Here’s the hot MLB betting question of the moment: Can the Philadelphia Phillies make this a month of the ages?
But we aren’t just talking about suddenly being legitimate contenders for the NL East crown. New Jersey online bettors are pondering different scenarios as the Phillies and a couple of their star players – slugger Bryce Harper and all-star pitcher Zack Wheeler – savor a substantial NJ sports betting odds surge.
Let’s examine the betting trajectory inspired by Philadelphia’s season-best win streak, halted at eight games Tuesday night by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The surge has them holding a one-game NL East lead on Aug. 11.
Phillies odds shifting across the board
Wheeler has rocketed upward from roughly +1500 at DraftKings Sportsbook to the +175 chalk for the National League Cy Young Award in the past couple of weeks. He’s the king, right now.
Harper rose all the way to +275 for the MVP award in a similar move. He is second only to Fernando Tatis of the San Diego Padres, +100.
The team steadily shot forward.
In mid-July, the Phillies were +750 at Caesars Sportsbook (William Hill at the time) to win the NL East. It had been a foregone conclusion that the New York Mets would seize this crown.
But that foregone conclusion is, well, gone, now that the Mets are in a 3-9 tailspin and leaking oil.
The Phillies went as low as +105 before settling to +110 at Caesars and +140 at DraftKings on Aug. 11.
NL Cy Young betting
Here’s a sportsbook look at Wheeler and the current NL Cy Young race.
We previously mentioned the Wheeler odds at DraftKings. Here are some of the other top contenders:
- Walker Buehler, Dodgers, + 300
- Brandon Woodruff, Brewers, +525
- Corbin Burnes, Brewers, +650
- Kevin Gausman, Giants, +850
- Max Scherzer, Dodgers, +1500
The Caesars board is similar with one distinction. Gausman is +550. A Gausman bettor will wager at DraftKings.
Shopping for Harper MVP odds
Harper represents a book shopping opportunity at Caesars.
He is the +325 second choice there for the MVP behind Tatis at +100.
Max Muncy, of the Dodgers, is next at + 500
Trea Turner, from the Dodgers, is +800 followed by Freddie Freeman of the Braves at +1200.
When to consider a bet: these are momentum moves
Wheeler has risen so much that it pays to wait for his bettors. He had been subtly climbing until, boom, a nine-inning gem against the Mets with 11 strikeouts and only three baserunners on Sunday.
Bettors trying to jump on Wheeler futures found that the books had in effect already baked Sunday’s masterpiece into the line.
Wheeler is having a great season, but in 33 innings before Sunday’s gem, he’d yielded 16 runs. That’s almost 4.50 per game. A so-so future start would likely enhance his betting value.
Wheeler will probably pitch against the Cincinnati Reds this weekend.
“This bet is boiling down to what have you done lately,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told NJ Gambling Sites “Wheeler was way down and for a good reason when you consider that Jacob deGrom was the overwhelming favorite and now, he’s reportedly out until September.
“Who is going to step up? A lot can still change. We’ve got Max Scherzer at +1400, he can always be a threat.”
Scherzer’s bid to bolster his odds looked good Tuesday until a rain delay cut short a beauty of a scoreless pitching duel between himself and Aaron Nola. Scherzer fanned six in 3. 1 innings. Both pitchers could not return from the lengthy delay.
Right now ‘Harper is hot’
Harper’s rise, from roughly the same betting origin, reflects a sharp move.
Before the Dodgers series, he led the majors in OPS since the all-star break at 1.256. OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) unites a player’s ability to get on base, along with power.
How hot is Harper?
The all-time OPS leader set a career mark of 1.11636.
And it was Babe Ruth.
This is the third year of Harper’s gargantuan contract and the first time he’s produced a streak that reflects it.
“We all expect Harper to be in the running for this every year,” Avello said. “He hasn’t put up those kinds of numbers but this year, right now, he’s hot”
What do the numbers imply?
Harper is on a pace that’s difficult to sustain. He is, in betting terms, expensive.
The saga of Phillies NL East futures
The Phillies’ rise up the division ladder, meanwhile, has been steadier. Their win streak and the Mets’ nosedive occurred simultaneously.
The Mets hit plus numbers for the first time in the wee hours of Aug. 6, just before the recent three-game set between the teams
And here was the Caesars sportsbook saga:
On Aug. 7 after the Phillies won the series opener, 4-2:
- Mets +155
- Phillies +170
On Aug 8, after the Phillies won the second game, 5-3:
- Phillies +120
- Mets + 190
On Aug 9, following Wheeler’s 3-0 pitching gem and Philadelphia’s series sweep:
- Phillies +120
- Atlanta Braves +200
- Mets +225
And it kept going, like a stock with momentum after trading hours. The Phillies began play Tuesday night nearly in minus numbers.
“That division is really up for grabs now,” said Avello. “There is always a lot of Mets money being bet, but they appear to be faltering now and the Phillies are moving in the opposite direction.
“It’s a three-team race.”
Possible buy points for bettors who like certain teams.
Phillies’ upcoming MLB schedule
The Phillies have a tough upcoming schedule:
They are in the midst of three games against the Dodgers.
Then it’s three at home against the Reds.
Then comes three road games against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the only sub-.500 team on this list
That’s followed by three against the Padres and two against the Tampa Bay Rays.
A Phillies bettor can wait. Odds have come down but will rise if the team hits turbulence.
Do the Atlanta Braves have value?
On Wednesday morning, the Braves dropped from +240 at DraftKings to +190. And from +230 at Caesars to +200.
There’s a feeling this team move into first before the weekend begins. And this bet may soon lose value.
Atlanta trails the Phillies only by one game. After a three-game set with the Reds, it faces three teams whose seasons are over, in succession: the Miami Marlins, Baltimore Orioles, and Washington Nationals.
And then they battle New York Yankees.
If the Braves tumble below +150, bettors may figure they missed this train. And try to catch the next one.
New York Mets: season on the line
Considering their recent slide and upcoming schedule, they are not attractively priced.
What’s worse than a 3-9 run?
Starting Friday, the Mets face the Dodgers and San Francisco Giants 13 straight times.
They are on the verge of falling out of it.
AP Photo/Derik Hamilton