acquisitions at the deadline to try and improve their bullpen, but they haven’t made a big impact, as the Phillies xFIP is all the way up at 4.97.

The Marlins bullpen was solid up until their 29 run game against the Braves on Wednesday. That game raised their ERA a full point, as before it they only had a 4.35 ERA.

Projections and Pick

With Howard’s control issues and how bad the Phillies bullpen has been, I don’t think they should be favorites on Saturday night.

I have the Marlins projected at -114, so I think there is some value in backing them at +110 (PointsBet). Check out our live MLB odds page to find the best price on this game.

I would bet the Marlins down to -102.

Pick: Marlins +110

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