MLB Picks: NLCS Betting Odds and Best Bets for Phillies vs Padres

MLB Picks: NLCS Betting Odds and Best Bets for Phillies vs Padres

This article is part of our MLB Picks series.

MLB Playoff Picks: NLCS Betting Preview

In the regular season, the Phillies went 87-75, trailing the Braves by 14 games. The Padres went a similar 89-73, finishing 22 games back of the Dodgers. In the postseason, however, both teams dispatched their division rivals fairly comfortably, winning their respective division series by the same 3-1 margin. It wasn't long ago that neither team would have even qualified for the playoffs, and the Phillies would have been excluded as recently as last season, but we'll wind up seeing a matchup between the National League's fifth and sixth seeds in the first year of the new, 12-team playoff format. Below, you'll find the key stats and projected starters for what should be a closely-contested NLCS, followed by my picks for the series winner and series MVP as well as an alternate bet for those looking to bet on the opposite side.

NLCS Odds 

  • Padres -120
  • Phillies +105
  • Padres Win Series 4-0 (+1200)
  • Padres Win Series 4-1 (+650)
  • Padres Win Series 4-2 (+400)
  • Padres Win Series 4-3 (+450)
  • Phillies Win Series 4-0 (+1300)
  • Phillies Win Series 4-1 (+550)
  • Phillies Win Series 4-2 (+550)
  • Phillies Win Series 4-3 (+550)

Series odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook. Sign up at the DraftKings Sportsbook using RotoWire's DraftKings Promo Code for $200 in free bets. 

World Series Odds

  • Padres (+325, BetMGM)
  • Phillies (+360, DraftKings Sportsbook)

NLCS Key Stats






Team wRC+





     vs. RHP





     vs. LHP





Starter ERA-





Reliever ERA-





NLCS Projected Starters

RHP Zack Wheeler (2.82 ERA, 3.19 SIERA) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (3.10 ERA, 3.39 SIERA)

RHP Aaron Nola (3.25 ERA, 2.80 SIERA) vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (2.93 ERA, 3.45 SIERA)

LHP Ranger Suarez (3.65 ERA, 4.11 SIERA) vs. LHP Blake Snell (3.38 ERA, 3.20 SIERA)

RHP Noah Syndergaard (3.94 ERA, 4.39 SIERA) vs. RHP Mike Clevinger (4.33 ERA, 4.49 SIERA)

RHP Zack Wheeler (2.82 ERA, 3.19 SIERA) vs. RHP Yu Darvish (3.10 ERA, 3.39 SIERA)

RHP Aaron Nola (3.25 ERA, 2.80 SIERA) vs. RHP Joe Musgrove (2.93 ERA, 3.45 SIERA)

LHP Bailey Falter (3.86 ERA, 3.94 SIERA) vs. LHP Sean Manaea (4.96 ERA, 3.90 SIERA)

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NLCS Series Preview

The Key Stats table shown above indicates that neither of these teams was anything close to dominant over the course of the regular season, but both teams have conquered two opponents already this postseason using more or less the same formula: a few excellent frontline starters and a lineup that's getting hot at the right time, backed up by just enough trustworthy relievers. While success over the past six or seven games shouldn't dramatically alter our opinions of these two teams, it's fair to point out that these clubs look different than they did for much of the year. Bryce Harper missed multiple months due to injury, while Juan Soto and Josh Hader didn't arrive until the deadline.

Season-long team stats can also be misleading in that they include a large number of innings thrown by back-end starters and long relievers, pitchers who likely won't get anywhere near the mound in the playoffs. For the Phillies, that's meant they've been able to lean on the excellent Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola for 47 percent of their outs thus far, up from 25 percent during the regular season. Those twin aces have combined for a 1.08 ERA and 0.80 WHIP thus far, and the Phillies shouldn't be meaningful underdogs when either of them takes the hill.

The problem for the Phillies is that it's going to be tough to ask those two to continue handling nearly half of the available innings over the course of a seven-game series. The Padres, on the hand, have three starters they can feel very confident leaning on after Blake Snell improved from a 5.22 ERA in the first half to a 2.19 ERA in the second. Mike Clevinger's start may be an adventure, but their frontline arms won't be significantly outclassed against Wheeler and Nola, and the Padres should be clear favorites in Game 3, when one of their top starters will get to go against the merely good Ranger Suarez.

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NLCS Series Picks

Padres, -115 (BetMGM)

I expect the first two games in San Diego to go a long way towards determining the series winner, and I believe the Phillies have to take both of them to win. In the case of a split, we'll have effectively a five-game series starting with Game 3, with the Phillies set to get just two starts from trustworthy arms the rest of the way while the Padres will get four. San Diego would be clear favorites in that case, and they'll have the series all but locked up if they hit the road with a 2-0 lead. As the series stretches on, I'd also expect the cracks in the Phillies' bullpen to show up. The unit has a 4.15 ERA in the playoffs so far compared to 2.19 for the Padres, with the resurgence of Josh Hader turning what would have been a modest advantage in that area into a clear one. With the potential for five games in five days if the series goes the distance, the Phillies will be facing a different sort of task than they've faced thus far this postseason, and I'm not sure they're up to it.

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NLCS Series MVP Bets

Juan Soto, +1000 (DraftKings)

Over the past four years, all eight LCS MVPs have gone to hitters, so I'd all but rule out both pitching staffs in this category. A long-shot play on Trent Grisham (+3000) may appeal to some, but that places too much emphasis on his 1.328 OPS in seven playoff games and too little emphasis on his .626 OPS in 152 regular-season contests for my liking. The choice seems therefore to come down to Soto or Manny Machado (+950). While Machado has been the better performer this postseason, I'll side with Soto for three reasons. Most importantly, Machado's strong playoff performance has come with a 35.5 percent strikeout rate, casting doubts about its sustainability. Second, Soto hits lefty, meaning he'll get the platoon advantage against Wheeler and Nola. Finally, Soto will be much more familiar with the Phillies' pitchers from his years in the NL East as a member of the Nationals.

Alternate Series Bets 

Phillies 4-2, +550 (DraftKings)

While my primary pick above is to go with the Padres, this is how I'd bet on the Phillies if I wanted to look their way. While I don't think the Phillies ought to be massive underdogs in this series by any stretch, a payout of no better than +105 is simply not attractive enough for a team that should be at a definite disadvantage, even a small one. If they do manage to pull off the upset to become the third unheralded NL East team to win the pennant in the last four years, I expect it'll come in six games, so I'll shoot for the big payout here. The two paths to a Phillies victory that are easiest to imagine wind up with this result. Their most straightforward route involves them winning Wheeler and Nola's starts while dropping Games 3 and 4. They could also win in six by dropping one game started by that excellent duo while stealing one game started by someone else, as they did in the NLDS against Atlanta.

Visit RotoWire all season long for exclusive sports betting picks from our group of handicappers with their expert MLB picks each day of the campaign. Remember that betting apps vary in terms of odds and available MLB player props, so we have an easy-to-use MLB odds page that allows you to shop for the best lines at DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and PointsBet.

Before you place your bets, be sure to use all of RotoWire's MLB resources, like our MLB Lineups pageMLB Weather page, and the best batter vs. pitcher stats.

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Erik Halterman
Erik Halterman is the Features Editor for RotoWire. He also co-hosts RotoWire Fantasy Baseball on SiriusXM's MLB Network Radio.
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