Buckle up, New Jersey online sports bettors. The Philadelphia Phillies have turned the National League East into an MLB thrill ride.
Suddenly, the words “first-place Phillies” are not far-fetched. They trail the New York Mets by one-half game for the division lead and now host them in a three-game weekend set.
If they win this series, the Phillies will hold the top spot entering the final 50 games of the season.
Sounds hard to believe, right?
What a week. On Aug. 1, the Phillies were 4.5 games out. But they have a five-game win streak, highlighted by 43 runs and five straight “over” tickets cashed, while the Mets are in a 1-4 tailspin.
The Phillies made up four games in five days and NJ online sportsbooks are responding.
Mets hit plus numbers
Early Friday morning, the Mets became +105 to win the division at Caesars Sportsbook, while the Phillies keep charging, all the way down to +220.
How big a move is this?
On July 16, the Phillies were +700 to win the NL East.
Two days later, they were at +450
After winning three straight games against the Washington Nationals early this week, they plummeted to +280.
After an unlikely come-from-behind Thursday victory and four-game road sweep, they went to +230.
Friday morning, they moved again.
Across the sportsbook spectrum, bettors who backed the Phillies a couple of weeks back ago feel good now.
And the Mets move in the opposite direction.
FanDuel Sportsbook listed the Mets at +110 and the Phillies +210 to take the NL East.
BetMGM listed the Mets -105 and the Phillies +210.
DraftKings Sportsbook opened Friday with the Mets at a sliding -115 and the Phillies +250.
What a time for a showdown.
Phillies-Mets series opener
The bullpens should be involved heavily in the first two games, as the starters have trouble getting through six innings. Starters may go deeper in the Sunday finale.
The Phillies opened at slight chalk with the over-under at 9 for the opener at DraftKings.
In Friday’s pitching matchup, it’s Marcus Stroman for the Mets and Kyle Gibson for the Phillies.
Stroman has given six runs in his last 10 innings.
In his last six outings, he has only gotten through the sixth inning once. His ERA is 2.80.
Gibson was obtained at the trade deadline and tap-danced through one bad inning to go 6.2 innings in Sunday’s 15-4 laugher against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Gibson pitched well except for a third-inning obstacle when he allowed four straight baserunners and a run with two outs. He was one hit away from a meltdown but he righted the ship. There is usually one big out he needs to get in the middle innings of a game.
Games like this are why the Phillies got him. His ERA is 2.86
Saturday is looking like a bullpen game
Saturday’s middle contest has “bullpens” written all over it. The Mets send effective rookie Tylor Megill against reliever-turned-starter Ranger Suarez.
Megill has a 2.68 ERA. He normally finishes five innings and that’s it.
Suarez debuted as a starter Monday and looked good for three innings with no hits and just one walk.
He may stretch out to 60-65 pitches here. Four innings would be a slight improvement, five would be a strong outing. His ERA is 1.04, based primarily on bullpen work.
Will Zach Wheeler close it out?
On Sunday, it’s Taijuan Walker for the Mets vs the Phillies ace Zack Wheeler, a former Met.
Walker has an ERA of 3.86. Wheeler’s is 2.57.
Walker has lost three straight and hasn’t completed six innings in his last seven starts.
Although Wheeler has pitched well against the rest of the league, the Mets touched him up for three and four runs on the two occasions they have faced him this year.
Wheeler nonetheless has completed seven innings in his last three starts.
Phillies vs. Mets head-to-head results
The Mets have an 8-5 season-series edge.
The Phillies missed a golden opportunity to make up ground in late June in a four-game set at Citi Field. They led all four games entering the final inning and only won two. They left New York where they started, five games out.
But here’s another chance.
Current trend: Phillies finding ways to win
It’s not just the five-game win streak, but it’s the variety that has provided encouragement.
The parade started with 20 hits in the Sunday victory.
Win No. 2 came with a five-run, ninth-inning rally on Monday.
The third triumph on Tuesday featured homers by Jean Segura, J.T. Realmuto, Ronald Torreyes, and Bryce Harper. It was complemented by a rare relief gem, a ninth-inning relief shutdown from Jose Alvarado to preserve a one-run victory.
The final two triumphs Wednesday and Thursday featured rallies from three-run deficits. And the last was most special.
The Phillies were down to their last out Thursday when Realmuto clouted a two-run game-tying double. And then Rhys Hoskins delivered the go-ahead two-run double.
The Phillies stole two games this week. This is the team’s best run of the season.
New York Mets bettors can buy on the dip
The team is playing below expectations and has a discount price to win the National League East. They have been un-bettable in that department since early in the season, but offer value now. Slugger Pete Alonso calls this “a little rut”.
For this series, the Mets are expected to have Alonso, Jeff McNeil, and Brandon Nimmo back. All have been hampered with hamstring problems for the last week.
On the flip side, this team is a hospital ward. All-world pitcher Jacob deGrom is out until September. He may return about the same time as Noah Syndergaard (Thor), who has not pitched all year.
Free-agent pickups Francisco Lindor (injured and a bust) along with Carlos Carrasco (just starting to pitch) have not helped the team, which still holds first place by a thread.
Intriguing MLB betting options
Over-under totals on hits for players like Harper, Segura, Hoskins, and Realmuto should be out there.
DraftKings already has runs per team and the race to four, five, and six runs.
You may see a series win prop too.
Good luck with it all.
It’s the Phillies and Mets, for first place.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum