The Philadelphia Phillies made upgrading the bullpen a priority in the offseason – and those moves are already paying off.
The Phillies look to build off their season-opening victory over Atlanta as they host the Braves in the second of a three-game series Saturday afternoon. Philadelphia got 3 1/3 scoreless innings from a quartet of relievers to give the lineup a chance to win, and it came through on Jean Segura's 10th-inning RBI single in a 3-2 triumph over Atlanta.
Can the Phillies repeat the feat? We preview Saturday's Braves-Phillies matchup, which gets underway at 4:05 pm ET.
Braves vs Phillies odds
MLB sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
This game opened as a -108 pick 'em Friday night at FanDuel, and the moneyline shifted as far as Philadelphia -116, then Atlanta -124 by late this morning. As of 2 p.m. ET, the Braves are a slim -110 favorite, while taking 66 percent of bets and 70 percent of money. The total opened at 8.5 (Under -128) and is down a full run to 7.5 (Over -118), although the Over is seeing 62 percent of bets/61 percent of cash.Check out the full line movement for this game
Braves vs Phillies betting preview
Charlie Morton (2020: 2-2, 4.74 ERA): The Braves are taking a $15 million chance that Morton still has something left at age 37. Morton, who returns to the team that launched his MLB career in 2008, struggled to his worst ERA since 2015 while posting a 1.39 WHIP with the Tampa Bay Rays last season after racking up 16 wins and 240 strikeouts in 2019.
Zack Wheeler (2020: 4-2, 2.92 ERA): Wheeler finally reached the potential the New York Mets had hoped to coax out of him. Unfortunately, it came in his first season with a division rival. Wheeler had just 53 strikeouts over 71 innings but used pinpoint control to help limit opponents to a sparkling .254 OBA over his 11 starts in the shortened 2020 season.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Braves: SP Mike Soroka (Out), SP Touki Toussaint (Out)
Phillies: CF Adam Haseley (Questionable), RP Seranthony Dominguez (Out)
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
Braves are 8-3 in their last 11 games following a loss. Find more MLB betting trends for Braves vs. Phillies.
These teams boast high-powered offenses – but we didn't see many fireworks in the season opener. You can expect things to loosen up considerably in Saturday's rematch, as both pitchers have struggled to contain the opposing lineups.
Let's start with Morton, who has fared better against the opposition lineup than Wheeler but might still find himself in trouble. Bryce Harper is a sizzling 6 for 10 with a homer lifetime vs. Morton, while Didi Gregorius (6 for 22, 2 RBIs, 2 BBs) and Jean Segura (two home runs in 46 at-bats) have also fared well against the veteran righty.
That all said, we trust the Braves more in this one. Wheeler has allowed a .284/.345/.499 slash line to current members of the Atlanta roster. Freddie Freeman (17-for-35, 2 HRs, 7 RBIs, 13 BBs) has been one of Wheelers' biggest career nemeses, while Ronald Acuna (6-for-19, 2 HRs) has also been a proverbial thorn in his side.
In a game that should feature more offense than the opener, we like the Braves to come out on top.
PREDICTION: Atlanta (-115)
We probably don't need to spend much time here, given how we rambled on in the above section about how both teams should show a little more pop in their second meeting of 2021. Thursday's game was a low-scoring affair in part due to some bad luck from both teams, as the Braves and Phillies combined to go 4-for-22 with runners in scoring position.
That pattern carries over from last year, when the teams ranked 28th and 29th, respectively, in average runners left in scoring position per game. But that feels more like a blip when you look at the star power both teams possess – and with both pitchers having shown vulnerability to opposing hitters, it might not matter how many runners are left on second and third base here.
This has the makings of a matinee slugfest at Citizens Bank Park.
PREDICTION: Over 8 (-110)
Braves vs Phillies betting card
- Atlanta (-115)
- Over 8 (-110)
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