This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
First, I want to update the Situational Super System I detailed on May 15. This system has earned a 42-14 record averaging a –150 favorite and earning the $100 bettor a sizable profit of $2,350 over the past five seasons. For the 2023 season, it has had two betting opportunities going 1-1 averaging a –122 wager resulting in the $100 bettor losing $27. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed @JohnRyanSports for updates to this system and many more sports betting analytics that can help make you a more astute bettor.
Check out everything RotoWire has related to Pennsylvania sports betting, including the BetMGM bonus code which gets new customers a $1,000 first bet offer. BetMGM is one of several sportsbooks that accept credit card along with being one of the best Paypal betting sites.
Can the Phillies Get Back into the NL East Race?
The MLB schedule makers certainly got this NL East matchup right by scheduling it over the Memorial Day weekend. This is the first meeting between these rivals since the Phillies defeated the Braves in the NL Divisional Series last season. The Braves won 101 games last season but were eliminated by the 87-win wild-card Phillies three games to one.
The teams find themselves in similar positions in the current standings with the Braves leading the NL East on a 30-19 record while the Phillies are a distant fourth with a 23-26 record and trailing the Braves by seven games. So, this four-game series takes on far greater importance for the Phillies to come away with at least two wins.
The Phillies limp into this series winners of just three of their last 10 games and eight of their last 20 games. The Braves have been treading water with a flat 5-5 record over their last 10 games and 11-9 over their last 20 games. The betting market has been steadily discounting the Phillies' betting lines since the start of the season and now they represent excellent value.
Aaron Nola is Rounding into Top Form
After a slow start to the season, Aaron Nola, is pitching his best ball of the season now. Over his last three starts, he has posted a 3.60 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP with just four walks allowed while striking out 20 batters spanning 20 innings of work. He led MLB in the performance category strikeouts-to-walks ratio and is well on his way to becoming a repeat leader. For the season, he has walked 13 batters while fanning 53 over 62 2/3 innings of work.
Looking at the Statcast data, Nola has posted a solid 88.1 MPH exit velocity, just 34.6% hard-hit percentage, and a paltry 5.2% walk percentage on the season. These performance measures match quite well with the Braves starter Dylan Dodd, who has allowed a 91.4 MPH average exit velocity, a horrid 44% hard-hit percentage, and striking out only 10% of the batters he has faced this season.
Nola features an excellent fastball despite averaging 92 MPH because of the heaving late-breaking sinking action that rides in on the hands of right-handed batters. The results are batter whiffs and weakly hit ground balls. He then has an outstanding curveball that he throws out of the same arm slot as the fastball. So, his fastball backs right-handed hitters off the plate and then he gets them just trying to make contact on a pitch that is thrown low and away in the strikeout. Most impressive of his stats is that batters have been able to 'barrel-up' just 8.2% of batted balls.
Dodd is a three-pitch left-handed starter but has below-average spin rates with far less ball movement. Phillies hitters will look to attack his first pitch offering looking to drive it into the gaps. Batters have elected to hit to all fields when facing Dodd with 33% of hits being pulled, 32% straight up the middle, and 35% hit to the opposite field.
Bryson Stott had three hits in last night's game as the Phillies overcame a two-run deficit in the ninth inning to earn a walk-off 6-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Alec Bohm hit the walk-off single in the 10th inning providing much-needed momentum coming into this series against the Braves.
The Best Bets for this Weekend Series
For the first game of the series, I am betting on Aaron Nola Over 18.5 outs recorded with +110 juice at Caesars. The left-handed hitting Bryce Harper of the Phillies has struggled against left-handed starters, but he has steadily improved in recent weeks. I see nice value in betting on him to hit a home run +420 at FanDuel. Kyle Schwarber is tied with Brandon Marsh averaging 94.4 MPH exit velocity on batted balls in play. He is a home run hitter and averages a 19-degree launch angle, which is optimal for lifting the ball into the air and into the outfield stands. I am planning to bet Kyle Schwarber to hit a home run in today's game at +340 at FanDuel and again in the Friday matchup facing the left-handed Jared Schuster.
For the first game of the series, I am betting on the Phillies using the money line currently priced at –115 and also betting Over the Phillies team total of 4.5 runs –120.
I will post the Saturday and Sunday Player Props on my Twitter timeline at @JohnRyanSports1.