Throughout the season, I’ll dabble in game-by-game betting breakdowns. Let’s dig into the MLB betting market for the first of a four-game series between the Dodgers and Phillies.
MLB Betting: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Make no mistake about Zack Wheeler. He’s scuffled in his first five starts of the 2022 campaign.
The 31-year-old righty owns a 4.06 ERA with his velocity dipping 1.7 points on his fastball (95.8 mph), along with his other four pitches. Albeit a small sample size, Wheeler’s strikeout rate is down 6.7 percentage points as a result. His opponent’s expected batting average (xBA) is also in the 56th percentile, which ranks slightly above the league average.
Couple that with a Dodgers’ lineup that’s delivered MLB’s second-highest hard-hit rate against right-handed pitching, and the Phillies could be forced to turn to their inconsistent bullpen early on.
Phillies Still Undervalued?
There are signs pointing to positive regression for Wheeler, though. For one, his 3.09 FIP and 3.06 xERA are both nearly a full point lower than his aforementioned ERA, which rarely tells the story of a pitcher’s trajectory.
Plus, Los Angeles’ bats own the fourth-lowest efficiency versus four-seam fastballs (via FanGraphs) — Wheeler’s primary pitch type. They rank No. 20 against sinkers, too, and that’s his second-most utilized pitch.
On the flip side, Dodgers southpaw Tyler Anderson will be up against a Philadelphia offense that boasts the 12th-highest wRC+ versus lefties. Bryce Harper & Co. have even manufactured their fair share of success against four-seam fastballs, changeups and cutters, representing the bulk of Anderson’s arsenal.
In a buy-low spot, let’s back the Phillies to tally their third win in their last four games.
Best Available Line: Check our MLB odds board
Eli’s MLB Betting Pick: