MLB Weekend Preview: Phillies-Blue Jays Games Postponed Amid Virus Concerns

The Philadelphia Phillies games versus Toronto were postponed in hopes of containing a COVID-19 outbreak. Here’s an MLB weekend betting update.

Call this one an intentional walk.

MLB teams hope to pitch around danger — a COVID-19 outbreak that could scuttle the entire 60-game season — by postponing the Philadelphia Phillies-Toronto Blue Jays series this weekend at Citizens Bank Park.

The decision came Thursday, following the results of daily tests the Phillies have administered since Monday. That’s when news first emerged that several Miami Marlins had tested positive for the virus, possibly before even coming to Philadelphia for the season-opening series last weekend.

The Marlins were kept in the city and the Phillies began testing. All good, until now.

Here’s the full statement from the Philadelphia Phillies organization:

The Marlins and Phillies lose, at the least, an entire week of games as baseball tries to quarantine the virus.

This weekend’s postponement looks like an extension of the hope that the virus came from one place, affecting the Marlins and by extension the Phillies. If that theory is correct, the virus can be effectively locked down before it spreads to other teams.

If another one or two clubs get affected in a separate breakout, baseball will have to weigh shutting down a season restart that has uplifted bettors and the sportsbooks.

Avello hails MLB impact at DraftKings

Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings Sportsbook, told NJ Gambling Sites that the season-opening New York Yankees-Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers games were a home run on the handle.

“It was one of our best nights ever,” he said, “and that includes World Series games. The people could not wait for baseball to come back and now here it is. Baseball is very strong and is doing well for us.”

A PointsBet official mirrored the sentiment Thursday, saying the MLB opening weekend was its best ever in terms of both bets placed and overall handle.

That includes:

  • 25% increase in bets placed vs. last year’s opening weekend (March 28 – April 1, 2019)
  • 19% increase in overall handle vs. last year’s opening weekend (March 28 – April 1, 2019)

Yankees vs. Nationals was the highest handle ever (including playoffs) for the company on a single MLB game. It crushed last year’s World Series Game 7 (and the Yanks-Nats game wasn’t even completed, so it still had in-play potential)

FanDuel Sportsbook officials have expressed similar satisfaction with MLB throughout this week.

That’s what makes the Phillies-Jays postponement, or the figurative intentional walk, a big decision. Much is riding on COVID-19 containment.

Phillies vs. Blue Jays postponed

As MLB weekend number two dawns, the Phillies, Yankees, and New York Mets and — sentimental favorites of New Jersey online bettors — have given gamblers an interesting sample.

The Yankees have been lights out while the Phillies and Mets have been entertaining, yet vulnerable.

The Phillies are 1-2 both as a favorite and in the standings. They incurred one unique element last Friday, falling to the Miami Marlins as a huge favorite while getting 96% of DraftKings betting support.

Given a week of postponements, the Phillies and Marlins will usher in a new era of MLB’s 60-game season. Doubleheaders will reign supreme, and the games will occur back-to-back, not afternoon-evening as the system exists now.

That will delight the purists, just as the return of other major sports in clusters (think UFC every weekend) has been highly supported by bettors.

Doubleheaders are a bit more relevant in a 60-game season

This will become a significant betting area because a majority of doubleheaders are split. Teams often field two different lineups for the games, rest people for the long haul, and can live going 1-1.

But now? A doubleheader sweep would be the equivalent of winning five straight games in a 162-game schedule. It will be interesting to see whether teams field virtually the same lineup in both games now that there is more urgency in each contest.

Nonetheless, the percentage will be that whichever team loses the first game will be heavily supported in the second. And there should be more runs, as bullpens will be used heavily.

Mets vs. Braves: Leadup games came down to the wire

The Mets finished midweek with a 3-3 mark overall. They were 1-3 both at home and as a favorite, 2-0 on the road and as a dog.

The Mets dangled an opportunity for the minority who wanted to go against them Wednesday. Even at a price of -200 at DraftKings, they took 97% of the money with Jacob deGrom on the hill against the Boston Red Sox.

The Boston backers, at +172, had hopes raised when the game became 3-3 in the middle innings, and deGrom was gone.

That’s how you beat a big chalk. Extend the game into the bullpens. And the Mets have been vulnerable there.

The in-game wager provided another opportunity and revealed a two-batter roller-coaster.

At DraftKings, the visiting Red Sox were +330 in the bottom of the seventh when the Mets had runners on first and second with one out of the 3-3 game.

A great price if the Red Sox get out of the inning. But it was a big “if.”

An infield out pushed the runners to second and third with two outs and moved the odds down to +180. The Red Sox got out of the inning and the line shriveled to +115.

Boom, two batters changed a potential monster return into an average bet. That’s the lure of in-game. The big bet had to be made for the Red Sox at the moment of highest risk, while the Mets were threatening to take the lead.

Boston won 6-5, snapping a four-game losing streak.

The Red Sox get to stay in New York all week, next facing the Yankees. The Mets will travel to Atlanta to face the Braves in a rematch. Atlanta took two of three from them last weekend.

Red Sox vs. Yankees: Starting the season on a high note

The New York Yankees are proving to be money in the bank?

The Yankees were favored in three of their first four games and were 2-1 as a favorite, 1-0 as an underdog, by midweek. They have not played at home yet.

In the betting world, they have been a luxury item: expensive, but classy.

New York is 2-0 when Gerrit Cole pitches, but it was hard to make money in his last start. That came Wednesday, against the lowly Baltimore Orioles, and you had to lay a -380 on him at DraftKings.

One had to make a prop stab at that game or parlay the moneyline with several others.

Even the Yankees at -1.5 runs, the great equalizer in baseball betting, only brought the line to -235 at FanDuel Sportsbook. One had to go prop hunting: Giancarlo Stanton to homer in a Yankees win was +250 and Cole to strike out 10 batters was +114 for the over and -144 for the under.

Playable at least. The under won this prop, as he fanned seven. Stanton did not homer.

The Yankees won 9-3. There are bettors who laid close to 4-1 odds for what was believed to be a near-certain result. But all it takes is a couple of losses at those odds and one can be playing catchup for a long time.

The Yankees host the Red Sox this weekend and will likely be favored.

But their third and fourth starters will have to pitch, so they will probably be a reasonable price for NJ sports betting fans. There will be plenty of Red Sox action, too.

Flyers, Eagles, Sixers, Or Phillies: Which Team Has The Best Chance At A Championship?

The Flyers, Phillies, and Sixers will all be back in action by this weekend. The Eagles kick off in September. The odds of a championship run vary for each.

Which Philadelphia sports team is most likely to bring a trophy home this year?

The question gains relevance for two reasons. One, the Flyers, Sixers, and Phillies will have resumed their seasons as of the upcoming weekend, while the Eagles are never off the betting radar.

And two, all of the teams are good.

Let’s rank title chances with personal analysis and odds at major NJ online sports betting apps, including DraftKings and FanDuel. All odds are as of July 28.

The Philly team with the best chance of a title may not be the team that immediately comes to mind.

Flyers: Can they win the Stanley Cup in 2020?

Stanley Cup OddsDraftKingsFanDuelFox BetPointsBetSugarHouseBetMGM
Philadelphia Flyers+1000+1100+1100+1050+1000+2500

Bet you didn’t know the Flyers were THE hottest team in the entire NHL before the COVID-19 shut down in March.

They had a 9-1 run, advanced to 89 points, and had joined the league’s elite. They went almost a month without losing a game.

Only the Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, and Vegas Golden Knights have shorter odds than the Flyers.

Philadelphia has the same odds as the St. Louis Blues, the defending Stanley Cup champions, at FanDuel Sportsbook. Over at BetMGM, the Blues have the higher odds.

Still, Flyers are in the top 10 for a Stanley Cup run.

This is a young team that improved dramatically on defense this season and has magic with first-year head coach Alain Vigneault. He piloted the New York Rangers to the Cup finals in 2014 and his teams historically enjoy a first-season spike.

The Flyers have four 20-goal scorers in Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Kevin Hayes. Goaltender Carter Hart is capable of leading this team all the way to the Stanley Cup.

What might deny them? The team does not have a prolific individual scorer and backup goalie Brian Elliott is too big of a dropoff.

Uncertain intangible? The puck has not been dropped in nearly five months.

Good intangible? The Flyers are a strong team at home and away. That should carry over into a neutral site, such as Toronto, where they will play all their Eastern Conference post-season games.

The Flyers are on the right track to win their first Stanley Cup since 1974-75. Is this the time or are they still a year away?

Eagles: Can the Birds make a return to the Super Bowl?

Super Bowl OddsDraftKingsFanDuelFox BetPointsBetSugarHouseBetMGM
Philadelphia Eagles+2000+1900+2000+2000+2000+2000

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Eagles and Sixers at roughly the same odds to hoist a championship trophy.

I lean to the Eagles ahead of the Sixers because they have a Super Bowl triumph and two playoff appearances in the last three seasons.

This is an elite December team and had quarterback Carson Wentz not been injured early in the playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks last year, they may have advanced to the next round.

The team has discipline and character. It is strong at the tight-end position. The Eagles need a power back, a marquee receiver, and stability at quarterback.

Wentz continues to tease Eagles backers, but he hasn’t been the same in his last two seasons back from injury. And now that his playoff injury from last year is on the ledger, his durability is a major question mark.

So is his mobility, without which his passing will suffer. Wentz is not on the level of a Patrick Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterbacks from February’s Super Bowl.

Nonetheless, he manages a game well. Wentz has nearly three touchdowns per interception over his four-year career. That’s an exceptional ratio. He’s done this without a stellar wide-receiving group.

If the Eagles keep him healthy and supply protection in the form of a running game and breakout receiver, they will become a Super Bowl threat again.

Sixers: What are the odds they’ll be 2020 NBA champs?

NBA Finals OddsDraftKingsFanDuelFox BetPointsBetSugarHouseBetMGM
Philadelphia 76ers+2000+2000+1800+2000+2000+2500

Will the real Sixers please stand up?

The Sixers have a 39-26 record broken into two startling sections as they prepare for the end-of-season games and the post-season in Orlando, Fla.

At home, they are the best team in the NBA. How about 29-2? That’s better than the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks, the +250 co-title favorites at DraftKings. That’s better than the Los Angeles Clippers, the next best at BetMGM, +325.

Yet the Sixers are 20-1 at most NJ sportsbooks for a championship because of two words: the road.

There, they are worse than the non-playoff bound New York Knicks, who are 21-45 overall, just 10-23 on the road.

Go figure the contrast: better than the Lakers, worse than the Knicks.

Philadelphia will probably land between its home and road extremes at the neutral site. On a given night, they can beat anyone and should be fully healthy now. But can they do it often enough?

This Sixers rise and fall with the outside shooting of its players. This is a tall team that plays away from the basket.

The Sixers have stars. Joel Emblid averages 23.4 points a game. Ben Simmons clicks at 58% field-goal percentage and averages 16.4 per game. He declared himself 100% healthy after a four-month rehab for his ailing back. Tobias Harris chips in more than 19 points a game.

Matisse Thybulle can get scorching hot off the bench in a hurry.

A prevailing sentiment before the mid-March shutdown was that if the Sixers could steal a road game in a playoff series, they would capture that series. Even for a championship.

This team may be a year or so away from their best performance, but their theme song “Here Come the Sixers” is appropriate. They’re coming.

Phillies: To be or not to be at the 2020 World Series?

World Series OddsDraftKingsFanDuelFox BetPointsBetSugarHouseBetMGM
Philadelphia Phillies+3000+3200+3000+2500+3000+2500

Excitement reigned when the Phillies signed Bryce Harper before last season. And they became the talk of the baseball world at 33-22 early last year.

But their bullpen failed miserably, and this team ran out of gas. They finished 81-81, or 11 games under .500 for roughly two-thirds of the season.

Nothing indicates they will rise much beyond .500, despite the heavy amount of over 31.5 season-wins backers at New Jersey sportsbooks for the 60-game season.

Off-season pickups this year included manager Joe Girardi, who will elevate the team. Didi Gregorious will help at shortstop and Zack Wheeler was a good pitching pickup, but this team needed a Gerrit Cole.

There are some nice pieces to this team, but they don’t all fit together. The Phillies need more speed at the top of their order and a lights-out closer.

This is a reasonably good team, but probably not good enough.

MLB Betting Rewind: Phillies Falter, Yankees Triumph, And Dog Cutout Fetches Home Run

It was a ruff day for one Mets cardboard cutout, as a Braves home run hit the “dog’s head.” Meanwhile, the Phillies fell flat, and Marlins bettors won big.

The Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets and New York Yankees shared a rare distinction this past weekend.

All three teams were favored in every game they played.

How did they do as the anointed chalk? Mixed bag.

The Yankees went 2-1 on the road against the Washington Nationals. The Phillies were 1-2 against the Miami Marlins at home, and the Mets had a significant ninth-inning collapse Saturday followed by a blowout loss Sunday. They went 1-2 at home against the Atlanta Braves.

Phillies roller coaster ride vs. Marlins

The Phillies were victims of the highest split-percentage meltdown of the weekend on Friday. Then they failed as a -225 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook on Sunday.

On Friday, we mentioned the “just because” money the Phillies could get because of pent-up betting demand on opening day.

Indeed, the Phillies took an astounding 96% of moneyline bets at DraftKings. The Marlins took 4% at +170 for the opening game and a few bettors were handsomely rewarded.

Miami’s 5-2 triumph was by far the best over-achieving result in the league on Friday, considering the odds and the splits. A tip of the hat to Marlins backers, who, realizing Miami had taken 10 of 19 games against the Phillies last year, took the Marlins at a nice price.

In the over 9 runs prop, bettors produced 68% of the DraftKings volume and would have at least gained a push had Scott Kingery’s apparent two-run homer not hooked inches foul in the seventh inning for the Phillies.

The Phillies won in resounding fashion Saturday, 7-1, but unfurled a glaring weakness Sunday. They could not hold a 4-0 first-inning lead Sunday and lost to the Marlins, 11-6.

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Yankees recap: Bronx Bombers eke out 2 of 3

The Yankees, who shared the highest projected win total alongside the Los Angeles Dodgers — 37.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings — dominated one game and got hammered in another versus the host Nationals.

But in the tie-breaker, the Yankees rallied from a 2-0 seventh-inning deficit and triumphed 3-2.  These are the games that make the difference in season over-unders being hit.

Highlights: Gerrit Cole looked good in the opener and Giancarlo Stanton hit two home runs in the series that nearly left the state.

Mets and the carryover sag

Teams slump after the denial of a sure win.

The Mets had beaten the visiting Braves in their opener Friday and were one strike away from going 2-0 on Saturday.

That is, until reliever Edwin Diaz surrendered a game-tying homer and the Mets lost in the 10th. What usually happens the day after? The losing team struggles.

The Mets, -111 at FanDuel on Sunday, did not even show up. They were blown out 14-1. Had there been fans, they would have endured a cascade of boos.

You can’t make this up: a Mets dog and a Braves home run

No precedent, or prop bet, could have covered what happened Saturday at Citi Field.

With no fans allowed in ballparks, some MLB clubs allowed fans to send in pictures of themselves to get blown up on a cardboard cutout. The cutouts are then placed in one of the empty seats.

The Mets’ Michael Conforto and Jeff McNeil added a new twist — their dogs.

Early Saturday, Conforto’s two canine cutouts were placed next to “Willow,” McNeil’s dog, in the second row of the bleachers in right field.

There they were, amid thousands of empty seats, when Atlanta’s Adam Duvall hoisted an opposite-field drive that cleared the wall. Going, going, gone, and then, oh no, “thwack.” The ball nailed Willow right in the cardboard head.

No injuries were reported. We don’t know if Willow tried to catch the souvenir in her teeth and misjudged it, or what. We also don’t know if Willow was given a bone or if McNeil has one to pick with Duvall.

Willow is perhaps the most famous of the Mets’ dogs. McNeil met her on the field — one year ago Sunday — during a North Shore Animal League America promotion before a game. He Facetimed his wife, Tatiana, during batting practice to ask if they could adopt her.

Neither expected things to get this “ruff.”

Coming up: Phillies-Yankees postponed Monday

The Phillies-Yankees rivalry hasn’t been this good since the 2009 World Series, won by the Bronx Bombers. A number of factors concern the upcoming series. Stay tuned.

The Yankees were scheduled to meet the Phillies on Monday and Tuesday. The teams meet again Wednesday and Thursday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees then host the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.

Breaking news: The Phillies-Yankees game was postponed for Monday after several members of the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19.

Presumably, Phillies members will be tested and the league will go from there.

As for bets, check with your NJ online sportsbook of choice. A canceled game is one thing and usually means bets are refunded, but a postponed game is another thing entirely.

Philadelphia then faces the Toronto Blue Jays in that team’s adopted home, Buffalo. The Yankees then host the Red Sox for three games. What a week.

The Mets have a four-game setup with Boston. That’s Monday and Tuesday in Boston, Wednesday and Thursday at home, and then off to Atlanta for three games.

The scheduling is convenient for the Red Sox regarding travel. They will play a five-game stretch, Wed-Sun, in New York.

Let’s Play Ball! Marlins Vs. Phillies Odds Shift As Excitement Builds For Season Opener

The Phillies are favorites heading into their matchup against the Miami Marlins. Late money is shifting the props and Phillies odds at NJ sportsbooks.

The Philadelphia Phillies’ season-opening tilt with the visiting Miami Marlins on Friday may have significant late money riding in.

Because of the moneyline, Philadelphia -210 at DraftKings Sportsbook as of midday Thursday, there is no rush for a Phillies backer to get this bet down.

Miami, at +175, will be attractive whenever a Marlins backer pulls the trigger. That’s a good number for a team that won’t contend with home-field disadvantage.

A Marlin bettor receives a good payout for going against “just because” money. There will be a lot of Phillies action just because it’s opening day, and just because baseball is finally back.

Contrarians often do well in situations like this.

Listed starting pitchers are Aaron Nola for the Phillies against Sandy Alcantara of the Marlins.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the opening day odds at New Jersey online sportsbooks for the Phillies-Marlins on Friday.

What the Marlins vs. Phillies odds say

The best odds of the game may ride on the over-under of 8.5 runs, which was -102 for the over and -124 for the under at DraftKings.

Here’s a look at the Phillies vs Marlins odds from DraftKings, FanDuel and PointsBet:

Bettors may wait for some clues after the first night of action — with the New York Yankees visiting the Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants invading the Los Angeles Dodgers — to get a feel for the offenses.

Pitchers are supposed to dominate those matchups — Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer in the opener and Johnny Cueto vs Clayton Kershaw in the second game. But if they didn’t, bettors may feel the Phillies and Marlins will have strong run production and hit the over market hard on Friday.

New rules about the permanent DH and extra-innings beginning with a runner on second base could fuel offensive optimism. There are four or five gimme outs in a game that just vanished.

Yet the Yankees-Nationals over-under dipped by a full run early this week, indicating that the adage of pitchers being ahead of the hitters early is in vogue.

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Best bets ahead of Friday’s game

The Phillies are taking a strong percentage of money in the prop area for opening day, moving the lines down.

If the Phillies bettor wants to give more than a run, the -1.5 line is +104, down from +110 on Wednesday. A Marlins backer will lay -122 to take a +1.5 on the run line.

Do you think the Phillies can win in a slugfest? If the Phillies win by at least two runs and the game total hits at least nine runs, the payoff is +195.

That came down significantly from +270 on Wednesday. If that bet hits and you made it on Wednesday, you will feel like a genius.

And then there are educated crapshoots.

Picking the Phillies to win by 1-3 runs is +130 and a margin of four or more runs is +250.

The Marlins would return +270 to win by 1-3 runs and +650 to prevail by four or more.

A good idea here is to select what you consider the final score first and then see what props adhere.

Marlins vs. Phillies: more props action at FanDuel

On Thursday, FanDuel Sportsbook added a prop that will almost be impossible not to try: picking the correct score after one inning.

The options are all over the place, but some pay really well.

If the Phillies lead 2-1 after the first frame, it’s +5000 or 50-1. A 2-2 tie after one inning? We’ve seen it before. Try +10000 or 100-1. Heck, for a couple of bucks?

It’s important to budget and be disciplined with money because the props board is a wagering festival.

But hitting a high-price prop is where the fun is. That’s where bragging rights begin and this is why saving some of the budget for the props is smart.

Don’t ignore the Marlins’ might

Although the Marlins are dogs on Friday, they were problematic for the Phillies last year.

Even while the Philles won 81 games and the Marlins 57, Miami won 10 of the 19 games against Philadelphia last year. The Marlins even swept three games in Philadelphia in June.

Miami has won eight of the last 12 meetings.

Offense? We can talk about offense. In one game last season, the teams combined for 30 runs. In the next, it was 12.

Phillies’ Citizens Bank Park favors offense

Only one betting year has been tabulated, but Citizens Bank Park’s reputation for high-scoring games is borne out.

The average runs per game scored at the Philadelphia baseball stadium is 9.9, if you are thinking about the over-under of 8.5 at DraftKings.

Oddsmakers have adjusted to that number, pushing the bar pretty high. The over-under record here is 36-42-3.

Think about striking early. The over on the 0.5 first-inning runs prop has hit in five consecutive games here between the two teams. The Phillies do have a strong lineup at the top with Andrew McCutchen, Bryce Harper, and Rhys Hoskins.

The Marlins, on the other hand, have lost each of their last six Friday road games.

Phillies take late prop money

At William Hill, Philadelphia Phillies bettors might be “over” joyed.

The bookmaker reported Wednesday that the Phillies comprise a book-leading total of 90% on their season win total of 31.5 in total dollars wagered.

In total tickets, the Phillies have a solid 88%, among the top three.

The Phillies are one of three teams whose over has gotten at least 80% in both categories, with the Mets (31.5) and Phillies (31) being the others.

Philadelphia’s over actually is No. 1 among all National League teams with 90% of the total dollars wagered, and only trails the Rays’ over at 95% for all of baseball.

The Phillies’ over has also captured 88% of the total number of tickets, which matches the Diamondbacks’ (31.5) over for the highest percentage in the NL. Only the Athletics’ over with 93% of the total number of tickets surpasses the Phillies and Diamondbacks.

Betting tip: FanDuel odds boost for Phillies playoff chances

FanDuel just boosted the Phillies’ odds of making the playoffs.

They were +220 until mid-week. Now the Phillies are a robust +320 to make the playoffs, with a maximum $50 bet. This is a big move — almost 50% — in the odds boost world.

There is no telling how long this bet will be offered at that price.

At the very least, probabilities will change after opening day. The prop was likely designed to entice action before Friday’s first pitch.

NJ Sportsbooks Heat Up With MLB Opening Day Odds, Player Props And Free Bets

The MLB is back and NJ sports betting odds favor the Phillies and Yankees. Plus, get a $10+ in free bets for opening day at NJ sportsbooks.

Sixty games in 66 days for every MLB team, here we come. MLB is finally here, with the season opener no longer a remote-looking date of July 23, but a day.


THIS Thursday.

The New York Yankees open as favorites against the host and defending World Series champions Washington Nationals at 7:05 p.m. The Los Angeles Dodgers host the San Francisco Giants as big chalk in Thursday’s second game, just after 10 p.m.

Then the full schedule kicks in on Friday.

Among teams followed most closely by New Jersey sports betting fans, the New York Mets are favored against the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies are the solidly-installed choice against the Miami Marlins.

The bettors, and the fans, are ready.

“I have to go inside,” a New Jersey gambler told me one afternoon late last week. “The Phillies are playing an intrasquad game. I’m going to catch it.”

The bettors can’t wait and now we’re here. Let’s look at some of the numbers entering opening week of baseball.

Yankees vs. Nationals: DraftKings’ lines favor the Bronx Bombers

On the moneyline for Thursday, DraftKings Sportsbook likes the Yankees.

The Bronx Bombers are -139 and Washington is +120.

Here’s how the odds shakeup at DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook, and PointsBet NJ:

MLB MatchupDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
NY Yankees-139-130-140
Washington Nationals+120+114+120

The expected starting pitchers matchup presents a must-see barnburner. Newly acquired Gerrit Cole goes for the Yankees. Mighty Max Scherzer opens the defense of the Washington Nationals’ World Series championship.

The over-under for the game is about a run lower than an average baseball game, perhaps par with what you’d see from a matchup of pitching giants. The over-under is 7.5 runs with the over at -105 and the under at -117.

Feel creative? Think the Yankees can win by more than one run? The 1.5 run line is +128 for the Yankees. For Washington to get 1.5 runs, the line is -148.

Pitching in the summer heat

Premier pitching matchups often fail to deliver the low-scoring games expected during April.

But what about in the summer? This is an interesting scenario because most starting pitchers won’t go past six innings in their initial start.

Pitchers are normally ahead of the hitters early, but the hot summer temperatures favor hitters. These factors may cancel each other out.

Phillies vs. Marlins: Can Philadelphia prove the oddsmakers right?

The Phillies, for their season opener against the visiting Miami Marlins on Friday, are -205. That’s intriguing because the Phillies struggled against the Marlins last year at home, even being swept in a three-game series.

Here’s a closer look at the Phillies vs. Marlins game odds. (FanDuel and PointsBet have yet to post opening odds on this matchup.)

MLB MatchupDraftKingsFanDuelPointsBet
Philadelphia Phillies-205----
Miami Marlins+175----

Sandy Alcantara is Miami’s opening day pitcher.

Aaron Nola is expected to be the Phillies’ opening-day starter. But there is still enough time for all of that to change.

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FanDuel props worth a look for MLB betting

Here are some popular fun bets, tying in with gamblers following both their favorite teams and players.

On the board at FanDuel Sportsbook is a doozy: the first player to hit a home run this season.

Bear in mind that the first game of the year is the Yankees-Nationals. If that game goes dinger-free, the Dodgers and Giants become a high-paying target.

MLB Player Prop: First Home Run In 2020FanDuel Odds
Aaron Judge+550
Giancarlo Stanton+550
Juan Soto+650
Gleyber Torres+700
Eric Thames+1100
Gary Sanchez+1100
Trea Turner+1100
DJ LeMahieu+1300
Adam Eaton+1800

The last of the top 10 involve Aaron Hicks, Brett Gardner, Howie Kendrick and Luke Voit at 20-1.

You also may want to think outside the box a little.

Cole and Scherzer are lights-out pitchers. Is that really the game that produces the first homer?

If you think not, Dodgers Max Muncy and Cody Bellinger are both +5000. Bellinger had 47 homers last year, and he’s a generous 50-1 odds. Justin Turner is +6000 or 60-1.

The beauty of this type of bet is you can select from different ranges and take a stab. Some will place one wager on the favorites, another on a mid-line player and one of the heavy-priced odds.

There may not be data to support this, but a big-name, free-agent hitter often finds a way to connect with a homer in his first game.

See if that fits into your overall MLB betting menu.

Yankees, Met, Phillies: Betting the first dinger

New Jersey gamblers have another venue regarding who’s going deep first. You can take the first player on each of these teams to touch em all at FanDuel.

For the Yankees, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are +300.

Gleyber Torres is +500, Gary Sanchez is +800 and Voit is +1000.

For the Mets, Pete Alonso is the likely suspect, at +250. Heck, he led the majors in homers last year at 53. But can he be first?

If not, Michael Conforto is +350, Yoenis Cespedes is +650 and Jeff McNeil stands at +700.

There’s a tie rounding out the top five, at +800. They include Brandon Nimmo, Wilson Ramos, and Robinson Cano. Yes, THAT Robinson Cano. The longtime Yankee dons a Mets uniform for the second year. He is 37 years old now.

As for the Phillies, Bryce Harper is the favorite at +250. Rhys Hoskins is next at +350. Then comes Andrew McCutchen and J.T. Realmuto at +500. Didi Gregorious, the new acquisition from the Yankees, is +650.

Free money for MLB opening day? You bet!

And here’s a slice of good news from NJ sportsbook apps.

The return of the MLB has sportsbooks posting free bet offers for those who are savvy enough to take advantage.

Fox Bet, for example, has an “MLB is Back!” promo for all customers that features $5 in free cash for each run your team scores in the opening game.

You can get up to $50 free in this offer when you bet just $5 on your favorite single MLB team opening game (point spread or moneyline). Odds must be -200 minimum. It must be one cumulative bet to qualify, and the first placed bet qualifies your team.

Over at DraftKings, there are several offers ready to go for opening day.

  • Scoring Special: Bet $25 on DraftKings’ featured games and get $5 per home run your team hits.
  • Odds boost: Bet on any 2019 MLB All-Star player to hit a home run on opening day. The boost is +100.
  • World Series $25 bet: Place a $25 bet on any team to win the World Series and get a $25 free bet to use on any opening day MLB game.

FanDuel features a World Series promo as well. A $50-plus futures bet on any team to win the World Series will earn you $5 in bonus cash for each game that team wins.

It includes only the first 10 games, but if your team is on a hot streak early, that’s a max of $50 in free bets.

PointsBet features a doozy of an offer with $10 in free bets for every home run in July. All it requires is a minimum $50 pre-game moneyline or runline bet. If the team you pick hits a home run, you get $10 free.

This is, of course, just a sampling of free bets and odds boosts available at NJ online sportsbooks. Most of them won’t last long either.

The clock is ticking on these FanDuel bets

Speaking of bets that won’t be around forever, you have to get these in at FanDuel before Thursday’s season opener.

Season-long home run leaders. Alonso is +1000, the favorite. Right there are Joey Gallo and Mike Trout at +1100.

Sleepers include Bellinger at +1700 and Nolan Arenado at +1800. Bellinger hit 47 homers last year, six behind Alonso. For someone able to lead the league in homers, he’s an excellent price.

Arenado is +1200 to lead in hits, along with Whit Merrifield. Jose Altuve is +1400.

On the pitching side, Cole is +230 to attain the most strikeouts. Scherzer is second at +550. And we get to see them go head-to-head this week. Jacob deGrom of the Mets is +850.

MLB line shopping at NJ sportsbooks

Let it begin.

On opening night, DraftKings has the over-under for the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants at 8.5. PointsBet has it at 8.

That’s a significant half of a number. If you like the under, you would like the DraftKings prop. That makes eight a victory.

If you like the over, PointsBet has a better line. At the very least, 8 is a push.

Multiply the small details of these lines by the potential of hundreds of bets over the course of a season and one can see the value of shopping to your profit-loss portfolio.

Good luck, New Jersey online betters, wherever your hunches, and wagers, lead.

MLB Betting: Phillies’ 60-Game Schedule Comes With A Few Challenges Early On

The Philadelphia Phillies open the 2020 pandemic-shortened season against the Marlins and Yankees. And there’s no margin for error in the 60-game season.

Wondering what it will sound like when the Philadelphia Phillies open the season inside an empty Citizens Bank Park?

Well, it’s now a matter of weeks before we find out.

On July 24, the Phillies host the Miami Marlins in a three-game series.

Welcome to the 2.0 version of the 2020 MLB regular season.

The opening series is identical to the original March start except for the change in locations. And there is that other minor change.

You know, the one where fans are not allowed inside MLB ballparks thanks to COVID-19. So does location really matter?

Plus, this season comes with the unknown of how much the Phillies roster is going to be impacted by the global pandemic.

Keep in mind, a 60-game schedule leaves little room for error. Here is a closer look at what the revised Phillies season looks like.

Staying healthy key for Phillies in 2020

Even before the Phillies arrived at camp last week, questions started circulating regarding the team’s health.

In comparison to hamstring and shoulder strains and other common baseball injuries, COVID-19 is a much more serious matter. But if players test positive, special precautions are in place to protect other team members.

When Aaron Nola was missing in action last week, rumors started circulating that the ace pitcher had the virus.

It turns out Nola is doing just fine.

Of course, the lingering concern in the next few months is that if a player contracts COVID, there is the realistic possibility he could be lost for the season.

And it will be up to the player to decide whether or not to make the news public.

For instance, the Phillies starting third baseman Scott Kingery is on the injured list. So are pitchers Hector NerisTommy Hunter and Ranger Suarez. The report, however, does not provide reasons.

But whatever their injury is, players still have two-plus weeks of healing time.

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Yankees present early test for the Phillies

When it comes time to play ball, the Phillies are going to be tested early.

For starters, Miami, despite finishing last in the NL East in 2019, is the team that prevented Philadelphia from finishing with a winning record.

In other words, there is no guarantee the Phillies will get off to a 3-0 start.

From there, they will host the New York Yankees, who are favored to win the American League.

If we are basing things off of current MLB betting odds, this would be a golden opportunity for Philly to capture some early attention.

But then, without a day off, the two teams will travel to the Bronx and play two more games.

DraftKings Sportsbook has the Bronx Bombers at +400 to win it all. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers at +375 have slightly better odds.

The Phillies, by comparison, come in at +2000.

For those wondering, the Phillies’ odds of winning the NL currently sit at +1100. They are tied for fifth-best.

Here is a look at the current DraftKings National League championship odds:

  • Dodgers +170
  • Braves +600
  • Nationals +750
  • Mets +900
  • Cardinals +900
  • Cubs +1100

Looking deeper at the 2020 MLB schedule

Now, if this was a normal season, the Phillies would be playing at least one home and away series with each of those previously mentioned teams.

But in a pandemic-shortened season, trips to LA and St. Louis would make it extremely difficult to cram 60 games into 66 days.

Each team is playing 10 games against their respective division foes. In the Phillies’ case, this includes the defending world champ Nationals, the Braves and the Mets.

And all three of these franchises have slightly better odds than the Phils to win the National League.

The team’s chances of winning the NL East, on the other hand, are much better at +325.

Here’s how the rest of the NL East odds shape up at DraftKings, FanDuel Sportsbook and FoxBet NJ:

National League East Team OddsBravesNationalsMetsPhilliesMarlins
FoxBet NJ+185+260+300+350+25000

A shortened season comes with its advantages, though. The Phillies are playing all 10 games against Atlanta in August.

Talk about the importance of a quick start.

Six of their 10 games against the Nationals, however, are slated for September.

By the way, forget about announcers frequently using the words “day off.” There are a total of three in August and two in September.

So rain and injuries will create major headaches for all 30 teams.

Get to know these 2020 MLB rule changes

Since there is very little room for scheduling adjustments, MLB is changing the rules slightly.

First, forget about Nola or Zach Wheeler striking out on three pitches. The designated hitter will be taking their at-bats.

The rule is in place for this season only.

And remember those drawn-out, extra-inning games? You know, the ones that last 16 innings and go until 1 a.m.?

Not this season.

Instead, each team starts the extra frame with a runner on second base, which makes settling the final score a little easier and quicker.

And managers will not be making pitching changes after every batter this season. All pitchers must face at least three batters. The rule applies to starters and relievers.

The Phillies and MLB betting options

So now that we’ve rounded the bases with the basics, here is a look at some unique NJ sports betting options.

BetMGM Sportsbook, for instance, has several Bryce Harper specials posted.

Here are a few:

  • Total hits (over/under 52.5)
  • Total RBIs (over/under 35.5)
  • Total home runs (over/under 15.5)

As expected, these numbers are way off of his career averages of 134 hits, 79 RBIs and 27 homers.

But the over/under lines are based on a 60-game, not 162-game, season.

Fox Bet NJ also posted several props, too, like which pitcher will have the most strikeouts.

Nola’s odds are at +2500. By comparison, Yankees ace Gerrit Cole leads the field at +225.

Call them intriguing side bets.

But the bottom line is, the Phillies need Harper and Nola to put up consistent numbers if the team is going to have any shot at contending.

The Phillies as NL East champions does have a nice ring to it, even if it happens during a 60-game season.

July 24 can’t come soon enough.