The Phillies begin their first road trip of the season with a series in Atlanta beginning Friday night with the Braves looking to avenge the season opening 3 game sweep in Philadelphia last week.
Let’s take a closer look at this National League East matchup with our three best Phillies vs. Braves player prop picks.
Phillies at Braves Player Props (April 9, 2021)
To avoid a 0-4 start against their division rivals, the Braves will have to find a way to be more productive against RHP Zack Wheeler, who struck out 10 and allowed just one hit over seven scoreless innings against them last Saturday.
Click here to get 100-1 odds on the Phillies to record 1+ hit in any game during the month of April at DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Braves will counter with RHP Charlie Morton, who took the loss to Wheeler after allowing three earned runs on six hits in five innings. Morton was cruising in that first matchup, but he had a rough fifth when the Phillies plated all three of their runs against him.
This pitching rematch coupled with two highly motivated teams should give us some solid betting angles in this one, so let’s dive into a few Phillies-Braves picks and predictions.
Ozzie Albies to Hit a Home Run (+550)
Albies’ start to the 2021 season certainly won’t inspire many to believe that this wager has much value, as he is just 2-for-22 at the plate with zero extra-base hits.
However, with two pitchers going here who handled the opposition’s lineups just six days ago, we want to look at other angles for potential big payouts.
Albies hits second, so he will get close to maximum plate appearances. He also hits in front of Freddie Freeman, meaning he will likely see good pitches to hit, as Wheeler won’t want to walk put himself into a jam heading into the middle of the lineup.
Albies is also a switch hitter, protecting him against late-game substitutions, as well as specialty pitchers. Again, maximizing plate appearances is key whenever taking offensively-centered props.
Moreover, Albies was the only Atlanta starter not to strike out against Wheeler in their first meeting this season. This is all positive situational material for a guy who also hit 24 home runs in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
From a law of averages standpoint, something has to give. Albies is due.
He has had 22 at-bats so far this season and in both 2018 and 2019, his AB/HR average was just over 26, meaning he’s likely to hit that 26th at-bat in this one. This could be a nice spot for Albies to grab his first home run of the season and second career off of Wheeler. At +550 value, we think it’s worth a shot.
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Freddie Freeman to Record a Hit (-300)
It was always going to be difficult for Freeman to duplicate his 2020 numbers this season, but a .111 start through seven games has raised some eyebrows of Braves fans.
However, after failing to record a hit in nine at-bats against the Phillies in the opening series, Freeman rallied to get hits in two of three games against Washington.
Further good news arrives in the form of Freeman’s illustrious career numbers against Zach Wheeler. The first-baseman has owned the righty to the tune of 17 hits in 38 ABs, coupled with 13 walks for good measure.
After an uncharacteristic 0-for-3 against Wheeler last weekend, you have to imagine Freeman will be good and ready for this rematch. Plus, Wheeler gave up 1.4 more runs per nine innings pitched away from home last season than he did at Citizens Bank Park.
He also had a worse ERA on the road in each of his last four seasons and has had trouble in Atlanta. Over the last three seasons, he has allowed 41 hits in just 29.2 IP there, with Freeman doing much of the damage during that stretch.
Obviously, you’re going to pay heavily for a lefty in the heart of the order facing a righty with a track record of success, but having just seen him six days ago, Freeman is a great pick here.
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Zach Wheeler Under 5.5 Strikeouts (+120)
Wheeler was nearly perfect in the earlier start this season against Atlanta and had all of his pitches working, coupled with great velocity for an early April game.
However, seeing the same lineup again less than a week later will make matters far tougher for the right-hander. Wheeler’s last five starts in Atlanta have seen his teams go 1-4 with him lasting less than an average of six innings per start.
With the Phillies bullpen rested following a day off and earning the confidence of manager Joe Girardi, any struggles by Wheeler could mean an earlier hook than one might expect after his dominant first start.
Recent history for the righty suggests those struggles are possible, as his last full season in 2019 saw opponents hit .279 off him on the road. That number was over 30 points higher than his career .246 OBA.
Finally, the 10 strikeout performance by Wheeler last Saturday was his first in a Phillies uniform, making it a bit of an outlier.