In yesterday’s Phillies Betting Preview, I talked about the pitching duel that could develop between Zack Wheeler and Charlie Morton. That’s exactly what we got as each hurler held up his end of the bargain and we cashed our 4-unit SGP on 6+ strikeouts with both pitchers. As an added bonus, the Phillies hung on to win 2-1, guaranteeing the minimum of a split series. If they win today, they will have gained two games on the Braves in the decision. But it’s not going to be easy.
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Phillies (+200) vs Braves (-250) O/U 9
Philadelphia starts recently acquired (RHP) Dylan Covey (0-0 3.00) and Atlanta responds with their impressive mustached-adorned RHP Spencer Strider (4-2 2.97) in the primetime Sunday Night Baseball matchup on ESPN. The first pitch will be 7:00 p.m.
Covey, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 19th, is making his second appearance but first start for the Phillies. He was effective in his first outing with Philadelphia, pitching five innings and allowing just one run off of five hits against Arizona. His control was excellent as well, striking out six batters and only walking one.
Strider, sporting a career ERA of 2.77, makes his 11th start of the 2023 campaign. He has simply been magnificent this season, giving up only 22 runs (19 earned) on 39 hits in his 57 2/3 innings pitched. He leads the majors in strikeouts with 97 against 21 walks.
In addition to his stellar season and career, Strider has absolutely owned the Phillies. In three starts against the Fightin’ Phils in his rookie season, Strider was a perfect 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA. In his three outings, he had 6-13-10 strikeouts, respectively.
So far for the series, Philly batters are hitting a collective .260 average, with 27 hits in 104 at-bats. They’ve scored 13 runs, hit seven doubles, one triple, and two home runs, along with 13 RBIs. They’ve struck out 28 times and walked 13. Finally, they have left 26 men on base over the three games.
The Braves, on the other hand, have hit for a .273 average, also with 27 hits in 99 at-bats. Like the Phillies, they’ve scored 13 runs and collected six doubles, but have gone yard six times, also with 13 RBIs. They’ve been punched out 26 times but have only walked six, all while leaving 18 men on the lily pads.
The oddsmakers believe this could be another pitcher’s duel, as they have shaded the juice to the under at -115 and lightened the over to -105.
My computer model, which ran 20,000 simulations of the game, also believes that offensive output will be on the lower side, but only slightly, as the average score amounted to 8.8 runs.
I’m once again focusing on the SGP that I wagered yesterday, starting pitchers’ strikeouts. When making this selection, they give you the option of different strikeout totals for each pitcher with the payouts increasing as the number of strikeouts increase.
I chose Strider to have 8+ strikeouts and Covey with 4+ K’s. The odds on that are +155. Upping Strider’s total to 9+ raises the odds to +210.
For the series, the Phillies have been averaging 9.3 strikeouts per game. Strider has averaged 9.7 Ks a game against the Phillies in his career and for this season so far he has a 41.5% strikeout percentage. Slightly reducing that amount gives me a little room in case he has a little trouble one inning.
I’ve built in the same insurance with Covey. In the series, the Braves hitters have averaged 8.7 Ks/game. He’s averaging 9.0 K/9 innings. Since he’s making just his first start of the year, I erred on the side of caution.
By simply lowering the average numbers of the pitchers, I still get a +150 scenario. So, my 2-unit wager has the potential for a 3-unit profit.
Bets and Season Record
Pick: SGP of Dylan Covey +4/Spencer Strider +8 strikeouts +150 2 UNITS
Run Line: 2-2 (+4 units)
O/U: 5-5 (+1 units)
Money Line: 4-2 (+1 units)
Prop Bets: 1-2 (0 units)
Up 10 units (+$1000)