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Ready to lock in your MLB bets? OddsJam’s MLB expert breaks down his top pick and prediction for today’s slate. Find the first five inning bet @BalesSJustin is eyeing below.
7:05 p.m. ET
Zack Wheeler is coming off of a season where he could have arguably won Cy Young. He’s back to being one of the best pitchers in MLB through 11 starts in 2022.
Overall, he boasts a 5-3 record with a 2.84 ERA. That ERA is backed by an elite 2.87 xFIP. Wheeler’s .325 BABIP suggests he’s gotten slightly unlucky up until this point in the season as well.
Philadelphia’s ace is a power pitcher who struggled early in the season because of the lack of Spring Training. He posted 5.34 and 6.59 xFIPs in his first two games of the season, allowing 8 earned runs over 7.2 innings.
He’s found his groove now, allowing only 8 earned runs over his last 50.2 innings. He’s allowed 2+ earned runs in only three of his last eight games. He also shut out his opponents in half of those starts. Furthermore, Wheeler’s posted a 2.50 xFIP or better in five of his last six starts.
One of the most important aspects of this bet is that Wheeler doesn’t feature wide home/road splits. His xFIP sits at 2.89 on the road compared to 2.86 at home. He’s slightly better against right-handed batters, although he throws at a high level against either handedness.
Wheeler gets a solid matchup against the Washington Nationals tonight. Washington was one of the hottest offenses in MLB for a short stretch, but they’ve cooled off since then. They rank 13th in MLB in team wOBA (.325) over the last 14 days.
The Nationals have been roughly an average offense against right-handed pitching throughout the season as well. They rank eighth in MLB in team batting average (.251) against righties, but that’s where the success ends.
Washington currently sits at 20th in the league in slugging percentage (.384) and 18th in OPS (.699) against righties. They make good contact but struggle with power and generally don’t work deep into counts.
The Nationals have been an average offense early in the game in 2022. They’re averaging 2.55 runs per game in the first five innings. That total dips slightly to 2.45 at home, though.
Wheeler, on the other hand, has found plenty of early-game success. He’s allowed only 5 earned runs in the first five innings of the game over his last eight starts.
The right-hander also owns a 2.95 xFIP the first time through the line. His xFIP dips to 2.24 the second time through. He’s a pitcher who hasn’t struggled until the third time through the order, and I don’t expect Washington to bat around many times that early in this game.
The only major concern at this point is the weather. It’s expected to storm earlier in the day, and the weather should be perfect for hitters by the time the game starts. Regardless, I’m backing one of the best arms in baseball to find success against an average offense.