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Astros vs. Phillies Game 4 Odds, Predictions: Bet on Nola, Javier to dominate

Recent trends suggest both starting pitchers will keep runs off the board in the early innings

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola delivers a pitch during a playoff game in San Diego last month. Nola is slated to start Game 4 of the World Series against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola delivers a pitch during a playoff game in San Diego last month. Nola is slated to start Game 4 of the World Series against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Read moreSean M. Haffey / Getty Images

Well, we were spot-on with our Astros vs. Phillies Game 3 prediction — that is, had we stuck with the initial bet we recommended Monday, when Game 3 was supposed to be played.

Instead, Monday’s game was rained out and the Phillies switched starting pitchers. So we switched our bet, from betting the first five innings Over the total and backing Houston on the moneyline Tuesday.

Boy, was that wrong. All kinds of wrong, from the bet itself to the suggestion that the Astros would tattoo Philadelphia starter Ranger Suarez for the second time in a month.

All Suarez did was twirl a gem and watch his offense belt five home runs on the way to a 7-0 victory at Citizens Bank Park.

Philadelphia now takes a 2-1 series lead into Wednesday Game 4 at Citizens Bank, where the Phillies are 6-0 this postseason. Will they keep that perfect record intact and inch closer to a world championship? Here’s how we’re attacking Game 4 of the World Series from a wagering perspective.

Note: Odds updated as of 11 a.m. ET on Nov. 2.

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Astros vs. Phillies Game 4 Prediction

  1. Under 3.5 runs (+100) first five innings (at BetMGM)

Astros vs. Phillies Game 4 Prediction: Analysis

This is a tough call. Real tough.

On one hand, you’ve got a team that simply refuses to lose on its home turf handing the ball to a starting pitcher who has been brilliant in his most recent performances on said turf.

On the other, you’ve got a starting pitcher who refuses to give up runs no matter where he throws — a pitcher whose team is 7-0 in his last seven outings.

Given those facts, the most prudent play from Game 4 of the Astros-Phillies World Series is the first five innings Under the total — even though we recognize it’s a difficult needle to thread.

Let’s start with Houston right-hander Cristian Javier. The right-hander gets the nod over presumptive AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander, who is four full days removed from his Game 1 start and thus fully rested.

So why would Astros manager Dusty Baker opt for Javier over a soon-to-be three-time Cy Young winner and surefire Hall of Famer? Shortest answer: Because the former has been far more effective than the latter lately — and more effective than pretty much any pitcher on the planet.

» READ MORE: A sixth straight home playoff win has the Phillies starting to feel like World Series destiny

In his last five starts going back to mid-September — a stretch of 28 1/3 innings, Javier has given up a grand total of seven hits, nine walks and zero runs of any kind (earned or unearned).

He did surrender a run (solo homer) in 1 1/3 innings of relief work in Game 1 of the American League Division Series against the Mariners. However, Javier came back 12 days later in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series and yielded one hit and three walks in 5 1/3 scoreless innings on the way to a 5-0 victory at Yankee Stadium (the same place where he threw his first career no-hitter in June).

Overall since Sept. 1 — and including his relief outing against Seattle — Javier has allowed four runs (only two earned) and struck out 44 in 35 innings. So even though the Phillies have scored 42 runs in their six playoff wins at home, it’s difficult to imagine them doing much damage against a locked-in Javier (someone they’ve never faced).

As for Javier’s Game 4 counterpart, Philadelphia right-hander Aaron Nola has been hit hard in his last two playoff starts. He gave 11 total runs to the Padres and Astros across nine innings. However, both those games were on the road.

» READ MORE: A look at World Series MVP odds after Game 2

That’s an important distinction, because in his last five starts at Citizens Bank going back to Aug. 25, Nola has surrendered two runs (one earned) on 15 hits and seven walks with 37 strikeouts in 29 2/3 innings.

When you do the arithmetic, Javier has given up an average of 0.57 runs every five innings in his last seven starts overall (plus one short relief appearance). Meanwhile, Nola has allowed an average of 0.34 runs per five innings in his last five outings at home.

If these guys come anywhere close to maintain those paces, we should cash this bet, despite there being little margin for error. Play Under 3.5 runs in the first 5 innings at BetMGM.

Astros vs. Phillies Game 4 Odds (via BetMGM):

  1. Full-game moneyline: Astros (-110) @ Phillies (-110)

  2. Full-game run line: Astros -1.5 runs (+150) @ Phillies +1.5 runs (-185)

  3. Full-game total: 7.5 runs (Over +100/Under -120)

  4. First 5 innings moneyline: Astros (-110) @ Phillies (-110)

  5. First 5 innings run line: Astros -0.5 runs (+125) @ Phillies +0.5 runs (-160)

  6. First 5 innings total: 3.5 runs (Over -130/Under +100)

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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