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MLB odds: Phillies vs. Nationals prediction, odds, pick, and more – 8/2/2021

Phillies, Nationals

The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals will open a four-game series at Nationals Park on Monday evening. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Phillies-Nationals prediction and pick.

Philadelphia is trying to work their way back into the National League East race as they’re just 3.5 games back of the Mets. Washington, on the other hand, has dealt away their best players and has all but conceded their season. The Phillies have to find a way to take care of business against the bottom of the division if they want to play into October.

Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Phillies-Nationals odds.

MLB Odds: Phillies-Nationals Odds

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Philadelphia Phillies -1.5 (+140)

Washington Nationals +1.5 (-160)

Over 8.5 Runs (-115)

Under 8.5 Runs (-105)

Why The Phillies Could Cover The Spread

Philadelphia has been sticking around in a weak division despite having a losing record at 52-53 on the season. They’ve been terrific at home and horrible on the road in an up-and-down type of year. The Phillies are 21-32 on the road with a -0.30 average run differential. Philadelphia has lost four of their last five road games and could really use a solid four-game road series to get back on track. Washington has virtually thrown in the towel, leaving a huge opportunity for the Phillies to further climb in the division.

Philadelphia will turn to Ranger Suarez for the series opener. Suarez is returning to the rotation for his first start since the 2018 season thanks to some impressive numbers out of the bullpen. The southpaw has been one of the most effective pitchers for the Phillies with a 1.12 ERA in 27 relief appearances. Although Suarez has yet to throw more than 50 pitches in a game this season, he will have a favorable matchup in his first start. The southpaw has a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA through 6.1 innings against the Nats in 2021.

Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread

The Washington Nationals will not look to replicate their 2019 season as they’ve officially thrown in the towel in 2021. The Nationals dealt away all of their key players including Trae Turner, Max Scherzer, and Kyle Schwarber, to name a few. Although they play in one of the weakest divisions in baseball, the Nationals find themselves in fourth place in the NL East. They are actually still three games above .500 at home thanks to wins in five of their last seven games at Nationals Park. Throw all recent numbers out the window however as this is a whole new ball club that is much younger and more inexperienced.

Washington will turn to rookie right-hander Josiah Gray for the series opener. The 23-year-old starter has a 6.75 ERA through two Major League appearances. He has yet to see the fifth inning and has shown alarming control issues over his first eight innings of work. Gray certainly has put-away stuff, but limiting the walks will be a key for this start. We can’t hang our hats on his work this far as this is the Nationals’ top overall prospect who has the ability to shut down any lineup on any given night.

Final Phillies-Nationals Prediction & Pick

I am rolling with the Philadelphia Phillies in the series opener. The Phillies simply have more to play for and have a huge edge in talent and experience. I expect Washington to be competitive despite their deadline activity, but that competitiveness shouldn’t translate to too many wins. Ranger Suarez may not work into the fourth or fifth inning, which leaves some room for concern with the Phillies struggling bullpen. I expect this series to help some of the relievers work out their kinks and hopefully figure a few things out down the stretch, though.

FINAL PICK: Philadelphia Phillies ML (-114)