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Braves vs. Phillies: Zack Wheeler’s form makes the Phillies a strong first-half play Wednesday afternoon

How to play a potential pitchers’ duel on Wednesday afternoon

Zack Wheeler of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during Game One of the NL Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 6-3. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Zack Wheeler of the Philadelphia Phillies throws a pitch during Game One of the NL Wild Card series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 07, 2022 in St Louis, Missouri. The Phillies defeated the Cardinals 6-3. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)Read moreStacy Revere / Getty Images

The Philadelphia Phillies are off and running in the National League Divisional Series. Not only did the Phillies jump out to a 1-0 series lead with their 7-6 win in Game 1, but they also did it against Atlanta’s ace, Max Fried, and now will have the opportunity to throw the 1-2 punch of Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola in Games 2 and 3.

The victory flipped the series moneyline to Philadelphia -165, though the Phillies are a slight +110 underdog in Game 2. at FanDuel.

Phillies vs. Braves prediction: Pick

Phillies F5 Moneyline (+104)

Phillies vs. Braves prediction: Analysis

Wheeler enters Game 2 on full rest and coming off a dominant performance against the Cardinals on Friday. The 32-year-old Georgia native held the Cards scoreless and limited them to two hits and a walk through 6.1 innings. Wheeler struck out four batters.

That performance was more of the same for Wheeler, who finished the season with a 0.60 ERA and 1.91 xFIP over his last three outings (15 innings).

Wheeler will take on Kyle Wright, who had three more wins (21) than any other pitcher in baseball this season. Wright posted a 3.19 ERA across 180.1 innings, though he overachieved slightly according to his 3.89 xERA and 3.30 xFIP.

Although Wright’s strikeout numbers and batted ball data won’t jump off the page at you, he finished third among qualified pitchers with a 55.6% groundball rate. Wheeler is the more prolific strikeout pitcher, but Wright’s able to wriggle out of trouble with one pitch.

» READ MORE: How winning the Ranger Suarez game impacted Phillies-Braves NLDS odds

Wright vs. Wheeler should set up for a pitchers’ duel and is being priced as such with the run total for the game currently sitting at 7 runs despite the fact that these two teams combined for 13 runs on Tuesday.

Although the Braves have the better offensive numbers, the difference isn’t anything notable – especially with the pitching matchup we’re dealing with. Atlanta’s more notable edge comes in the battle of the bullpens, but rather than worry about that, bettors can target the starting pitching matchup with a bet on the First 5 Innings moneyline.

Wright vs. Wheeler projects as a tight starting pitching matchup, but there is a sound argument to be made that the Phillies should be a slight favorite on the F5 moneyline when you consider Wheeler’s current form. Thus, there’s some betting value on the Phillies at +104 on the F5 moneyline.

Phillies vs. Braves Odds:

  1. Phillies: +110

  2. Braves: -130

  3. Total: 7 runs

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