Atlanta Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLDS Game 3 (10/11/23)
The NLDS between the Braves and Phillies is tied 1-1 as the series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Wednesday (10/11/23) at 5:07pm. Aaron Nola takes the mound for the Phillies, while the Braves have yet to officially announce a starter, but it’s expected to be Bryce Elder or A.J. Smith-Shawver.
The Phillies are small betting favorites at -125 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 9 runs. This article provides Braves vs. Phillies analysis, predictions and best bets including a recommendation to bet on the Phillies -1.5.
Braves vs. Phillies Prediction NLDS Game 3
Starting pitchers: TBD vs. RHP Aaron Nola (12-9, 4.46 ERA)
There’s a saying in baseball that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. In other words, teams don’t really carry any momentum from one game to the next, because a sizzling hot lineup one day could be shut down by a dominant pitcher the next day (or vice versa, a slumping lineup could catch fire against a weak pitcher).
That theory will be tested in this game, as the Braves should have all the momentum following a dramatic comeback win in Game 2. After being shut out for the first 14 innings of the series, the offense erupted with two home runs and five runs scored in the final three frames.
They also put an exclamation point on the win with a miraculous diving catch by center fielder Michael Harris II that turned into a game-ending double play. Bryce Harper got picked off after aggressively trying to go from 1st to home on what he thought would be a double off the wall. It was the first 8-5-3 double play in MLB postseason history and the first game-ending double play involving an outfielder in postseason history.
I can’t stop watching this play.
Obviously an incredible catch by Michael Harris II. But what a play by Austin Riley to back up the throw and make a sick throw to first to double off Harper.
What a play. What a game. Instant classic.
— Ben Verlander (@BenVerlander) October 10, 2023
The big storyline entering this game will be whether Atlanta can keep it rolling or if Aaron Nola can halt any momentum that game might have given them. Nola had an up-and-down season but finished strong with a 2.60 ERA over his final three starts (17-1/3 innings). He then pitched brilliantly in the NLWC Game 2 win over the Marlins, tossing 7 shutout innings and allowing just 3 hits.
Nola had one bad outing against Atlanta this year (5 earned runs over 6 innings), one good one (2 earned over 6) and one great one (6 scoreless). He has a 3.30 ERA in 34 career starts against them (including postseason) and a 2.59 ERA in 18 starts at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies were in a similar situation last year, returning to CBP tied 1-1 after losing Game 2 with Nola taking the mound. Nola tossed 6 innings of 1-run ball in that game as the Phillies won 9-1. The Braves had a young stud pitcher named Spencer Strider on the mound that day making his first career postseason start, which did not go well for them. They will have another young pitcher making his postseason debut in this game, we just don’t know yet if it will be A.J. Smith-Shawver or Bryce Elder, or possibly a combination with one coming out of the bullpen.
Elder was an All-Star this year but he struggled with fatigue in the second half of his first full season as a starter. He had a 2.97 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in the first half (18 starts, 106 innings) but just a 5.11 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in the second half (13 starts, 68-2/3 innings). He had one good outing against the Phillies on June 22 (7 scoreless in Philly) and one bad one on September 20 (4 earned over 3-2/3 at home).
Smith-Shawver is the Braves’ top prospect who debuted this season and had a 4.26 ERA over 6 appearances (5 starts). He has better stuff and is fresher than Elder, but would be making just his 6th career start in a huge game in front of a raucous crowd.
Speaking of that crowd, the Phillies have won 8 consecutive postseason home games against NL opponents and they own the best home record in the postseason (24-11) of any team in MLB history. That includes two wins over Atlanta in this exact same situation last year, albeit with both clubs looking very different this year.
That saying about momentum is part of the lore of baseball for a reason. With the best home field advantage in the league and a superior pitcher on the mound, the Phillies should be heavier favorites in this game than they are, which means the betting value is on the Phillies tonight. If that isn’t enough to like the Phillies, just listen to Nick Castellanos describe the team’s attitude after the Game 2 loss.
Nick Castellanos says the Phillies thrive when they get punched in the face. pic.twitter.com/K6APF2GGYj
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) October 10, 2023
Regardless of who starts for Atanta, expect the Phillies bats to explode in front of their home crowd. They were just 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 runners on base in Game 2, which is unlikely to happen again to a team that was top 10 in average and OPS with RISP over the second half of the season. That makes the over on 9 runs a good bet, and it also means laying Phillies -1.5 at +158 offers a lot more value than the -125 moneyline.
Braves vs. Phillies Prediction: Phillies -1.5 (+158 at Caesars), over 9 runs (-105)
Braves vs. Phillies Odds
Based on the odds, sportsbooks expect this to be a very tight game that could easily go either way. Immediately after the conclusion of Game 2, both teams were at less than even money on the moneyline at some sportsbooks like FanDuel (where the Phillies were -112 and the Braves -104). As of this writing, the Phillies now -125 favorites while the Braves’ moneyline is at +105.
Sportsbooks are similarly split when it comes to the spread, as some books like BetMGM and DraftKings have the Braves laying -1.5 runs (at +165) while others like Caesars and FanDuel have the Braves getting +1.5 (at -190).
There is little disagreement about the over/under, which is set at 9 runs and has not budged. Odds slightly favor the under at -115, while the over is at -105.
Braves vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Braves vs. Phillies.
Aaron Nola vs. Braves’ power hitters
As we noted with our over pick in our Braves vs. Phillies prediction, we expect the Phillies to score some runs off the Braves starter in this game. That means if Aaron Nola can have even an average outing by his standards, he should put the Phillies in great position to win and cover. On the other hand, if the Braves prove to carry some momentum from Game 2 into this game, then Nola and the Phillies could be in danger of surrendering the home field advantage they earned by winning game 1.
The key for Nola in this game is keeping the Braves’ power hitters in the yard. Atlanta tied the MLB regular-season record with 307 home runs this season, 58 more than any other team. Nola allowed 32 dingers this season, tied for 7th most in the league. He allowed 3 homers in one game against Atlanta, but none in his other 2 starts.
Four of the 5 runs the Braves scored in Game 2 came off the long ball. Nothing can silence a raucous home crowd quite like a home run. If Nola can avoid that in this game, the Phillies should win and cover.
The Phillies’ strong bullpen let them down in Game 2 when Jeff Hoffman hung a slider that Austin Riley blasted for the go-ahead 2-run homer. But their bullpen virtually won the game for them in Game 1, with five different relievers combining for 5-1/3 shutout innings.
The Braves could be heavily reliant on their bullpen in this game regardless of who gets the start, and there is also a possibility that they could forgo a traditional starter and choose to make this a bullpen game.
For better or worse, both bullpens have played major factors in the first two games of this series, and that will be the case again tonight.
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)