Late August is known as MLB crunch time

Garden State gamblers eye a late-season MLB betting puzzle. Their favorite teams, the Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, and New York Yankees, are at significant betting junctures.

The Phillies, who are leaking oil, must keep their season relevant in an upcoming 10-game stretch against three weak teams,  the Arizona Diamondbacks, Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals.

They slid from a two-game division lead on Aug. 8 to trailing the Atlanta Braves by five-and-a-half games entering the month’s final weekend. They are also six games out of the second wild card spot, held by the Cincinnati Reds.

The lowlights include four straight losses to the Diamondbacks, who are 44-85.

The Yankees are the rage of MLB. They enter the weekend on a 12-game win streak, their longest since 1961.  The Bombers are scorching the American League and are the top wild card seed.

They took a 5.5 game lead on the Oakland A’s, who are on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. The A’s and Yankees were set for three more weekend games.

The  Mets’ season is on life support.

A disheartening stretch against the big boys, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, put them 7.5 games out of first place. The Mets went 2-11 against those teams, losing seven by one run. Ouch.

Yet even they, with 14-straight games coming against the league’s worse teams, have a faint pulse.

Here are five New Jersey online baseball betting ideas on the Phillies, Yankees, and Mets

Crunchtime for the Phillies

The urgency lies behind the Phillies’ numbers. This is how they stood before the 10-game stretch against the also-rans.

Odds to make the playoffs via DraftKings Sportsbook:

  • Yes +425
  • No -550

Odds to win the NL East:

  • Atlanta -475
  • Philadelphia +525

Odds to win NL East via Caesars Sportsbook:

  • Atlanta -400
  • Phillies +400

New Jersey bettors who waited on award props involving Bryce Harper and Zack Wheeler have been rewarded.

Harper, once up to + 275 is +1500 at DraftKings. Fernando Tatis Jr. of the San Diego Padres is the -275 pacesetter.

Wheeler, the Cy Young favorite after a brilliant complete-game shutout against the Mets on Aug., 9, is +500.

Walker Buehler of the Dodgers is -115.

The numbers suggest Buehler has perhaps a one-meltdown edge over Wheeler. One terrible start by Buehler or a Wheeler complete-game gem could make them neck and neck.

MLB betting and wagering into weakness

The Phillies are where the books projected them to be.  They are on pace for the 80–82-win season forecast in March by Caesars (then William Hill) and DraftKings.

But they need more. They now must do what the Braves did in beating on bad teams.

The Braves assumed first place by going 9-0 against the Washington Nationals, Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins, who all tossed in their seasons at the July 30 trade deadline.

“The books are kind of in a bad spot over this,” Johnny Avello, the director of race and sports book operations for Draft Kings, told njgamblingsites. “The gamblers are loading up each night on good teams playing bad teams. The Chicago Cubs, the Nationals, the Marlins, the Orioles, etc., just don’t seem to win a game. (The 0’s lost 18 straight)

“It puts the books in a vulnerable position,” he added. “The gamblers don’t care what the price is.  They are laying three or four dollars sometimes.

“Now there are certain teams, like the Phillies, who badly on the road but play very well at home. You might be able to isolate on that. The Mets are capable of putting a lot of wins together too, but with their injuries this year, they just haven’t done so.

Now the Braves play the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers for three games each.

The Phillies need to make up ground several games over the next 10 days, to stay near the Braves. A 7-3 run for them and a 4-6 streak by the Braves would put the Phillies two games back with 25 games left.

But the wheels are nearly coming off for the Phillies. The team received some more bad news that Rhys Hoskins will not return this year. That’s a huge blow.

How do you handicap this MLB race?

Predicting the peaks and valleys can be profitable for NJ sports bettors.

When the Phillies seized first place in the first August weekend, their division odds went to +100 and the Braves became +240.

Seeing the soft schedule for Atlanta (which we highlighted here) bettors could have jumped on the Braves at that point, getting +240 compared to roughly -400 at most books now.

The pendulum swing would now suggest good odds on the Phillies. All they would have to do is dominate three teams who were 81 games below .500 on Aug. 27.

But that hasn’t been happening.

Here’s the extended version.

If the Phillies stay in it, look at September:

  • Four home games versus the Colorado Rockies
  • Four versus the Chicago Cubs
  • Three against the Orioles
  • Four against the Pittsburgh Pirates

The combined records of those teams, entering this stretch, was 201-309.

Opportunity is there. But will the Phillies take advantage of it?

How did the NY Yankees get their grove back?

A tip of the hat to the Yankees. DraftKings had them at +1600 to win the World Series at the All-Star break.

Now they are +800 after a blistering run.

The third shortest priced DraftKings World Series matchup is the Yankees versus the Los Angeles Dodgers, +1100.

Their best action bet could be +400 to win the American League pennant, at DraftKings and Caesars.

Remember that 46-43 mark for the Yankees at the All-Star break? It became 75-52 before the last August weekend, a 29-9 surge.

The Yankees thrived by acquiring Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo at the trade deadline. The stars produced and make other Yankee hitters tougher to pitch around.

Manager Aaron Boone also unveiled some gutsy decisions.  Reliever Aroldis Chapman, once unhittable, has become flammable. Opponents have been lighting him up. Boone has pulled his ineffective closer during the ninth inning and newcomers have picked up the slack.

Mets schedule even friendlier

The Mets have no less than 14 consecutive games coming against the Marlins and Nationals, even a five-game series on the road.

They have played poorly, but if they were ever going to wake up, this is the time. And the price of +1100 is attractive.

Can they make up seven games?

Early in August, they were still -200 to win the NL East. Caesars has them at +1300.

AP Photo/Matt Slocum

About

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.