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Padres vs. Phillies NLCS Game 3 odds, prediction: Bet on San Diego to take 2-1 series lead

Look for red-hot starting pitcher Joe Musgrove to tame potent Phillies lineup

San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove will take the mound Friday as a short road favorite against the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
San Diego Padres right-hander Joe Musgrove will take the mound Friday as a short road favorite against the Phillies in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)Read moreDustin Satloff / Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after one-hitting the San Diego Padres on the way to a 2-0 victory in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, the Philadelphia Phillies returned to Petco Park on Wednesday and bolted out to a 4-0 lead before nine outs were recorded.

With co-ace Aaron Nola on the mound, Philadelphia seemed destined to depart America’s Finest City with a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. And then … the roof caved in. San Diego scored eight unanswered runs in an 8-5 romp to even the series.

Now the scene shifts to Citizens Bank Park, where the Phillies are 2-for-2 in this postseason. Will they keep that perfect home record intact Friday? Or will San Diego recapture home-field advantage behind a scorching-hot starting pitcher?

Here’s our best bet for Game 3 of the NLCS.

Note: Odds updated as of 5 a.m. ET on Oct. 21.

Padres vs. Phillies Prediction

  1. Padres -110 (at BetMGM)

Padres vs. Phillies Prediction: Analysis

With Wednesday afternoon’s meltdown, Philadelphia absolutely blew a golden opportunity to take a stranglehold on the NLCS. Still, it escaped San Diego with a 1-1 split and home-field advantage. Which means if they hold serve at home this weekend, the Phillies will clinch their first World Series berth since 2009.

So, obviously, Philadelphia now is a decent-sized favorite to win this series, right? Nope. After the Padres’ come-from-behind win in Game 2, oddsmakers have the NLCS priced as a tossup. They also have San Diego priced as a short favorite in Friday’s Game 3.

The reason? Padres starting pitcher Joe Musgrove (and the arms behind him).

After a sensational regular season (11-7, 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP), Musgrove has taken his game to another level in the postseason. First, the San Diego native led his hometown team to a 6-0, NL Wild Card-clinching victory over the New York Mets, yielding just one hit and one walk in seven innings at Citi Field.

Then on Saturday in Game 4 of the NL Division Series, Musgrove kept the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers at bay for six innings. Despite allowing nine baserunners, the right-hander only gave up two runs, as he got one big out after another to keep L.A. from blowing the game open.

Musgrove then watched his teammates rally for a 5-3 victory that sent the Dodgers packing and sent the Padres to the NLCS.

Including the playoffs, San Diego is 21-11 behind Musgrove in 2022. But that impressive number doesn’t mean as much as this one: 1.03. That’s Musgrove’s ERA in his last six starts. Not only has the veteran right-hander only allowed three runs in his last 36 innings, but he’s posted a 40-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

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Of course, it must be noted that Musgrove’s worst performance this season came against … the Phillies. He yielded six runs on seven hits (two homers) in a 6-2 loss. But that game was back on June 23. It also was at home. In 15 road starts this season, Musgrove is 8-3 with a 2.79 ERA (including an ongoing 13-inning scoreless streak).

Musgrove also has pitched well in two career starts at Citizens Bank (both in 2019): 12 innings, two earned runs, seven hits, two walks, 14 strikeouts.

Simply put, we have no interest in betting against Musgrove right now, especially since he’s backed by a bullpen that held the Phillies to one run (solo homer) and three hits in six innings in Games 1 and 2.

That bullpen, which is anchored by once-again-lights-out closer Josh Hader, now sports 2.05 ERA in the playoffs. By contrast, Philadelphia’s postseason bullpen ERA is 4.00.

That’s a big deal, given that Phillies starter Ranger Suarez has failed to pitch into the fifth inning in four of his last eight starts — including a 3 1/3-inning stint in Game 3 of the NLDS against the Braves.

Back Musgrove and the Padres at -110 odds at BetMGM.

Padres vs. Phillies Odds (via BetMGM):

  1. Moneyline: Padres (-110) @ Phillies (-110)

  2. Run line: Padres -1.5 runs (+155) @ Phillies +1.5 runs (-190)

  3. Total: 7.5 runs (Over -105/Under -115)

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