Hi Scott, nice write up.
I have given a look to the code and tested it, and I have seen several things.
Though it is true that you only write one container, Flutter creates, under the hood, the same amount of widgets on both cases. Just give a look to Widget inspector.
And if you activate the “Toggle Debug Point” button, you will see that you don’t get the same result. The text widget is not centered nor padded in the same way.
It is true that you write more widgets in the first case, but I think you gain flexibility to have the properties applied where you want.