Phillies vs Braves Picks and Predictions: Wheeler on the Mound Keeps on Turnin'

A starting pitching mismatch is a primary reason to like Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies tonight against the Atlanta Braves. Philly loves mashing left-handed pitching and Atlanta rookie Tucker Davidson hasn't proven consistent at silencing bats.

Last Updated: May 23, 2022 10:24 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Zack Wheeler Philadelphia Phillies MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies and Braves meet for a four-game series in Atlanta that could potentially break their tie in the middle of the NL East standings.

The Braves have been mired in a World Series slump after taking home the sport’s greatest prize last fall. They recently took two of three games from the Marlins.

Meanwhile, the Phillies lost back-to-back series against NL West teams and will look to rebound against a familiar divisional opponent.

Check out our free MLB picks and predictions for Phillies vs. Braves on Monday, May 23.

Phillies vs Braves odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Phillies opened at -105 but have taken some money, moving the line in their direction by the time of this writing. Current pricing lists the Phillies between -127 and -135 depending on the book. The total hasn’t moved since opening at 8.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Phillies vs Braves predictions

Picks made on 5/23/2022 at 8:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Phillies vs Braves game info

Location: Truist Park, Atlanta, GA
Date: Monday, May 23, 2022
First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia, Bally Sports Southeast

Phillies vs Braves betting preview

Starting pitchers

Zack Wheeler (2-3, 3.49 ERA): Wheeler has been stellar since joining Philadelphia, evidenced by a 2.92 ERA in 2020 and a 2.78 ERA in 2021. He’s off to another good start, and his peripherals indicate he may have experienced a bit of bad luck that is blemishing his primary numbers. His 2.99 xERA is well below his 3.49 actual ERA, and his 2.66 FIP is excellent. His 3.2% barrel rate ranks 13th among qualified starting pitchers, so he’s done a good job of limiting hard contact.

Tucker Davidson (1-0, 5.87 ERA): The youngster doesn’t have a ton of data to work with given that this will be just his seventh start in the big leagues. Across his first six starts in the MLB, he’s gone 1-0 with a 4.60 ERA and 5.06 FIP. He’s had two appearances this year and they’ve had very opposite results. In the first, he was blasted for five earned runs in 2 2-3 innings against the Washington Nationals. In the second, he twirled five scoreless innings to earn the win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Phillies: Didi Gregorius SS (Out), Mickey Moniak CF (Out), Rafael Alejandro Marchan C (Out), Ryan Sherriff RP (Out), Sam Coonrod RP (Out), Kent Emanuel RP (Out), JoJo Romero RP (Out).
Braves: Eddie Rosario LF (Out), Manny Pina C (Out), Tyler Matzek RP (Out), Kirby Yates RP (Out), Luke Jackson RP (Out), Jay Jackson RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Phillies are 4-1 in their last five road games. Find more MLB betting trends for Phillies vs. Braves

Phillies vs Braves picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

The Phillies have managed to outscore their last 10 opponents by one run despite facing some difficult series in that stretch (Dodgers twice, Padres once). It wasn’t always easy, so give credit to Philadelphia for taking four of seven total games from the Dodgers.

Call it a World Series hangover if you wish, but the simple fact is the Braves haven’t been performing well to start the season. This is a very talented ballclub that should be aided by the return of star Ronald Acuna Jr. to the fold, but the results have not yet been there on the field. Atlanta’s offense ranks 18th in runs per game, 24th in batting average, and 15th in OPS. They strike out more than any team in the league.

Philadelphia has had more success at the plate. Joe Girardi’s club ranks 10th in runs per game, fifth in batting average, and eighth in OPS. They’ve been great against lefties, hitting .253 (sixth in the MLB) while mashing 17 home runs against southpaws (second).

The above numbers are a welcome sign for Philadelphia bettors against a young left-hander like Tucker Davidson who hasn't looked especially sharp across his small sample size of MLB results.

Zack Wheeler and his 3.2% barrel rate give the Phillies a substantial starting pitching edge, especially when you factor in how well Philadelphia hits left-handers. Wheeler also looks fully recovered from shoulder soreness that delayed the start of his season as he's completed seven innings in two of his last three starts. Additionally, he's had three scoreless outings in his last four.

As long as the bullpen holds up (4.06 ERA), the Phillies are the side.

Prediction: Phillies moneyline (-127 at WynnBET)

Over/Under analysis

There isn’t much margin for error in the numbers when evaluating this total, but I have a slight lean toward the Over.

The Phillies mash left-handed pitching, ranking third in OPS and fourth in wOBA against southpaws. I see a clear path toward them contributing toward this Over.

Wheeler is a difficult starting pitcher for opponents, and he’s a big part of the reason the Phillies are my recommended moneyline side. The Braves do have a talented lineup, though, and are 22-16-3 to the Over despite performing well below their abilities.

Anytime you handicap a Phillies total, it must be mentioned that they have one of the worst bullpens in the majors. The 4.06 ERA in relief isn’t pretty, but the 1.42 WHIP is even worse.

Prediction: Over 8 (-105 at FanDuel)

Best bet

I’m targeting the Phillies as my best bet tonight.

I like Philadelphia in this spot due to its impressive numbers against left-handed pitching. Plus, Wheeler brings a consistent, veteran presence to the mound and he gives the Phillies a significant advantage in the starting pitching department.

Narrowing it down to the first five innings isn’t a bad idea, but I take issue with the line (-145 or similar at most books). Therefore, I’ll use the full game moneyline that can be had for nearly twenty cents cheaper.

Pick: Phillies moneyline (-127 at WynnBET)

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