Sunday Night Baseball Betting Picks: Our Staff’s Bets for Phillies vs. Braves (August 23)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images.
- Two NL East opponents clash on Sunday Night Baseball as the Philadelphia Phillies take on the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park.
- Even without Ronald Acuna in the lineup, the Braves have been dominant offensively. BJ Cunningham likes Atlanta's team total over 4.5 runs in this game.
- Check out more of our staff's best bets for Phillies vs. Braves on Sunday Night Baseball below.
Sunday Night Baseball Odds: Phillies vs. Braves
Zack Eflin (0-1, 5.14 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (1-0, 2.35 ERA)
|Phillies moneyline||-104 [Bet Now]|
|Braves moneyline||-110 [Bet Now]|
|Phillies run line||-1.5 (+160) [Bet Now]|
|Braves run line||+1.5 (-195) [Bet Now]|
|Over/under||9.5 (-103/-120) [Bet Now]|
|Time||7:08 p.m. ET|
The NL East gets the spotlight tonight, as Sunday Night Baseball brings the Phillies to Atlanta to face Josh Tomlin and the Braves.
As many expected, the Braves hold first place in the division, and they’ve been tough to beat at home, but can Philly grab a win tonight?
Here’s how our experts are betting the matchup.
Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.
Our Picks for Phillies vs. Braves
Collin Wilson: Under 9.5 (-120)
The most dangerous bet anyone can make in MLB might be in support of the Phillies bullpen. Philadelphia’s relievers’ combined wRC+ ranks 19th in MLB with a remarkable BABIP of .422. To put that number in perspective, the worst bullpen BABIP in 2019 belonged to the Royals at .324.
Speaking of BABIP, no offense supports a higher number against right-handers than Atlanta. The Braves also report the fifth-highest strikeout percentage in the league against right-handers, which is good news for Phillies starter Zach Eflin.
Eflin has been much better than what his game results have shown through his first three starts. The Phillies 23-year old has an xFIP of 2.35, which is much lower than his actual ERA of 5.14.
The Braves counter Eflin with Josh Tomlin, who began the season in the bullpen until a 4.1-innings start on August 18th. Tomlin’s pitch count should be similarly restricted for this contest, which should put the Braves bullpen in play early.
With regression expected for the Braves’ bats and Phillies bullpen with respect to BABIP, the under is certainly worth an add for tonight’s game.
BJ Cunningham: Braves Team Total Over 4.5 (-113)
Even without Ronald Acuna in the lineup over the past few weeks, the Braves have still been crushing the ball. Over the past 14 days, Atlanta reports a .363 wOBA and 138 wRC+. Freddie Freeman has been absolutely on fire over that span, hitting .405 with a .497 wOBA. The biggest development, however, has been the emergence of Travis d’Arnaud, who also has a wOBA over .400 and 10 RBIs in his last 10 games.
Atlanta has done most of their damage against right-handed pitching, ranking third in MLB with a .350 wOBA and 122 wRC+. The Braves have also been the best team against fastballs this season, which is Eflin’s primary pitch.
Zach Eflin is a below-average right-handed pitcher. He’s been pretty good to open the season with an xFIP of 2.35, which is significantly lower than his career average of 4.62. He is primarily a fastball-slider-sinker pitcher, but none of those pitches are particularly effective. In 2019, Eflin allowed a wOBA above .300 on all three of those pitches.
Atlanta not only crushes fastballs, but they’ve also been the sixth-best team against sliders in 2020. Eflin will have to be on point tonight if he wants to get through this loaded Braves lineup.
The Phillies bullpen has been an unmitigated disaster this year. Philadelphia’s relievers blew last night’s game, allowing four runs in the final 1.2 innings. They now have the worst combined ERA in MLB at 8.29 with a 4.60 xFIP. Even if Eflin is able to put in a quality start, it’s highly unlikely this bullpen will be able to hold the lead.
A red-hot lineup against a below-average starting pitcher and a bullpen in shambles is the perfect recipe for a team total over. I’ll be backing the Braves over 4.5 runs at -113.
Danny Donahue: Under 9.5 (-120)
With the wind blowing straight in from center, the weather conditions more-or-less force my hand with this pick.
In our database (since 2005), games featuring wind blowing in at an average speed of 5 mph or higher have hit the under at a 55% clip over a sample of more than 1,700 games. And in the very limited sample for such games at Suntrust Park, the under’s record is 7-4.
Tonight’s forecast is calling for a 7 mph breeze throughout the game, so I’ll take the small historical edge with the under.