The Philadelphia Phillies (19-17) will face the Washington Nationals (13-18) to close out a three-game series on Thursday and complete the first of several series between these National League East foes this season. Last year, the Phillies won seven of 10 matchups over the Nationals, and Philadelphia got off to a nice start in the 2021 series with a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. The Nationals have lost six of seven overall, but they have one of their better starters on the mound for this one (despite what his numbers say).
Free Picks: Philadelphia Phillies vs Washington Nationals
Corbin’s on the rise, but Nationals are still surprising favorites
Patrick Corbin (1-3, 7.36 ERA) is not in nearly as rough of shape these days as his individual statistics show. Corbin, a major free agent signing for the Washington Nationals back in 2019 — currently amid a six-year, $140 million pact — had two nightmarish starts to open his season, and he’s been much better ever since.
After yielding 16 runs in his first two starts, Corbin has allowed nine runs over his past four. He also has a 2.70 ERA in his past five starts against the Philadelphia Phillies (all since 2019), and could very well be in line to keep up that level of production.
Still, the Nationals are a struggling team right now, and Corbin’s standing in the lineup is hardly enough to justify their odds as -116 money line favorites (10Bet) among Thursday’s MLB picks. The Phillies, who have won eight of their past 11 games in this NL East matchup, are -105 money line underdogs (10Bet). We think there’s some value here with the Phillies, which we’re happy to share.
On the mound for Philadelphia is Zach Eflin (2-1, 3.38 ERA), who has steadily pitched six or more innings in all seven starts this year. In five of those starts, including his two most recent ones, Eflin has allowed two or fewer runs.
He doesn’t have the most impressive numbers against Washington (2-2, 4.22 ERA in his past five starts), but he did go 1-0 over two starts against Washington last season, and his team won both games. Philadelphia has also been much stronger than Washington overall in 2021, winning six of its past eight games and moving within a game of first place in the division. It should also be noted that three of Philadelphia’s past four losses have come by just one run.
Oh, and Bryce Harper has been a bona fide difference maker for the Phillies this year, posting his best OPS so far (.992) since 2017. The one-time MVP with the Nationals is now in his third season playing for a division rival, and he’s still making them jealous. Harper homered against his old flame in Tuesday’s series opener while walking twice and scoring two runs.
Our BetPicks prediction is that Eflin, Harper and the Phillies will make oddsmakers question why they ever bestowed the “favorite” tag upon the Nationals.
- Philadelphia is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in six of the Phillies’ past 10 games
- Washington is 4-6 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in eight of the Nationals’ past 10 games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).