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MLB preview: Phillies vs. Reds odds, picks, prediction

The Action Network’s Michael Arinze shares why the Reds are live underdogs against the Phillies on Thursday night

Aaron Nola might not be in line for a bounce back start, according to the numbers. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
Aaron Nola might not be in line for a bounce back start, according to the numbers. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)Read moreHunter Martin / Getty Images

We were on the right side of the ledger yesterday with our lean on the over of the Phillies’ alternate team total. Quite a few leans have cashed for us so far, which might require a slight tinkering in our approach.

Thursday’s matchup will be the final game between the Reds and Phillies in 2022. Philadelphia has won five of the six meetings and could complete a four-game sweep, with Aaron Nola getting the start against Cincinnati’s Justin Dunn.

It’s no surprise that the Phillies are again a massive favorite with odds as high as -350 at some sportsbooks. And while the Phillies certainly are the better team on paper, I’ll share some numbers on why Phillies backers might want to be cautious with laying such a high price.

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Phillies vs. Reds MLB odds

Moneyline: CIN (+280) vs. PHI (-350)

Spread: CIN +1.5 (+134) vs. PHI -1.5 (-162)

Total: Over 8.5 (-108) | Under 8.5 (-112)

» READ MORE: Could Bryce Harper return to the Phillies this weekend?

Phillies vs. Reds probable pitchers

Justin Dunn (1-1, 1.73 ERA) vs. Aaron Nola (8-10, 3.25 ERA)

After missing time with a shoulder injury, Dunn returned to the majors Aug. 8, and had his best start in three outings last time out vs. Pittsburgh, allowing one run while scattering three hits in five innings.

It’s tough to take too much away from the win over the Pirates, considering that FanGraphs ranks them 29th with a wRC+ value of 81. I took a look at Dunn’s velocity since his return, and it’s right around where it was in his two seasons in the majors.

Dunn averages around 92.6 mph for his career with his fastball, and this season he’s throwing it at around 92.1 mph. What’s interesting is that in 2021, his average fastball was 2.5 mph faster, and if he was trying to throw harder, there’s a chance the increased velocity might’ve led to the shoulder injury.

This will be his first appearance against the Phillies, but according to Baseball Savant, their current lineup does have two plate appearances with a 1.000 batting average and .351 xSLG against Dunn.

In contrast, the Reds lineup has 18 plate appearances against Nola, hitting .571 with a .805 xSLG.

For me, this matchup is all about the line value. Nola is coming off an outing in which he allowed five earned runs. According to the database, historically, when he’s at home in this spot, he’s just 3-8 straight up for a loss of 7.0 units. Moreover, he’s also on an 0-5 run in this spot since 2019.

Lastly, according to our Action Labs database, betting underdogs at +280 or higher this season has been profitable as teams in this spot are 8-8 for a return of 15.70 units.

I think the Reds are worth a look at the current price.

Phillies vs. Reds pick

Reds ML +280

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