Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2909 Atlanta Braves vs.
#2910 Philadelphia Phillies
Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 7:15pm EDT
Written by David Delano

The MLB postseason race is still unsettled, and two teams involved in the chase will go head to head on Thursday when the Philadelphia Phillies (81-67) host the Atlanta Braves (93-56). Atlanta has won nine of the 15 head-to-head games this season, including sweeping the Phillies in Atlanta this past weekend.

Fighting for first

The Atlanta Braves still trail the New York Mets by one game for first place in the NL East after both teams lost on Wednesday. Atlanta was a -255 favorite in the loss, but this is baseball, and it was their 16 head-to-head meeting, with Atlanta winning 12 of those games against Washington this year.

Starting on Thursday for Atlanta is 28-year-old southpaw Max Fried (13-6, 2.52 ERA). On the road, Fried is 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 11 starts. He has faced the Phillies three times and has a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings of work with no decisions this season, but Atlanta is 2-1 in those games. Fried just faced the Phillies on September 16 and allowed two runs in six innings, both off long balls in the Braves' 7-2 victory. Ranger Suarez also started that game for the Phillies, as tonight we will have the same matchup, just in Philly this time.

Phillies end skid with walk-off win

The Phillies are currently in the third and final wild-card spot in the National League. The Brewers are 2.5 games behind the Phillies as the only team that could catch them. Philadelphia is just 1.5 games behind the Padres for the second wild-card spot. The race certainly isn't over, but according to ESPN, there is an 85.6% chance that the Phils will reach the playoffs. The Phillies have been pushing their luck after losing five straight games before beating Toronto 4-3 on Wednesday.

Home-field advantage has been important for the Phillies as they are 13 games above .500 when they host, as opposed to just one game over on the road. Unlike the majority of the team, southpaw Ranger Suarez (9-5, 3.53 ERA) has not performed as well at home, where he is just 3-4 with a 4.70 ERA. Suarez has faced Atlanta four times this season overall and is 0-2 with a 4.09 ERA in four starts, and the Phillies are 1-3 in those games.

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Full-Game Side Bet

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Both teams are in postseason mode, but the Braves are battle-tested in these pressure situations, whereas the Phillies are not, and based on their recent play, the pressure may be getting to Philadelphia. Philadelphia is 1-5 in their last six games and now will be at home on national television against the Braves, who are an opposite 5-1 in their previous six games. Max Fried has also been strong on the road this season, and Atlanta is 3-1 when he starts against Philly. As mentioned, Suarez has struggled at home, and the Phillies have also dropped three of his four starts against Atlanta. It's tough laying juice in a divisional game between two teams that have gone back and forth this season, but I have to roll with the defending World Champs as they fight a first-round postseason bye.

Prediction: Atlanta Braves -145

Full-Game Total Pick

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Although both starting pitchers are capable of putting together a strong outing, this will also be the fifth time this season Atlanta has seen Suarez, and the fourth time the Phillies have seen Fried. This is also the second time in less than seven days that the opposing lineup will be getting a look at each starter. The Braves are third in MLB averaging 4.9 runs per game on the road, and the over has cashed in Suarez's last four home starts. The Phillies lineup is tied for fourth averaging 4.9 runs per game at home, and they have scored at least five runs in two of the three games that Fried started against them. There is too much firepower and too much familiarity on both sides to trust taking an under with a total below 8 here for me. Go over the total.

Prediction: Over 7.5
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Written By David Delano , "David Delano"

David Delano is a Bowling Green State University graduate with a passion for sports, traveling, and music. David loves to handicap MLB, NFL, NCAAF, NCAAB, NBA, WNBA, and is also a big fan of boxing and track and field. Over the years, David has worn several hats in the sports world, from being behind the camera to writing, filming, editing, scouting, and coaching, along with servicing his clients as a sports handicapper.  He is also an expert sports bettor. We are glad to have David on our Winners & Whiners team, and we recommend that you follow along with him every day. 

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