Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Philadelphia Phillies: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for NLCS Game 2 (10/17/23)
The Philadelphia Phillies hold a 1-0 lead over the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS which continues with Game 2 tonight (10/17/23) at 8:07pm ET. The Phillies are the betting favorites with the same odds as last night at -165 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 8 runs.
This article provides Diamondbacks vs. Phillies analysis, predictions and best bets including a recommendation to bet on the Phillies -1.5 against the spread.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Prediction NLCS Game 2
Starting pitchers: RHP Merrill Kelly vs. RHP Aaron Nola
If the Diamondbacks are going to steal a game in Philadelphia in this series, tonight is the night to do it.
Both teams have a clear top 2 in their starting rotations, but for Arizona, their No. 2 Merrill Kelly has been better than Game 1 starter Zac Gallen over the second half of the season. For Philadelphia, Game 2 starter Aaron Nola is a notch below their No. 1 ace Zack Wheeler. That gives the Diamondbacks a much more favorable pitching matchup tonight than they had last night.
Kelly logged a 3.38 ERA over the second half of the season and pitched 6-1/3 shutout innings against the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLDS. Gallen posted a more pedestrian 4.03 ERA over the second half and carried a 3.18 postseason ERA into Game 1. It might be a minor difference, but Kelly has indeed been more reliable recently.
While Nola has not quite been on Wheeler’s level, he has also been very good recently. He finished the season strong with a 2.60 ERA over his final three starts (17-1/3 innings) and has continued that performance so far in the playoffs with a 1.42 ERA over his first two starts against the Marlins (7 shutout innings) and Braves (2 earned over 5-2/3 innings).
However, Nola has shown some inconsistency this season which contributed to a down year overall, finishing with just a 4.46 ERA. He also fell apart at this point in the playoffs last season, allowing 6 earned over just 4-2/3 innings in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Padres.
A big difference this year is that last year’s game was on the road, and Nola is much better at home. He had a 3.29 ERA in 14 starts at home this season but just a 5.43 ERA on the road. For his career his home ERA (3.20) is more than a full point better than it is on the road (4.25).
Kelly’s home/road splits are working against him, as he had a 4.07 road ERA this season compared to 2.59 at home. For his career he has been much better at home (3.17) compared to on the road (4.48).
That could be a big factor in this game because – as you might have heard before – the Phillies have the best home field advantage in MLB postseason history. After their win last night, they are now 27-11 all-time at Citizens Bank Park in the playoffs. That .711 winning percentage is the highest of any team in any ballpark in postseason history (minimum 20 games). They have won 10 consecutive postseason home games against NL opponents going back to last season’s World Series run.
The Diamondbacks may have a more favorable pitching matchup than they had last night, but that doesn’t mean they have an advantage on the mound. At best tonight is a more even matchup, and Nola likely still has a slight edge being at home.
Until we see the Phillies lose a playoff game at home, we simply cannot pick against them. Last night we were so confident in the Phillies that we laid the -1.5 runs to bet them at +132 odds rather than taking the -165 moneyline. That pick paid off, and while we don’t feel quite as confident tonight, we still like the value at -1.5 much better than the moneyline.
We also advised staying away from the total last night since the pitching favored the under while the hot bats favored the over, and it seemed like too close of a call either way. Tonight we would lean towards the over, but once again we recommend a no play on this line and instead focus on backing the Phillies.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Prediction: Phillies win 6-4, Phillies -1.5 (+130)
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Odds
The Phillies are unsurprisingly a relatively heavy home favorite with -165 moneyline odds for Game 2, while the Diamondbacks are at +140 on the moneyline.
The Phillies are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +130 odds, while the Diamondbacks are getting +1.5 runs at -160 odds.
The over/under in this game is set at 7.5 at DraftKings and FanDuel, but it’s at 8 runs at most other sportsbooks including BetMGM and Caesars. At a line of 8, the odds favor the under at -115 while the over is at -105 or +100 depending on the book.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Diamondbacks vs. Phillies.
Aaron Nola vs. power hitters
The key for Aaron Nola tonight is preventing the Diamondbacks’ power hitters from blasting home runs. Arizona rampaged through the first two rounds of the playoffs undefeated thanks largely to their red-hot lineup that had mashed 13 dingers heading into this series, tied with the Phillies for the most of any playoff team (in 1 fewer games).
Allowing home runs was one of Nola’s biggest issues this season. The 32 round-trippers he allowed were tied for 7th most in the league. In his one start against Arizona this season, he allowed a 3-run shot to Ketel Marte, but that is the only home run he has allowed against any current Diamondbacks hitters in his career.
Marte is one of five Diamondbacks with at least 2 home runs so far in these playoffs. Corbin Carroll, Alek Thomas, Geraldo Perdomo and Marte all have 2 each, while Gabriel Moreno has 3.
The easiest way for the Diamondbacks to hush the raucous Philadelphia crowd is with an early homer. If Nola can avoid the big fly tonight, then we will feel much more confident in the Phillies -1.5 pick in our Diamondbacks vs. Phillies prediction.
One small advantage the Diamondbacks have after Game 1 is that they did not use any of their high-leverage relievers. On the other hand, Phillies manager Rob Thomson used (arguably) his three best relievers last night in Seranthony Domínguez, José Alvarado and closer Craig Kimbrel.
With an off day tomorrow, Thomson should still be able to use all three of those arms again tonight if necessary, but they will not be as fresh as the Diamondbacks’ top relievers like closer Paul Sewald, setup man Kevin Ginkel, righty Ryan Thompson or lefty Andrew Saalfrank.
The Phillies have a deep bullpen and should be OK with righties Jeff Hoffman and Orion Kerkering or lefties Matt Strahm and Gregory Soto. Thomson has used his bullpen very aggressively in the postseason, inserting his best relievers like Alvarado and Kimbrel earlier in games against the Braves rather than saving them for the 8th or 9th inning like he did last night. It will be interesting to see if he deploys a similar strategy tonight.
Diamondbacks vs. Phillies Starting Lineups (Projected)
Diamondbacks Starting Lineup
RF Corbin Carroll (L)
2B Ketel Marte (S)
DH Tommy Pham (R)
1B Christian Walker (R)
C Gabriel Moreno (R)
LF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (R)
CF Alek Thomas (L)
3B Evan Longoria (R)
SS Geraldo Perdomo (S)
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)