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Matt Zylbert breaks down Friday's Phillies vs. Braves game

Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies Prediction: MLB Over/Under Picks

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 7:05 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Max Fried (7-5, 4.29 ERA) vs. Zack Wheeler (7-5, 2.44 ERA)

Braves vs. Phillies Prediction

The linesmakers are being real harsh here, hanging an infrequent 7.5 from a hitter-friendly venue like Citizens Bank Park. Understandably so, though, given the nature of this premium pitching matchup.

Despite the small total, there’s a lot to like about the under. First, we have Zack Wheeler, who was so excellent in the first half that he deserved All-Star starting honors after Jacob deGrom bowed out.

Wheeler was not rewarded with that gig but he’s been as good as any pitcher in baseball not named deGrom. And he’s truly not that far off his former teammate.

The nine-year veteran ranks in the top 10 among all qualified Major League starters in ERA (2.44) and WHIP (0.99), nlt to mention he’s racked up the second-most K’s. Wheeler is clearly proving he’s an ace.

We’ll actually get said ace in a favorable assignment despite the quality of opponent. Freddie Freeman and Ronald Acuna Jr. both have had a lot of success against Wheeler but the latter is out for the year. Meanwhile, the rest of the main-core hitters (Ozzie Albies, Joc Pederson, Dansby Swanson and Austin Riley) are collectively hitting just .145 (11-for-76) with 20 punch-outs off Wheeler lifetime.

As you’d expect, the right-hander hones a successful track record when squaring off with his hometown team. In 19 career meetings, spanning 117 innings, Wheeler holds a 3.38 ERA while inking 8.62 K/9.

Another decisive reason why the books have elected to go low on this over/under has to do with the other starter of thus affair, Fried, who is clearly trending back up after being mired with a 5.12 ERA prior.

That was the number next to Fried’s name following the start of June, though that could be blamed on injuries. Predictably, the 27-year-old’s turned it around, stringing together six good outings in seven tries since a rough outing on June 1.

Fried is also coming off one of sharpest performances of the campaign, when he blanked the first-place Rays for seven shutout frames and punched out seven.

That is the southpaw in prime form and I believe he’s in rhythm to enable him continuing that. Plus, he’ll be taking on an offense that strikes out a pretty unhealthy amount when facing left-handed pitching.

At least one of these starters will churn out a gem. The other figures to keep it close enough, pointing to a lower score. 

MLB Picks: Braves vs. Phillies

Pick: UNDER 7.5 (-105)

MLB Leans

Blue Jays-Mets Under 8.5

Rangers-Astros Under 9

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “52-44-7,” +2.25 units

Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Tigers Under 5 F5 (loss)

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


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