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The Mets and Phillies will square off in a National League East showdown on Sunday Night Baseball. The Mets have gotten off to a phenomenal start this season, racking up a 31-17 record through their first 48 games. That trails only the Dodgers in the NL -- and it has given the Mets a massive leg up on a weak division. None of the other squads are above .500 and the Mets own an 8 1/2-game lead over the second-place Braves. That gives them the largest lead in any division in baseball.
The Phillies have dropped the first two games of this series, bringing them to just 21-26 for the year. That’s a big disappointment for a team that entered the year with big expectations.
Can they avoid a sweep on Sunday night? Let’s dive into some of my favorite wagers for Sunday Night Baseball on the DraftKings Sportsbook.
Kyle Schwarber over 0.5 home runs (+350)
When looking at the home run props in this matchup, the Phillies appear to be the preferred target. Mets starter Chris Bassitt has struggled with the long ball this season, allowing 1.53 homers per nine innings. Zack Wheeler has allowed just 0.40 homers per nine innings, so the Phillies seem more likely to hit the ball over the fence on Sunday night.
Bassitt’s struggles have come primarily against left-handed hitters. He owns a 5.25 FIP in that split and opposing left-handers have averaged two homers per nine innings against Bassitt this season.
The Phillies’ lineup is primarily composed of right-handed hitters, but they have two massive exceptions: Schwarber and Bryce Harper. Harper is undoubtedly the better hitter of the two, but Schwarber is just as capable of going deep and is available at a slightly better price tag. Schwarber ranks in at least the 90th percentile in barrel rate, average exit velocity and hard-hit rate this season -- so when he makes contact, the ball tends to go a long way.
Schwarber also typically loves facing the Mets. He’s posted a 1.077 OPS for his career in that matchup and he’s hit 16 homers in 38 career games.
Luis Guillorme over 0.5 hits (-215)
Guillorme got off to a dreadful start this season. He went hitless through his first 12 at-bats, which caused him to shave off his trademark beard.
Since then, Guillorme has been nearly impossible to get out. He’s increased his batting average to .352 for the year, including a sizzling .377 against right-handed pitchers. At home, he owns a ridiculous .444 batting average against right-handed pitchers.
Guillorme moved to the leadoff spot in the lineup on Saturday and he responded with another three hits. If Brandon Nimmo remains out of the lineup -- he’s currently dealing with a right wrist injury -- Guillorme could find himself in the leadoff spot again on Sunday. Wheeler represents a tough matchup, but Guillorme is a great bet to get at least one hit with the potential for five plate appearances. Make sure to monitor the lineup, but Guillorme is underpriced if he’s at the top of the lineup.
Zack Wheeler under 6.5 strikeouts (-155)
Wheeler is one of the best pitchers in baseball. He was dominant for the Phillies last season, pitching to a 2.78 ERA with a 10.42 K/9 over 213 1/3 innings. That was good enough for a second-place finish in the NL Cy Young voting.
His traditional metrics aren’t quite as impressive this year -- his ERA has dipped slightly to 3.38 -- but his 2.33 FIP is actually a slight improvement. He also continues to strike out batters at a strong clip, racking up 10.13 strikeouts per nine innings.
However, the Mets are a brutal matchup from a strikeout perspective. New hitting coach Eric Chavez has emphasized the importance of making contact and the Mets have done a great job of that this season. They’ve struck out in just 18.8 percent of at bats against right-handed pitchers, which is the lowest mark in the league.
Wheeler managed just three whiffs in his first start vs. the Mets this season. That was his first outing of the year and he faced just 19 batters, but his 5.79 K/9 was his lowest mark from his eight total starts. The under has been juiced up to -155, but I will gladly pay that price in a brutal matchup.
Phillies over 3.5 runs (-125)
While Wheeler gives the Phillies the clear pitching edge in this matchup, Bassitt has been no slouch for the Mets. He’s posted a 3.91 ERA through his first nine starts and he’s allowed one earned run or fewer in five outings. That includes his only previous start vs. the Phillies, whom he limited to just one run over 5 2/3 innings.
However, Bassitt has started to show some vulnerability. He’s allowed 12 total earned runs over his past two starts and his advanced metrics suggest more regression could be coming. His 4.54 FIP is still higher than his ERA and opposing batters are making quality contact against him. They’ve made hard contact on 36% of batted ball events, which is the third-worst mark of his career.
The Phillies’ offense has not lived up to expectations this season, but they are still loaded with outstanding hitters. Harper, Schwarber, Nick Castellanos, Rhys Hoskins and J.T. Realmuto are all capable of doing damage in the batter’s box, so this is not an easy lineup to navigate. I think they can get to Bassitt on Sunday night.
No runs in the first inning (-135)
I typically like to bet on a run being scored in the first inning. It’s the only inning in which both teams are guaranteed to have their top three hitters come to the plate and it is routinely the highest-scoring inning for the year. From 1921 through 2018, the first inning was the highest scoring inning of the season 85 times, good for a nearly 87% clip. The Mets have scored in the first inning 37.5% of the time this season -- the seventh-highest mark in the Majors -- while the Phillies have scored in the first inning 29.8% of the time.
However, I’m going to back the pitchers to keep the offenses off the board to start the game on Sunday. Wheeler has been absolutely elite in the first inning this season. He’s yet to allow a single run in the opening frame -- and he’s allowed just eight total hits in 33 plate appearances. Bassitt hasn’t been quite as dominant, but he still owns a respectable 4.00 ERA in the opening inning. His problems have come in the second and third time through the lineup, so he should be able to keep the Phillies at bay to start the game.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mlamarca) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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