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Phillies vs. Padres Game 2 prediction: Bank on Philadelphia to take 2-0 NLCS lead

Betting value lies with red-hot Nola, Phillies in matinee affair in San Diego

Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park. Nola enters Wednesday's NLCS Game 2 start against San Diego having not allowed an earned run in 20 1/3 innings. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Phillies pitcher Aaron Nola delivers a pitch against the Atlanta Braves during Game 3 of the National League Division Series at Citizens Bank Park. Nola enters Wednesday's NLCS Game 2 start against San Diego having not allowed an earned run in 20 1/3 innings. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTimothy Nwachukwu / Getty Images

Less than 24 hours after snatching home-field advantage from the San Diego Padres in the National League Championship Series, the surging Philadelphia Phillies will return to Petco Park on Wednesday afternoon looking to continue their magical October ride.

Zack Wheeler and two relievers combined on a one-hitter in Tuesday’s 2-0 series-opening victory, the Phillies’ third in a row and sixth in seven postseason contests. Despite that success — and despite handing the ball to a starting pitcher who hasn’t allowed an earned run in more than 20 innings — Philadelphia will take the field Wednesday as an underdog for the seventh time in the postseason (including the sixth time in a row).

Are the oddsmakers undervaluing the Phillies yet again? It sure appears that way. Here’s our Phillies vs. Padres best bet for Game 2 of the best-of-7 NLCS.

Phillies vs. Padres Prediction

  1. Phillies +105 (at Caesars Sportsbook)

Phillies vs. Padres Prediction: Analysis

Want an NLCS bet you can take to the bank? Here you go: There is no chance Aaron Nola, who is set to start for Philadelphia in Game 2, will top what his mound mate Wheeler did Tuesday night at Petco Park.

Just how dominant was the veteran right-hander? He needed just 83 pitches to hurl seven near-perfect innings, giving up just one walk and one single while striking out eight hitters. After a taxing first inning in which he threw 24 pitches, Wheeler tossed just 59 in the next six innings.

So, yeah, there’s a better chance snow falls in San Diego on Tuesday than there is Nola matching Wheeler’s Game 1 performance. But here’s the thing: He doesn’t have to. Philadelphia’s co-ace just needs to bring the same stuff to the mound that he’s possessed in his last three starts.

Because here’s what that stuff has produced: 19 1/3 innings, one unearned run, 11 hits, three walks, 21 strikeouts and three victories (including two in the playoffs) by the combined score of 14-1. Throw in a scoreless sixth inning that he pitched against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Sept. 28, and Nola hasn’t allowed an earned run in 20 1/3 frames.

» READ MORE: The Phillies have a World Series cheat code in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola. The Padres know it.

The right-hander comes into Game 2 of the NLCS having pitched at least six innings in six straight starts, giving up zero earned runs in four of those contests. He also comes into Game 2 with sensational stats when pitching under the sun.

In nine daytime starts this season, Nola is 5-1 with a 1.88 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, and the Phillies have posted a 7-2 record. Conversely, in 25 outings under the lights, he is 8-12 with a 3.44 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, and Philadelphia is 10-15.

Contrast those numbers with the day-night splits of Nola’s counterpart Wednesday, San Diego southpaw Blake Snell, who is 1-4 with a 4.79 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in seven day games (with the Padres going 1-6), but 8-6 with a 2.85 ERA and 1.32 WHIP after dark (with the Padres going 9-10).

Admittedly, Snell has been outstanding for the Padres over the past month, posting a 1.34 EA in his last six starts. But the Phillies rocked the former Cy Young winner twice this season, pounding out seven runs in 9 1/3 innings in a pair of victories (3-0 at home; 4-2 in San Diego).

Meanwhile, Nola made one start against the Padres this season (at Petco Park) and he was a hard-luck 1-0 loser despite scattering seven hits and two walks while striking out 10 in seven innings.

» READ MORE: Phillies’ money players Bryce Harper, Zack Wheeler, and Kyle Schwarber earn their checks in Game 1 of NLCS

Obviously, the Padres desperately need to win Tuesday to avoid falling in an 0-2 series hole heading back to Philly. But that’s another reason to like the Phillies in this spot: All the pressure is on San Diego. On the other hand, having been assured of no worse than a split on the road, Philadelphia will play free and easy.

Finally, there’s this: The Phillies have mashed left-handed pitching as a visitor this season, batting .280 as a team and averaging 5.33 runs per game (compared to a .228 average and 3.91 runs per game versus righties).

Toss in a nice underdog price from Caesars Sportsbook, and a Game 2 NLCS bet on MLB’s most profitable postseason team sure looks like a sound investment.

Phillies vs. Padres Odds (via Caesars Sportsbook):

  1. Moneyline: Phillies (+105) @ Padres (-125)

  2. Run line: Phillies +1.5 (-210) @ Padres -1.5 (+175)

  3. Total: 6.5 (Over -125/Under +105)

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

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