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Matt Zylbert is back after another winner to give us his play for Braves vs. Phillies on Thursday

Braves vs. Phillies Prediction

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Over/Under: 8

First pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Ian Anderson (4-3, 3.64 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (4-3, 2.51 ERA)

Braves vs. Phillies

Shockingly, Wheeler has never made an All-Star team in his career, though the reason for his lack of a breakout prior to last season as an ace-caliber pitcher was really more so because of severe injuries.

That’s clearly about to change. Wheeler looks to be on track toward his first trip to the Midsummer Classic, serving as the Phils’ best arm a third of the way through.

Entering today’s 13th start of the year, Wheeler is honing career-best numbers across the board, registering the lowest marks he’s ever had in ERA (2.51), WHIP (0.94 WHIP), batting average against (.200), strikeout rate (10.93 K/9) and K/BB (5.55) if the season was already finished.

The nine-year veteran is obviously having a special campaign and we’re catching him at the right time, too. Wheeler has arguably never been hotter, recently stringing together his first ever trio of consecutive games with double-digit K’s.

While Wheeler lost that streak in his last turn, he still shined once again, pitching into the eighth inning while holding the Washington Nationals to two runs and striking out eight. Across his four prior outings, Wheeler crafted an absurd 44-4 K/BB ratio, marking he’s indeed locked in.

Another former first-round draft pick will take the mound opposite Wheeler, and although he’s not nearly in the same rhythm entering this assignment as his counterpart, Anderson can still be reliable.

The 23-year-old is coming off back-to-back starts that saw him allow four runs apiece, his first times even yielding more than three runs in any outing since first surfacing in the Major Leagues last year.

Including playoffs, that was a span of 19 straight dates giving up three runs or less. Having watched Anderson, he’s been impressive enough to let that slide, especially since he wasn’t even bad in those two most recent turns. For instance, while he couldn’t escape the fifth against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the defending champs managed just one hit against him.

Both starters met today’s offenses twice earlier this season — in their first two outings of the year, in fact — and they each followed the same pattern: throw an absolute gem in the first matchup before succumbing to some damage the second time around. However, that’s reasonable to happen to anyone, let alone two quality pitchers, when batters just saw your stuff.

Fortunately here, it’s been two months since these hitters saw the pair of probables. As a result, I think we can get something more in line with the output of the first meetings, meaning that would figure to dictate a lower-scoring outcome.

MLB Picks - Braves vs. Phillies

Pick: UNDER 8 @ -120

MLB Leans

Mariners-Tigers Under 9.5

Astros-Red Sox Over 9

Rockies-Marlins Under 7.5

Yankees-Twins Over 11

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “36-28-3,” +4.26 units

Yesterday’s Result: Giants-Rangers Under 8 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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