The Phillies and Astros start a World Series rematch series in Houston on Friday night with two top end rotation arms taking the mound.
Aaron Nola hasn't gotten off to the start he wanted to this season, but some underlying metrics hint better times can be ahead for him. The same can't be said for Astros starter Framber Valdez, who is due for some negative regression.
Here are the odds for Friday's matchup and our best bet:
Phillies vs. Astros odds, spread and total
Phillies vs. Astros prediction and pick
Valdez has been stellar once again this season, posting a 2.25 ERA through five starts after posting a sub-3.00 ERA last season. However, this season feels a bit smoke and mirrors with his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.39.
The Phillies offense can get to Valdez. The team bats .270 against southpaws this season and I believe that the team can put pressure on the lefty with its ability to get the ball in play and put runners on the basepaths.
Further, Nola should start to reach his elite form again. After some rough early season outings, his ERA has ballooned to 5.40, but he has a FIP of 4.13, indicating that he needs some help in the field in order to see some more positive results. Yes, the Phillies grade out as one of the worst teams in the field, and the Astros are a dangerous lineup, but at this price I feel comfortable taking the Phils to pull a slight upset in the first game of this series.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.