The Philadelphia Phillies haven’t been a series underdog much in 2024.

That’s the case for the weekend series against the Atlanta Braves, which is strangely enough the first visit to Georgia this season for the Phils.

On pure record alone, the Phillies should be favored in the series, but if you look deeper into the pitching matchups, you can at least understand why the Phils are +120 to win the series on DraftKings while Atlanta is favored at -140.

Friday’s opener has the best pitching matchup of the series with Aaron Nola going up against Max Fried. That’s the toss-up game, and with the Phils as a +114 money line underdog in the game itself, the series line makes sense.

The Phillies hold the pitching edge on Saturday with Ranger Suarez going up against rookie Spencer Schwellenbach. The Braves send Reynaldo Lopez, a potential All-Star, against Phils rookie Michael Mercado on Sunday.

Back to Friday’s game, because it could be the best one to bet from all angles.

Atlanta rocked Nola for seven earned runs on 11 hits in the right-hander’s first start of the season. Five players on the Braves roster have multiple home runs in their careers against him. Austin Riley has five, Marcell Ozuna has four, and Matt Olson has two.

Conversely, Max Fried didn’t make it out of the first inning against the Phillies in his season debut. Trea Turner and Nick Castellanos have fantastic numbers against the Braves’ lefty, and we all know how well the Phillies have hit lefties this season.

If you’re looking at this one with New Jersey sports betting apps or PA sports betting apps, I would look into some sort of hit and/or total bases parlay involving Riley, Ozuna, Turner, and Castellanos for Friday’s game.

Of course, Fried and Nola are both capable of tossing gems on the mound, but there’s almost too much familiarity with them from both lineups, as we saw in the opening series in Philadelphia. The batters know exactly what Nola and Fried will throw at them, and how they approach every at-bat, and that can be difficult for pitchers to work through. It may just be a survival of the fittest so that both teams do not max out their bullpens with one rookie each starting this weekend.

You could make a really strong argument that the series means more to the Braves. They are healthier and would love to cut into the nine-game Phillies lead atop the National League East.

If the Phillies leave Atlanta with a 1-2 record, it’s perfectly fine because they don’t lose much ground, can bank on a strong home record and you’d be able to argue the Phils win the series with Kyle Schwarber and Bryce Harper on the field.

It’s certainly a meaningful series, but the divisional battles that happen later in the season will be more important because of who will be on the field then.