Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLDS Game 4 (10/12/23)
The best team in baseball during the regular season is on the brink of elimination as the Phillies lead the Braves 2-1 in the NLDS heading into Game 4 tonight (10/12/23) at 8:07pm in Philadelphia. The pitching matchup is the same as Game 1 – Spencer Strider vs. Ranger Suárez.
Betting odds favor the Braves surviving at least 1 more game, as Atlanta is -150 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 8.5 runs. This article provides Braves vs. Phillies analysis, predictions and best bets including a recommendation to take the Phillies +130 on the moneyline to close out the series at home.
Braves vs. Phillies Prediction NLDS Game 4
Starting pitchers: RHP Spencer Strider vs. LHP Ranger Suárez
Sometimes in sports, narratives trump numbers.
The numbers ahead of Game 4 portend a Braves victory, which is why the sportsbooks have made them relatively heavy road favorites in this game. They have the superior pitcher on the mound in Spencer Strider, a 20-game winner and MLB strikeouts leader who held the Phillies to just 2 runs (1 earned) over 7 innings in Game 1.
The Braves were the best team in baseball all season with a record-setting offense. They broke the MLB record with a .501 slugging percentage and tied the record for home runs with 307. They have the presumptive NL MVP in Ronald Acuña Jr. who became the first player in MLB history with 40+ home runs and 70+ stolen bases in a season.
The Braves probably should win this game tonight. They probably should not be down 2-1 in the first place. But the vibes and narratives surrounding this Phillies team right now are too strong to ignore.
It starts with the best home field advantage in MLB history – and that’s not just a narrative. The Phillies’ .694 winning percentage (25-11) at Citizens Bank Park is the highest of any team in any ballpark in postseason history (minimum 20 games). The Phillies have won 8 consecutive postseason home games against NL opponents going back to last season’s World Series run, where they won their first 6 home games before dropping 2 in a row to the Astros.
That’s not a coincidence. The Phillies players, especially Bryce Harper, absolutely soak up the energy that the Philadelphia crowd gives them, and it absolutely impacts their performance.
Bryce Harper 🔥🔥
“I love this place. Flat out, I love this place. There’s nothing like coming into the Bank and playing in front of these fans. Blue collar mentality, tough, fighting every single day. I get chills, man. I get so fired up. Man, I love this place!” pic.twitter.com/GvdJHHfjE1
— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) October 12, 2023
Contrast that with the attitude of Spencer Strider when it comes to fans and atmosphere.
Spencer Strider says he prefers no fans at sporting events like we had in 2020
(via mlb.fits / IG) pic.twitter.com/Ubnjs7Dxaa
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) September 27, 2023
With an attitude like that, it’s not surprising that Strider got shelled in Philadelphia in the playoffs last year, when he lasted just 2-1/3 innings and allowed 5 earned runs. Granted, that was his postseason debut and his first start in 26 days due to injury. In virtually every other start against the Phillies – and he has had 10 of them including the postseason – Strider has been dominant. In eight regular season starts, he is 8-0 with a 1.90 ERA, a .151 average allowed and a .450 OPS allowed.
But there is just something different about pitching in Philadelphia in the postseason. It’s unlikely Strider will get hit as hard as he did in that one game last year, but the Phillies have already beaten him once in this series, and that game was in Atlanta.
So with a choice between the vibes surrounding this Phillies team right now, and the numbers that favor Strider and the Braves, we like the chances that the Phillies close out the series tonight. When we can bet on that with +130 odds, we like it even better.
Braves vs. Phillies Prediction: Phillies moneyline (+130), over 8.5 runs (+100)
Braves vs. Phillies Odds
The Phillies are home underdogs at +130 on the moneyline, while the Braves are at -150 on the moneyline.
The Braves are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +115 odds, while the Phillies are getting +1.5 runs at -135.
The over/under is set at 8.5 runs with odds favoring the under at -115, while the over is at -105 at most sportsbooks (Caesars is available at +100 as of this writing).
Braves vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Braves vs. Phillies.
Phillies’ pitchers vs. Braves’ top of the order
Our confidence in the Phillies’ offense against Strider and their home field advantage was the main reason we picked the Phillies’ moneyline in our Braves vs. Phillies prediction. But we also expect that Strider will pitch more like he did in Game 1 of this series than he did in Game 3 last year in Philadelphia.
That means the key for the Braves to survive this game and send the series back to Atlanta is the record-setting offense coming alive. The Braves’ bats have been quiet for 24 of the 27 innings in this series so far. After leading the league with 5.8 runs per game this season, they have scored just 7 runs in the 3 games so far, and 5 of those runs came in their dramatic comeback late in Game 2.
A team that slugged an MLB record .501 this season is slugging just .268 so far in this series. The top of the order has been the biggest culprit. Four of the first five hitters – Ronald Acuña Jr., Ozzie Albies, Matt Olson, and Marcell Ozuna – have just 1 extra-base hit combined.
The Braves need their stars to produce tonight if they want to avoid another disappointing playoff exit.
When the Phillies won Game 1 with the same pitching matchup as this game, manager Rob Thomson had a short leash on starter Ranger Suárez, pulling him after just 3-2/3 innings despite him not allowing any runs. That decision worked out, as the Phillies’ bullpen finished off the shutout victory.
It will be interesting to see if Thomson gives Suárez a longer leash in this game, but we expect him to be similarly aggressive to try to end the series tonight and avoid a return trip to Atlanta. Thanks to the off day Tuesday and with another off day tomorrow, Thomson should have all his highest-leverage arms available in the bullpen tonight, even after using Seranthony Dominguez, Orion Kerkering and Matt Strahm last night.
The same is true of the Braves, who got 2-2/3 innings from starter-turned-reliever A.J. Smith-Shawver last night, preserving A.J. Minter, Joe Jimenez, Pierce Johnson and Raisel Iglesias for tonight’s game. Brian Snitker could have a short leash on Strider given what’s at stake, making both bullpens a critical factor in this game.
Braves vs. Phillies Starting Lineups (Projected)
Braves Starting Lineup
RF Ronald Acuña Jr. (R)
2B Ozzie Albies (S)
3B Austin Riley (R)
1B Matt Olson (L)
DH Marcell Ozuna (R)
LF Eddie Rosario (L)
C Sean Murphy (R)
SS Orlando Arcia (R)
CF Michael Harris (L)
Phillies Starting Lineup
DH Kyle Schwarber (L)
SS Trea Turner (R)
1B Bryce Harper (L)
3B Alec Bohm (R)
2B Bryson Stott (L)
C J.T. Realmuto (R)
RF Nick Castellanos (R)
LF Brandon Marsh (L)
CF Johan Rojas (R)