The Philadelphia Phillies continue to roll following their Game 1 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks to kick off the NLCS. They did so, once again, with the long ball and a strong starting pitching performance, shortening their World Series odds in the process.
The Phillies will turn to Aaron Nola for Game 2 tonight as the D-backs answer with Merrill Kelly. MLB odds have the home Phillies listed as the betting favorites with an opportunity to go up 2-0.
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Diamondbacks vs Phillies Game 2 odds
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Diamondbacks vs Phillies predictions
Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola had a rocky 2023 season, posting a 4.46 ERA across 32 starts and 193 2/3 innings. He allowed home runs at a higher clip than he ever has and watched his strikeout pitch evaporate.
And yet, he's being undervalued. Yes, I know the 4.46 ERA is ugly for a guy who is supposed to be a co-ace to Zack Wheeler, but there is reason to be optimistic. For one, the durability and length remains. Despite his struggles, Nola was still able to be relied upon to take the mound every fifth day all season long. He completed five innings in 27 of his 32 starts and recorded at least one out in the sixth inning 24 times.
The only time he threw fewer than 80 pitches was in his first start of the season against a dangerous Texas Rangers team while he was still getting warmed up.
Shifting gears to the postseason, Nola has allowed just two runs (no home runs) in 12 2/3 innings in starts against the Marlins and Braves. He was thoroughly dominant against Miami and successfully navigated Atlanta's fearsome lineup over 5 2/3 innings in a 10-2 victory. Tonight's opposition, the Arizona Diamondbacks, has more in common with the Marlins than the Braves in terms of offense.
The Diamondbacks ranked tied for 22nd in baseball (with, you guessed it, the Marlins) with 166 home runs in the regular season. They fared a bit better in team OPS at .730 (17th in MLB), but outside of eventual NL Rookie of the Year Corbin Carroll, there aren't many scary bats to speak of.
Nola also fared far better at Citizens Bank Park than he did away from it. In 14 starts in front of the Philly faithful, Nola went 6-3 with a 3.29 ERA, a 0.97 WHIP, and 10 strikeouts per nine innings. Oh, and he only failed to record an out in the sixth inning in two of those 14 home starts.
His outs recorded prop is set at 15.5. He's been efficient, issuing just two walks this postseason, as he's looked more like his old self in October. Additionally, the Phillies have leaned heavily on Wheeler and Nola so far, deploying both like traditional starters in an age when teams are pulling them after a couple of innings.
With so much on the line against a light-hitting Diamondbacks team, Nola will pitch deep enough to cash the Over on his prop. And I'd much rather go with the outs than strikeouts because Arizona, despite not boasting a lot of power, makes a lot of contact.
My best bet: Aaron Nola Over 15.5 outs recorded (-120 at bet365)
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Diamondbacks vs Phillies same-game parlay
Aaron Nola Over 15.5 outs recorded
Merrill Kelly Over 3.5 hits allowed
Bryce Harper 2+ total bases
In addition to Nola pitching deep into this game, I like D-backs starter Merrill Kelly to get hit around a bit. Look, Kelly had a great season, boasting a 3.29 ERA over 30 starts, but this Phillies team is firing on all cylinders. Kelly traditionally pitches to contact and Philadelphia will make him pay to the tune of at least four hits tonight.
Using bet365's milestone prop, I'm adding Bryce Harper to get 2+ bases as the primary culprit. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is place too much faith in small sample-size theater. Harper is 1-for-5 in his career against Kelly. That tells us nothing. Harper's resume to date (.409/.567/.955 with four home runs in seven games this postseason) tells us far more.
Adding the Phillies moneyline, a correlated play with Nola pitching well and Harper & Co. getting to Kelly, bumps this SGP up from +600 to +800. Let's roll with the home squad.
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Diamondbacks vs Phillies moneyline and Over/Under analysis
The Phillies opened as long as -148 on the moneyline before being bet up to -170 or shorter by the time of this writing.
The Phillies have yet to lose at Citizens Bank Park this postseason, winning by two or more runs in all five home games so far. And while the matchup between Nola and Kelly might seem closer on paper thanks to their regular season performances, the Philadelphia offense is much stronger.
And while it's not quantifiable, the home crowd in Philly is one of the loudest baseball has seen in a dog's age. It's a great atmosphere if you're the Phillies. Less so if you're a hostile visitor.
The betting public seems to agree, too, with 73% of bets coming in on the home side, according to our Covers Consensus page.
The total opened at 8.0 and has actually dropped to 7.5 across the industry by the time of this writing. You can find -110 for either the Over or Under, but you'll need to shop around. I'm not taking a side in this. As bullish as I am on Nola, he can be prone to blow-ups if things aren't going smoothly and the Philly lineup is among the most dangerous. That said, both Nola and Kelly could spin gems. Buyer beware.
Trend to know
The Phillies have gone over their first five innings (F5) team total in 26 of their last 39 games at home (+11.78 units / 26% ROI). Find more MLB betting trends for Diamondbacks vs. Phillies
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Diamondbacks vs Phillies game info
|Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
|Tuesday, October 17, 2023
|8:07 p.m. ET
Merrill Kelly (1-0, 0.00 ERA): Kelly has been a solid addition to this rotation for a couple of seasons and feels somewhat underappreciated as a workhorse No. 2. He had a spotty couple of seasons to start his D-backs tenure but has gone 25-16 with a 3.33 ERA since the start of 2022.
Aaron Nola (2-0, 1.42 ERA): The longtime Phillies hurler is potentially nearing the end of his time with the club as he's set to hit free agency following the postseason. It's worth remembering that even though 2023 was not his best year, he did finish fourth in Cy Young voting just last season.
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