Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies Pick 3/31/19
Atlanta Braves (0-2) at Philadelphia Phillies (2-0)
When: Sunday, March 31st, 2019 – 7:05 PM ET
Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia
Money Line: ATL+135 / PHI-145 (Dime Line)
The Philadelphia Phillies have taken the first two games of their season-opening series with the Atlanta Braves, and shoot for the sweep Sunday evening at Citizens Bank Park in Philly (7:05 pm ET, ESPN). The Phillies have covered the first two games against both the money line and the run line. Which way are we going with our free MLB prediction for Sunday?
Sunday’s MLB betting odds opened Philadelphia and Jake Arrieta at around -150 over Atlanta and rookie righty Kyle Wright, with an over/under of nine runs. Both figures were holding steady in early betting action.
The Phillies could also be found getting around +135 giving the run and half on the MLB run line.
Braves-Phillies Betting Preview
Philadelphia grabbed the opener of this series Thursday afternoon 10-4, then took Game 2 Saturday 8-6. The Phillies banged out three homers on Thursday, then hit three more on Saturday.
Philly led Thursday’s opener 3-1, then scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth and four runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull away. Then Saturday the Phillies trailed early 3-0 but scored once in the second, three times in the fourth and twice in the fifth to take control.
Philly won as a -180 favorite Thursday and as a -140 favorite Saturday. And they covered against the run line both games at prices of +110 and +140.
Also, both games played over totals of eight and 9.5 runs.
Last year the Braves, on their way to the NL East title, took the season series from the Phillies 12 games to seven.
Sunday’s Pitching Match-Up
Arrieta (10-11, 3.96 last year), by our strict standards, only finished 13/31 on quality starts last season. Philadelphia went just 14-17 in games Arrieta got the start, with the overs going 15-14.
In two starts last season against Atlanta Arrieta allowed four runs and 11 hits through 8 2/3 innings, with four walks and nine strikeouts. The Phillies split those two games, and both games played under the totals.
Fellow righty Wright (0-0, 4.50 last year) is making his first career ML start, after making four appearances in relief late last season. Wright pitched a total of six innings for the Braves last year, allowing three runs and two home runs while walking six.
In stints at both AA and AAA ball last year Wright went 8-9 overall with a 3.46 ERA, allowing 118 hits through 138 innings, with 51 walks and 133 strikeouts.
This will be Wright’s first-ever outing against Philadelphia, which could give him an edge, at least for the first couple of times through the lineup.
Nonetheless, for handicapping purposes here, we’re giving Philly and Arrieta the check-mark for this pitching match-up.
Sunday’s Stick Splits
Atlanta batted .252/.320/.407 last year against right-handed pitching.
Philadelphia batted .235/.313/.404 last year against RHP. But the Phillies added some serious pop to their lineup over the off-season, bringing in Bryce Harper, JT Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen. So far it’s paid off; the Phillies have scored 18 runs through two games.
We’re giving Philly the check-mark with the sticks for Sunday.
The Atlanta bullpen posted a 4.15 ERA last year, with a 1.40 WHIP, surprisingly bad numbers for a team that won its division. So far this season Braves relievers have allowed 11 runs through 7 2/3 innings of work.
The Philadelphia bullpen posted a 4.19 ERA last year with a 1.34 WHIP.
We’ll call this bullpen comparison a push.
- The unders went 79-78-5 in Braves games last season.
- The unders finished 81-74-7 in Phillies games last season.
- The unders went 10-8-1 in Braves-Phillies games last season.
- The totals split 39-39-3 in games played at Citizens Bank Park last season.
- The overs are 2-0 in this series.
Free MLB Pick
Philadelphia gets two of our major handicapping check-marks for this game, so that’s the direction we’re headed with our free MLB pick. And in thinking the Phillies might put up six or seven runs again, we’ll take a chance on the run line laying the 1.5 runs.