It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Braves have rattled off 8 wins in a row as they’ve not only surpassed Philadelphia in the East, but built up a 2.5 game cushion. The Atlanta offense is clicking right now, but the teams is actually a slight underdog (ATL +100) vs. the Phillies (-110) in the MLB free betting pick June 15th. Philadelphia has a pitching edge in this contest – on paper at least – but how do you go against Atlanta’s momentum right now?
Is Nola Back to Being Nola for the Phillies?
The major reason why Philadelphia is listed at -110 in the MLB free betting pick June 15th despite losing 4 of their last 5 is because Aaron Nola is getting the start. Everybody knows how great the right-hander has been in the past, but he’s been a bit shaky this season. That was especially true at the beginning of the year when Nola allowed 4+ ER in 3 of his first 4 starts. He largely has tightened things up since then, but has allowed 9 ER over his past two starts (13 IP) including allowing 6 at San Diego on June 3rd. Nola was sharp vs. the Braves in the season opener (2 hits, 1ER, 6.0 IP) but Atlanta is grooving right now.
The Phillies may be in a bit of a rut losing 4 of 5, but they had won 4 in a row prior. It’s not like the Philadelphia offense has gone into the tank either, after all they held a 7-2 lead going into the bottom of the 7th on Friday before Atlanta rattled off 7 runs in the final 3 innings. The Phillies have scored 7+ in 5 of the last 9 games and Scott Kingery has went yard 4 times in the last 6. The Philadelphia offense collectively bats just .176 vs. Atlanta starter Newcomb, but Bryce Harper has gone 3-9 with 2 HR while Cesar Hernandez is 3-7 with two doubles vs. the left-hander.
Can Atlanta Keep Walking On the Thin Line?
The Braves are looking like the team to beat in the NL East after getting to the Philadelphia bullpen and erasing the Phillies’ 95.3% win probability in the 9th inning Friday. It was the 8th straight win for Atlanta who has outscored opponents 92-66 in winning 11 of the last 13. The Braves have been helped considerably by the callup of Austin Riley who had a big double on Friday and has hit 10HR’s in 27 games. The Braves have a tough pitching matchup vs. Nola, but Ronald Acuna, Jr. has gone 3-7 and Josh Donaldson (appealing 1 game suspension) 3-8 vs. the Philly starter. Nick Markakis also has an OBP of over .571 the past 7 games and is one of 8 Atlanta batters over .400 over that span.
The question mark for Atlanta in the MLB free betting pick June 15th isn’t really their offense although Nola is tough, it’s starter Sean Newcomb. The lefty is trying to find his spot after he was a starter earlier in the year, then moved to the minors, then called up but as a reliever. Saturday will be Newcomb’s first start since April 13th. Max Fried going just 4.2 IP on Friday doesn’t do any favors for Atlanta’s bullpen which will likely be put into action early with Newcomb not having the endurance of a starter. Philadelphia’s ‘pen is stretched pretty thin too though both with injuries and poor performances.
MLB Free Betting Pick June 15th
Nola is going to have to be great on Saturday and with Philadelphia favored at -110 it looks like he probably will. Can Nola go 9 innings though with the paper thin Phillies bullpen? Also, is his success guaranteed both with the Atlanta bats being on fire and the way Nola has struggled the last two? The Braves are probably going to give up some runs today with Newcomb inexperienced and not-likely-to-go-deep-into-the-game as a starter. If Atlanta can do their part this game should be another high scoring one.
MLB Free Pick: Phillies / Braves *Over* 9.5