Which NL East team will punch its ticket to the NLCS? The Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves have already faced off 19 times this season; now they will battle in a best-of-five series to advance one step closer to the World Series. Game 1 is scheduled to start at 1:07 p.m. ET on Tuesday at Atlanta’s Truist Park. Let’s make a pick for this series between two rivals.
Phillies vs. Braves odds
The Braves won 11 of 19 games against the Phillies this season, including a three-game sweep at home in September. However, basically every team suffered at the hands of the Braves during the season’s second half as Atlanta went 78-34 (.696 winning percentage) from June 1 on. They also led the National League in homers and slugging percentage. The Phillies didn’t do much hitting during their Wild Card Series victory over the Cardinals (.158 batting average, .549 OPS), but they didn’t need to do much with Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola on the mound. Those two silenced St. Louis and were both brilliant in their most recent start versus Atlanta.
Philadelphia is going to need more of that in this series to have a chance because neither their lineup nor bullpen is as deep or talented as Atlanta’s. But if the Braves can score a win off of one of those starters, this series is all but over. Phillies left-hander Ranger Suarez will get the ball in Game 1 before Wheeler and Nola show up. The Phils might have a real chance in this series if they can steal Game 1 with Suarez, but since the Braves recorded the third-best home record this year and the third-best OPS against southpaws, you should expect them to take an easy lead in this series today and leave Philadelphia with an extremely thin margin for error. Don’t bed against the red-hot reigning champs.
Pick: Braves -185