The Dodgers are just so good. They’ve stormed out to a 20-9 record and a league-leading +78 run differential. The starters lead the league in ERA (1.82), the bullpen is fourth (2.64), and the lineup is fifth in OPS (.723).
Meanwhile, the Phillies are underperforming before the All-Star Break again. At 13-17, Philadelphia has already dug a 7.5-game hole in the NL East – although the Mets are seven games up on the second-place Braves.
It hasn’t really been the offense, which is above average. But the Phillies’ starters are average and their bullpen is bottom 10 in ERA (4.19).
Predictably, the Dodgers are favored. But the pitching matchup swings Philadelphia’s way.
Is there value with the Phillies in Los Angeles tonight?
Philadelphia Phillies vs Los Angeles Dodgers Odds
Right now, you can get the Phillies as high as +125 at Wynn and the Dodgers are juiced as high as -140 on Bet365.
Getting the Dodgers at -140 or less seems like a blessing. It’s only happened twice this season. However, even with good odds, it’s not always good to bet on the Dodgers.
If you bet L.A. every single time they were getting odds better than -140 since 2015, you’d have gone 144-170 for a -12.9% ROI and over 40 units of loss.
When I’m considering a Dodgers game, I almost automatically look towards the other side. But, the Dodgers are obviously likely to win the games they play in.
The Dodger pitching has been so good that they are 16-10-2 to the under this season. At 8 flat, the under is definitely worth a look, because Tyler Anderson has been wildly impressive this season.
Philadelphia Phillies Starting Lineup
LF Kyle Schwarber L
C J.T. Realmuto R
RF Bryce Harper L
DH Nicholas Castellanos R
1B Rhys Hoskins R
SS Didi Gregorius L
2B Jean Segura R
3B Bryson Stott L
CF Matt Vierling R
Philadelphia Phillies vs Tyler Anderson
Anderson’s tossed 22 ⅔ innings over five appearances and three starts so far this season. He’s done so with a 2.78 ERA while striking out close to nine batters per nine innings, and his 0.5 WAR has shown he’s been successful overall.
The Dodgers are happy to have a positive contributor slide into their rotation when needed. The pitching staff in L.A. is so good they can make anyone into a solid pitcher.
Anderson is great at evoking soft contact. He ranks above the 90th percentile of qualified pitchers in both avg. exit velocity (85.6mph) and hard-hit rate (29%). His xERA is right there with his actual ERA as a result.
But there are some concerning variables with Anderson. His soft-contact style will always post a low BABIP, but .250 is low (his career average is .295) and his 80% strand rate should regress as well. His 7.1% HR/FB rate is likely due to the suppressed run environment, but his career average is closer to 14%.
But can the Phillies take advantage of that?
Maybe. The Phillies have been hitting the ball hard, with both their 90mph avg. exit velocity and 44% hard-hit rate ranking in the top-five of MLB teams. Plus, their offense actually improves significantly on the road (101 home wRC+, 119 road wRC+).
Los Angeles Dodgers Starting Lineup
RF Mookie Betts R
1B Freddie Freeman L
SS Trea Turner R
DH Max Muncy L
3B Justin Turner R
C Will Smith R
CF Cody Bellinger L
LF Chris Taylor R
2B Gavin Lux L
Los Angeles Dodgers vs Zack Wheeler
Are we concerned about Wheeler’s start?
Maybe a little. His 4.10 ERA is high and his .315 BABIP should only regress about 15 points. But his ability to suppress hard contact (87.4mph) and barrels (2.7%) means his xERA is more than a point below (3.13).
But his velocity is way down. It’s down almost two ticks on his fastball after both his fastball and sinker after that fastball mix sat around 98mph last season. His changeup has lost some gas as well, although his offspeed stuff is relatively stable.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
And he has a stiff test today. This Dodger lineup is ridiculous.
Freddie Freeman has been the breakout star, obviously. He’s on pace for the second-best year of his career with a 163 wRC+ and a .401 wOBA. His xwOBA is even up over .435, indicating more positive regression coming from the former MVP.
But the current bWAR leader for this Dodgers team? Gavin Lux, who occupies the nine-spot in the daily lineup. That’s how impressive this Dodgers roster is.
Philadelphia Phillies vs Los Angeles Dodgers Pick & Prediction
My pick: Los Angeles Dodgers ML (-125 at WynnBet)
Whenever you’re getting close to -120 with L.A., it’s too good to pass up. In order to back this team, you usually have to pay -180 or more. So let’s back the 20-9 team at moderately good odds coming off a tough series loss to Pittsburgh.
Wheeler has to be overvalued. He’s one of the best pitchers in the league when he’s hot, but he seems to be having a hangover after almost winning the Cy Young last season.
He’s going to get destroyed by a Dodgers lineup that’s too talented. And Anderson plus the bullpen should be able to overpower a mostly average Phillies lineup.
When the odds are this low, I have to back L.A. They’re due.