Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard
Betting Commercial Content. 21+. Provided by Action Network, official betting partner of The Inquirer.

MLB Preview: Phillies vs. Pirates pick and analysis

The Action Network’s Michael Arinze shares how to find value on the Phillies as a big favorite on Friday night

Bryce Harper returns to the lineup Friday night and the Phillies are big favorites. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Bryce Harper returns to the lineup Friday night and the Phillies are big favorites. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTimothy Nwachukwu / Getty Images

The Pirates are limping into their weekend series with the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Pittsburgh has lost five straight and only scored more than two runs in one game during that span.

Bryse Wilson will start the series opener for the visitors, while the Phillies will counter with Bailey Falter, who is starting in place of Zack Wheeler.

The story on Friday night will be the return of Phillies slugger Bryce Harper to the lineup. His presence could spell bad news for Wilson and the Pirates, who are struggling to find any positives given their recent slump.

Odds provided by BetMGM

  1. Learn more about the BetMGM Promo Code

  2. Check out more of the best sports betting sites

Phillies vs. Pirates MLB odds

Moneyline: PIT (+230) vs. PHI (-275)

Spread: PIT +1.5 (+120) vs. PHI -1.5 (-145)

Total: Over 9 (-110) | Under 9 (-110)

Phillies vs. Pirates probable pitchers

Bryse Wilson (2-7, 5.74 ERA) vs. Bailey Falter (1-3, 4.40 ERA)

Falter’s 4.40 ERA is slightly high, but his 1.29 WHIP is slightly above average. He can be susceptible to the long ball, as he’s allowing two home runs every nine innings this season. That’s a big reason his advanced numbers would make him a candidate for regression, given his 5.50 FIP and 5.52 xERA.

Falter has had success getting ahead in the count, evidenced by a first-pitch strike rate of 67.9%. However, he’ll need to do a better job of finishing hitters off, as the highest putaway rate of any of his five pitches in his arsenal is just 25%.

The good news is that he’s facing a Pirates team that can’t seem to do anything right offensively.

Rank Betting Site Bonus States Claim
BetMGM Logo
INQUIRERMGM$1,000 Risk-Free Bet
  • AZ, NJ, IN, CO, DC, IA, MI, TN, VA, WV, WY only.
  • New customers only. Must be 21+. Welcome offer not available in NY & PA. Full T&C apply.
Caesars Sportsbook
$1,250Risk-Free Bet + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®
  • NY, NJ, WV, IA, CO, IN, MI, VA, TN, AZ, LA, IL Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
Caesars Sportsbook
$150 in Free Bets
  • AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
$250 Deposit Match100% First Deposit Bonus
  • AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NY, PA, VA only.
  • 21+. New customers only. T&C apply

Wilson’s advanced numbers are lower than his traditional ERA, but his potential for positive regression remains worrisome based on his 5.24 FIP and 5.50 xERA. He, too, has struggled with home runs, with a 1.72 HR/9 ratio. And he’s also striking out fewer batters (5.97) per nine innings than Falter (8.00).

Wilson will have his hands full against a Phillies team that has hit him well in a small sample size. In 25 plate appearances, Philadelphia’s lineup is hitting .435 with .503 wOBA and a .567 xSLG against Wilson.

Despite below average numbers by the starting pitchers, both teams have fared well recently with them on the mound. Pittsburgh is 3-1 in Wilson’s past four starts, while the Phillies are 5-1 in Falter’s past six outings.

The Phillies enter the weekend on a four-game winning streak, and are getting Harper back at an opportune time.

Philadelphia currently has a 2.5-game cushion in the wild card race, and the schedule breaks kindly for them the rest of the way. According to, the Phillies have the eighth-softest schedule for the remainder of the season. You can expect the Phillies to be massive favorites in many of their games, and Friday night is no different.

I took a shot at fading the Phillies on Thursday, as I can’t justify continuing to pay such a high price with them as favorites. If you’re looking to back the Phillies, you’re better off doing so on the runline.

Bettors might want to consider fading Pittsburgh on the first five runline. According to EVAnalytics, the Pirates are on an 0-5 run in this spot and 1-9 over a 10-game span. You can grab Philadelphia for the first five innings at -0.5 / -165 over BetMGM.

Phillies vs. Pirates pick

Phillies F5 RL -0.5 (-165)

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.