Today’s play of the day is a battle between two NL East rivals. The road team has been one of the hottest teams in baseball and has locked up a playoff berth. The home team has had a winning season, but due to some inconsistency, they find themselves on the outside looking in at the National League’s final wild-card spot. These two teams will play seven of their next nine games against each other. The current line for this contest appears to present value on both sides. There is an easy lean based on teams involved, but yet a different lean based on the starting pitching options. Let’s dig deep into our analysis to uncover which team is the smart play.
Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies
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Atlanta has been on fire recently, and the Braves have won 17 of their last 20 contests. They are racing to the postseason and appear to be in top form. If they can keep up their play to close out the season, they could upset what looks like it will be the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS. Buoyed by some unexpectedly strong starting pitching, the Braves sit at an excellent 89-55 on the season. Atlanta’s 42 road wins are first in the National League. In fact, their 42 wins on the road are more than the Phillies have at home (41). The Braves have scored an elite 5.36 runs per game this season.
Philadelphia has flashed at times this season. They have been more impressive than many had pegged them to be coming into the season. They sit six games over .500, but also 14 games behind Atlanta at 74-68. The Phillies have scored 4.91 runs per game but have a -1 run differential on the season. Philadelphia has a 41-31 record at home, and they have won five of their last eight contests. That said, Atlanta holds the edge in the team form department.
The Atlanta Braves will be sending the sometimes erratic Mike Foltynewicz to toe the rubber. Philadelphia will be countering with ace Aaron Nola. Foltynewicz has a 5-5 record on the season but is saddled with a 5.28 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. He has actually been a tad better on the road this season, where he holds a 5.20 ERA with a 1.30 WHIP. He has been much better since the All-Star break, as Foltynewicz has a 3.31 ERA and 1.41 WHIP since then. He pitched six innings of one-run ball in his lone start against the Phillies this season. He has allowed three runs or less in 11 of his 17 starts. Atlanta has won his last nine starts.
Aaron Nola will get the call for the Philadelphia Phillies. He has turned his season around in a major way after a disastrous April and now sits with a 12-4 record, a 3.63 ERA and 1.23 WHIP, and 200 strikeouts in 178.2 innings. Much better at home this season, Nola has a 2.85 ERA and 1.20 WHIP at Citizens Bank Park. Nola has made four starts against the Braves this season. He holds a 3-0 record with a 3.60 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. Nola has struck out 28 in 25 innings of work. He has allowed three runs or less in 22 of his 30 starts. Philadelphia has won nine of his last 14 starts. Philadelphia holds the edge in the pitcher form arena.
There are some intriguing trends for this contest:
- They have won their last five road contests against teams with winning records.
- They have won eight of their last nine road contests against teams with winning records.
- They have won five of their last seven series openers.
- They have won 45 of their last 66 contests against right-handed starting pitchers.
- They have won four of their last five Monday starts.
- They have won five of their last seven home contests against teams with a road winning percentage above .600.
- They have won five of their last seven games against right-handed starting pitchers.
- They have won 43 of their last 64 contests against starting pitchers with a WHIP above 1.30.
- They have lost five of their last seven contests against teams with a winning percentage above .600.
- Atlanta has won his last five road starts.
- Atlanta has won his last five road starts against teams with winning records
- Atlanta has won his previous nine starts.
- Atlanta has won 13 of his last 16 starts against the NL East.
- Atlanta has lost six of his last eight Monday starts.
- Philadelphia has won four of his last five starts against teams with winning records.
- Philadelphia has won 30 of his last 42 starts.
- Philadelphia has won 14 of his last 20 home starts against teams with winning records.
- Philadelphia has lost five of his last seven Monday starts.
- Philadelphia has lost his last four starts on four days of rest.
Edge: Atlanta Braves
The line for this contest has already started to move. It opened at -130 and has already moved to -136, and to -140 at PointsBet. The early money suggests that despite the Braves’ scorching play recently, the value in this contest lies with Philadelphia and ace Aaron Nola. This is a contest that not even our analysis could find a definitive lean for.
Something has to give. Both of these pitchers have been very effective against their current opponent. The Phillies have won Aaron Nola’s last five starts against Atlanta. They have also won his last five home starts against them. Philadelphia has won six of their last eight home games against the Braves. On the other hand, Atlanta has won four of the previous five meetings between these two teams. The Braves have won Mike Foltynewicz’ last five starts against Philadelphia.
Ultimately the decision comes down to taking the better pitcher in a home start, or the better team playing on the road with an inferior starter on the mound. The Braves would likely be both the play and the betting favorite if any other pitcher were taking the mound for the Phillies. With it being Aaron Nola, Philadelphia is the play.