After shutting down baseball’s best offense in Game 1, the Philadelphia Phillies look to take full control of this NLDS matchup while the top-seeded Atlanta Braves face more or less a must-win in Game 2 on Monday night. First pitch from Truist Park is set for 6:07 p.m. ET. It’s a star-studded pitching matchup, with Phillies righty Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.61 ERA) going up against Atlanta lefty Max Fried (8-1, 2.55).
Atlanta enters as -162 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Philly at +136. The run total is set at 8.
Phillies vs. Braves NLDS Game 2 picks: Monday, October 9
Out: 1B Rhys Hoskins (knee)
Out: SP Charlie Morton (finger), RP Nick Anderson (shoulder)
Zack Wheeler vs. Max Fried
There have been question marks surrounding just about every other member of Philly’s rotation, but Wheeler has been a rock all year — despite dealing with some bad batted-ball luck along the way. (His expected ERA is a tidy 3.18, per Statcast.) He posted 11 quality starts in 14 outings in the second half, with a 3.08 ERA and 93 strikeouts over 87.2 innings, and he continued that form with seven shutout innings against the Marlins in the Wild Card round — adding to his impeccable October resume after posting a 2.75 mark over six starts during last year’s postseason run. The righty’s track record against the Braves this season is mixed, with two great starts — eight shutout innings with 12 Ks back in May, six innings of one-run ball in September — sandwiched around a six-run blowup.
Fried has been his usual Cy Young self for Atlanta when available this year, but like a lot of Braves pitchers, “when available” didn’t encompass very much time. Between a hamstring strain on Opening Day and an arm issue that cost him much of the summer, the lefty made just 14 starts during the regular season. He was excellent during those starts, but he also ended the year on the injured list after a blister began developing on his pitching hand. He’s reportedly all systems go here, but he hasn’t toed the rubber since September 21. He faced Philly once this season, allowing one run on four hits over five innings on September 12.
We saw just three runs scored on Saturday, and now the Phillies have their best pitcher in Wheeler on the mound. These two starters are walking quality starts, and I haven’t seen enough from the Braves offense of late to make me think they can carry us over this total all by themselves — especially with Philly’s bullpen rested and ready to go again.
Pick: Under 8
We cashed the Phillies as heavy dogs in Game 1, and I’m going back to the well here. Again, this isn’t even about whether Philly will win this game, or whether they should be favored; it’s about the fact that this matchup is far, far closer to a coin flip than this line suggests, and that means opportunity for profit. Wheeler has pitched well against Atlanta this season, and with a day off between Games 1 and 2, this Phillies bullpen can help keep this game close into the late innings — making them a great value at plus odds.
Pick: Phillies +136