The Philadelphia Phillies will host the Atlanta Braves in the opening contest of a four-game series on Thursday. Philadelphia is 27-17 at home, and Atlanta is 20-23 on the road this year. Head-to-head the Phillies have won seven of the 12 head-to-head games against the Braves this season.
Braves still in playoff hunt despite loss of Acuna Jr.The Atlanta Braves played the San Diego Padres in a doubleheader Wednesday. The Braves lost the first game 3-2, and the second game was not complete at the time of this prediction. With the loss in the early game, the Braves are 46-48, third in the National League East, trailing the first-place New York Mets by four games. The Braves have a tough road ahead as they will be playing the rest of the season without their superstar Ronald Acuna Jr., who was injured before the All-Star break. Acuna Jr had a team-best 3.5 WAR and 24 home runs. Without Acuna, Freddie Freeman leads the Braves with a 2.2 WAR, has 22 home runs and 55 RBI, and Ozzie Albies is having a big year with 15 home runs, 13 stolen bases, and a team-best 63 RBI.
The Atlanta Braves are scheduled to start Charlie Morton on Thursday. In 19 starts this season, Morton is 8-3 with a 3.69 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. Morton is 1-2 with a 3.09 ERA against the Phillies this season and 3-5 with a 5.40 ERA in 10 starts against them all-time.
Phillies gaining on Mets in the divisionAfter winning three out of four games against the Miami Marlins following the All-Star break, the Phillies lost to the New York Yankees 6-4 on Tuesday. Wednesday night's game against the Yankees was not yet complete at the time of this preview.
Heading into Wednesday night, the Philadelphia Phillies are second in the NL East with a 47-46 record. Rhys Hoskins leads the team with 21 home runs and 57 RBI, and Bryce Harper has a team-best .eight stolen bases and 286 batting average amongst players who qualify for the batting title and has added 15 home runs and 34 RBI. Andrew McCutchen has been a key contributor as well, with 17 home runs, 52 RBI, and six stolen bases.
- Braves are 1-5 in their last 6 games vs. a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
- Phillies are 8-3 in their last 11 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Phillies are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a losing record.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Braves and Phillies are close to equal, with just 1.5 games separating them in the NL East standings. The Phillies, however, are 7-5 against the Braves this season and have also won five of their last six games over Atlanta out of the games played in Philadelphia. The Phillies have also won 61% of their home games this season, while Atlanta has won just 46% of its road games. Another important factor is that the Braves no longer have Ronald Acuna Jr, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Acuna Jr has appeared in 82 of Atlanta's 92 games the season and played a significant role and the Braves' first-half success. The Phillies are coming together at the right time and now have Bryce Harper, Jean Segura, and Didi Gregorius healthy, who have all missed time with injuries at points earlier this season.
With a roster that is closer to full strength, this is a situation where I think you have to play the number and take the Phillies for plus money as a home dog.
Full-Game Total Pick
I don't have a lot of faith in the starting pitching match-up for Thursday. Matt Moore has a 7.43 home ERA on the season and has only made it through five innings once this year. Moore will be facing a Braves team that has played to the over in four straight games against southpaws. The Braves projected starter, Charlie Morton, has had an up and down season and has already faced the Phillies three times this year, which I think will give the Philadelphia hitters an advantage on what to expect from the veteran. Morton allowed unearned runs in just 2/3 of an inning against the Phillies back on May 7. Six of the last nine games played between these teams have gone over the total, and I expect to see another over on Thursday.