After sweeping yesterday's doubleheader, the Atlanta Braves shot up the standings and have a chance to take three straight from their NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies, on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
Baseball is hard enough to forecast day-to-day, much less off such a quick two-game stretch, much less during a 60-game, shortened schedule. Will Philly feel refreshed after another trip around the sun, or can Atlanta keep the momentum going?
In abe Insights' preview, get a better feel for this matchup from a betting perspective, with the best odds available across all major sportsbooks, analysis of how wagers should trend around those lines, and other information such as advanced stats you'll want to take into account before deciding your bet.
Date: Monday, August 10
Time: 6:05 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports 1
Implied Probabilities: Braves 43%; Phillies 60%
Spread: ATL +1.5 (-148); PHI -1.5 (+135)
Moneyline: ATL +140; PHI -146
Southpaw Sean Newcomb is on the hill to start for Atlanta against the Phillies' Aaron Nola. The Braves are probably going to need to hit like they did Sunday to optimize their chances of winning, because Newcomb has a 6.57 ERA in three starts thus far.
Nola did well under adverse circumstances last year, but didn't quite follow up his 17 wins from 2018 like he'd want to. He's been decent in two 2020 starts, yielding five earned runs in 11.1 innings of work. Given the starting pitcher personnel, we could be in for a shootout.
20.5 vs. 9.9: Granted, it's a smaller sample size for the Phillies, yet they're giving up the second-highest percentage of fly balls that result in homers. Atlanta is much better in this department, ranking in the bottom-four in baseball.
28.3 vs. 17.2: The Braves have a greater total in this stat duel, but it's not of the advantageous variety. They have the third-highest strikeout percentage in MLB, whereas Philadelphia actually has the lowest rate as of this writing.
4.65 vs. 3.75: Where Atlanta could gain the edge in this one is with its bullpen. The visitors' relievers have the ninth-best Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) mark in MLB, and the Phillies' higher mark is 23rd out of 30 teams.
Both of Sunday's contests were limited to seven innings, per MLB rules, and the Braves scored 13 runs in 14 innings en route to 5-2 and 8-0 victories. That's nigh as dominant as it gets, particularly on the road — albeit, of course, without the notoriously unfriendly Philly fans in attendance.
Braves phenom Ronald Acuna Jr. swatted three homers during the doubleheader, which brought his season dinger total to four and helped snap him out of a funk at the dish. If Acuna continues to warm up and catalyze the Braves' lineup, they're going to be even scarier going forward. They're already an 11-6 ball club entering Monday.
It's been an admittedly strange odyssey for the Phillies in 2020. After their series against Miami, they were forced to quarantine and postpone games due to the Marlins sustaining a COVID-19 outbreak. They've played only 10 games thus far, and were .500 before Sunday in spite of everything.
But this is right where someone like Bryce Harper needs to deliver. He signed an utterly crazy, $330 million contract before the 2019 campaign, and flat-out hasn't lived up to the hype. To make matters worse, Philly missed the playoffs, while Harper's former team, the Nationals, won the World Series last postseason.
The playoff field has expanded to 16 for this year. Harper and the Phillies still have numerous games in hand to make up ground in the National League. They won the opener in this series versus Atlanta 5-0, and Harper had two hits and scored once. Alas, he had two of the combined eight hits the team managed in the next two games.
According to TeamRankings.com, Philadelphia has a 3-5-2 record hitting the Under run total; the Braves own a 10-7 mark in the same area. Thus, expect wagers to trend that way, despite the somewhat uninspiring pitching matchup.
When it comes to moneyline and run line, the odds are close enough that hedging isn't as sound of a strategy despite the decent gap in implied probability. Look for the Phillies spread to get more action due to the higher profit margin, but the Braves' moneyline is bound to get the most handle due to their superior form of late.
Note: Odds current as of 1:40 p.m. ET on Monday, August 10.
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