“Bettor Up!” That’s right, the 2021 Philadelphia Phillies betting season is approaching home.
This week launches the MLB betting celebration at New Jersey online sportsbooks. There are a couple of days left for Garden State bettors to secure the best futures odds for seasonal win totals, division championship odds, and player props.
But Thursday, April 1 is the day the real sports betting in New Jersey fun begins. Call it the first pitch of the game-by-game wagering season. The Phillies are hosting the Atlanta Braves on Thursday at3:05 p.m. There will roughly 8,800 spectators allowed inside Citizens Bank Park.
Ace Aaron Nola gains his fourth straight opening day assignment for Philadelphia.
Near-term, the Phillies open the campaign with three home games against the Braves followed by a three-game series versus the New York Mets. But there are 162 regular-season games to be played.
With that in mind, here is a long-term Phillies betting overview.
Phillies line shopping at NJ online sportsbooks
William Hill sportsbook unleashed some late love on the Fightin’ Phils. The book recently upgraded the Phillies’ over-under total to 82.5 wins. A successful over wager would accompany the Phillies’ first winning season since 2011. It’s also the last time they finished higher than third in the National League East.
DraftKings Sportsbook has a different perception. It lists the Phillies at 80.5 for the total.
This is a nice betting window.
“Over” bettors may select the DraftKings wager, although the -143 is not a great price. That’s because 98% of the early money went on the “over”, driving the price upward, according to a pre-season report by the book.
DraftKings’ next move could be to raise the wins total if volume continues like this.
“Under” bettors will take the William Hill wager. (it’s -110 for the over or under). The two-game difference of opinion between the books is a victory for the bettors.
William Hill also unfurled an odds boost from +850 to +950 for the Phillies to win the National League East. Boosts like this coax bettors to chase the remote possibility that occasionally hits.
The book has the Mets and Braves co-favored to win the East at +140.
There’s no need to rush on the Phillies +4000 to win the World Series at DraftKings. Those odds stay locked in for a while.
Betting on Bryce Harper
Bryce Harper is +1500 to win the National League MVP award at DraftKings. According to the operator, he has the third-highest amount of gambling money, 14%, in a field dominated by Washington star Juan Soto (+750).
Of the top performers, Harper is the one who looks to be getting more money than his odds should dictate.
Harper is +2000 to be the home-run leader, and in a league with Pete Alonso (+1100) of the Mets, that’s unlikely.
How about Harper on the dinger line?
His over-under is 36.5 (-112). The RBI prop is over-under 108.5. The beauty of this bet is its fair odds and makes Harper a bet-within-a-bet all season. Some gamblers who love this action may go heaviest on this bet, above all others.
Harper had 35 homers and 99 RBI for the Phillies in 2019. This prop would be right in that ballpark.
April presents a big test for Phillies
After Nola’s game and an off-day Friday, Zack Wheeler gets the ball Saturday (4:05 p.m.) and Zach Eflin Sunday 1:05 p.m.). Matt Moore and Chase Anderson presumably open against the Mets.
The first week is followed by three games in Atlanta and four in New York. Thirteen games to open the campaign against the two favored NL East teams. Not an easy task.
There are then seven games against the St. Louis Cardinals and one more versus the Mets, in April.
This first month will determine a lot about the season.
Phils’ bullpen can produce an upgrade
The Phillies had one of the worst bullpens of all time last season. It yielded more than seven runs every nine innings.
But there is some promise. Hector Neris has been joined by Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, and Jose Alvarado, who have all been closers in recent years.
Who wants the ball?
Bradley had 18 saves two years ago for the Arizona Diamondbacks and six in the abbreviated 2020 campaign. He is considered the Phillies’ closer, for now.
Kintzler was second in the entire National League in saves last season, with 12. He was not overpowering, but effective enough, with a 2.22 earned-run average. Kintzler had to fight to make this roster and did.
Alvarado is the only left-handed reliever to make the cut.
This could mean he’ll be used in key eighth-inning matchups to get one batter or even close in the ninth against a team with left-handed batters. He routinely hit 100 mph with his fastball and got some big outs in spring training.
In 2018, Alvarado struck out 80 and walked only 29 in 64 innings. He had eight saves and tied for the league lead in holds. Can he get back to that?.
Connor Brogdon is the name discussed least, but he did strike out the side against the New York Yankees on Sunday.
How important is this bullpen?
Just two years, the Phillies had an over-under of 89.5 season wins at most books. And they were 11 games over .500 a third of the way through the season before collapsing.
The Phillies ought to be improved in this area, perhaps vastly.
Philadelphia needs to maintain its offense
One higher production level from Harper would be helpful. His stats from last year would equate to35 homers and 89 RBI in a full season. There is room for him to uptick in power and improve on his non-stellar .268 average.
The Phillies may need that because Didi Gregorious was a terrific acquisition in 2020. But the shortstop led the Phillies with 40 RBI, which would mean 108 this year. Nice, but you wouldn’t count on that again.
J.T. Realmuto’s numbers from last year would mean 30 homers and 87 RBI this year. High expectations from a catcher, but reachable.
And the Phillies need Alec Bohm, who had such an eye-opening .338 average last year, to deliver over a full season.
Now it’s just a matter of seeing how the different pieces come together once the regular season gets underway.
AP Photo/Chris Szagola