Phillies Betting Preview: No fireworks in Tampa Bay

The Phillies know how to bring frustration to a whole other level. In Sunday’s Phillies Betting Preview, I made my very first 10-unit wager on the Phillies moneyline win of -225. All of the trends pointed in the Phillies’ direction and after 2 first inning bombs by Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto, they had a 3-0 lead. Suarez was cruising and then hit a hiccup, giving up four runs in the third and one more in the fifth. The Phils’ bullpen was solid and the offensive chipped away, getting back a run in the 7th. But 8 stranded base runners foiled their comeback and my first big unit play. Back to the grind.

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Phillies (+120) vs. Rays (-140) O/U 8.0

Philadelphia embarks on a six-game road trip to the Sunshine State, playing three games in Tampa Bay before heading to Miami to take on their NL East foes, the Marlins. The first pitch for the Fourth of July special is 4:10 p.m.

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Phillies Pitching and Batting

The venerable RHP Aaron Nola (7-5 4.51) is making his 18th start of the 2023 season. While he’s just about average in terms of the Major Leagues, for Nola is most definitely a down year. His 4.51 ERA is almost a full run higher than his career 3.60. All of his metrics have gone in a negative way.

His last five outings are a microcosm of the season, as he’s 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He’s given up five homers during this span, 17 for the season. Five games ago, he tied his career-high for strikeouts with 12 against the Detroit Tigers. Last Wednesday against the Cubs, he could only muster four.

Philadelphia’s offense shows the occasional glimpse of power, witnessed this past Saturday when they hung a 19-spot on the Nationals. However, taking that outlier from their last 10 games, the Phillies are only averaging 4.3 runs/game. That’s all right when your pitching is only allowing 3.4 runs/game themselves, but it doesn’t give you much room for error. Over the last 10, including the 19-run eruption, Philadelphia has a team batting average of .266, an OPS of .790, and 35 of the 91 hits have gone for extra bases.

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Rays Pitching and Batting

Tampa Bay’s RHP Zach Eflin (9-3 3.29) makes his first start against his former club. His front-page stats are backed up by very impressive peripheral metrics. His WHIP of 1.03 is much lower than his career of 1.30. The same story goes for Ks/9, with this season being 9.1 and only 7.7 in the seven years prior to this one.

His five-game totals have been decent as well. While his record was only .500 at 2-2, his ERA was 3.26, his FIP was 2.60, he had 34 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched, and had a WHIP of 1.099. What makes this even scarier is his BABIP was .304, which means hitters got a little lucky against him. Those stats could have very easily been much better.

While they are only 5-5 in their last 10 games, it’s not the fault of the offense, which averaged exactly 6 runs per contest. They hit .267 as a team and had a .755 OPS. They scored new fewer than three runs, which they did three times.

The Wager

Philadelphia has not beaten Tampa Bay since 2018 and leads the all-time series 22-12 (although Philadelphia won the most important series of all, beating the Rays four games to one in the 2008 World Series). Tampa Bay at -140 just seems a little low. I’m taking the Rays for 3 units.

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I am, however, focusing on some prop bets as well. The first is Bryce Harper over 1.5 total bases at +110. Harper is 5-for-9 lifetime against Eflin, with two doubles. I’ve also keyed in of Eflin’s strikeout total of 5.5. DraftKings has the price at -105, whereas BetMGM has it at +100. I’m taking each prop bet for 1 unit to get the Phillies Betting Preview back on the winning track.

Bets and Season Record

Pick: Tampa Bay -140 3 units

Prop: Zach Eflin over 4.5 strikeouts +100 1 unit

Prop: Bryce Harper over 1.5 total bases +110 1 unit


Season Record:

Up 6.5 units (+$650)


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Joey House, Philadephia Editor
Joey House, Philadephia Editor
Sports have always been a part of Joey's life. He grew up in a Penn State household and became a Phillies and Eagles fan the same year, 1980. Not just because of their runs to their championship games, but because all his friends were either Harold Carmichael or Pete Rose on the playground. Gambling came later, as he was anointed with the moniker "House" because he ran all of the gambling and poker operations on his Navy ship. Now he brings over 25 years of gambling activity, both from the bettor's and "bookies" perspective, to help you maximise both your financial and entertainment returns.

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