Spring brings optimism. Flowers in bloom. Longer days. The return of some fans to MLB stadiums.
However, in Philadelphia, it’s harder for optimism to blossom than it is to see tulips sprout from the plethora of potholes.
The start of the 2021 MLB season and a Philadelphia Phillies lineup with led by Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto should help shake the winter doldrums. But, just like April showers, the naysayers swoop in and point out that the NL East is stacked and the New York Mets made the big money moves during the offseason.
The first lesson in baseball is “keep your eye on the ball.” In sports betting, a great lesson is keep your eye on the money.
Just because the Phillies aren’t attracting the headlines or World Series futures handle, doesn’t mean backers think this season will be a dud. Early futures money reveals bettors think the Phillies will win more than 80.5 games and make the playoffs. The Phils haven’t finished above .500 or made the playoffs since 2011.
Optimism seems to be in full bloom for Philadelphia Phillies bettors.
2021 World Series Betting Splits from DraftKings
DraftKings 2021 World Series Futures betting handle as of March 30:
- 20%: Chicago White Sox (+850)
- 15%: New York Mets (+1000)
- 15%: New York Yankees (+550)
- 13%: Los Angeles Dodgers (+350)
- 10%: San Diego Padres (+800)
- 6%: St. Louis Cardinals (+2200)
- 4%: Atlanta Braves (+1000)
- 2% Chicago Cubs (+4000)
- 2%: Philadelphia Phillies (+4000)
- 2%: Boston Red Sox
Will the Phillies break .500?
The Phillies have been mired in mediocrity and shut out of the postseason since 2011. With Harper and Realmuto, the Phillies have star power in the lineup. But the major questions are about starting pitching depth and fixing a bullpen that was one of the worst ever last season.
Nearly all the money (98%) at DraftKings is on the OVER for the Phillies win total (80.5) and for the Phillies to make the playoffs (yes, 98%).
Home team bias rings true for Phillies
For the Phillies, it’s “Bet, bet, bet on the home team…”
NL East splits for wagers placed in Pennsylvania show the bias:
- 78% Phillies (+875)
- 12%: Mets (+140)
- 9%: Braves (+120)
- 1%: Nationals (+600)
- <1%: Marlins (+2500)
Across the whole DraftKings network, the NL East betting splits look different:
- 40%: Mets
- 30%: Phillies
- 21%: Braves
- 7%: Nationals
- 2%: Marlins
PA and NJ bettors don’t think Phils will make deep postseason run
DraftKings recently provided a state-by-state (where the app is available) breakdown of World Series handle.
Here’s a look of where bettors’ early World Series futures money went in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
- 17% New York Mets
- 17%: San Diego Padres
- 15%: Los Angeles Dodgers
- 11%: Philadelphia Phillies
- 10%: New York Yankees
- 36%: New York Mets
- 28%: New York Yankees
- 16%: Los Angeles Dodgers
- 7%: San Diego Padres
- 2%: Atlanta Braves
When it comes to the National League pennant, Pennsylvania bettors show their regional bias with 19% of the handle for National League winner futures on the Phillies, the second most in the state behind the Dodgers (34%).
What the books are saying
The Mets made one of the splashiest offseason moves, trading with the Indians to acquire Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco. After the trade, the Mets World Series odds moved from +1600 to +1200. Currently, the Mets are at +1000.
Johnny Avello, head of sportsbook and gaming operations at DraftKings, weighed in on what he thinks about the upcoming season and if the Phillies have a chance in the NL East.
“I think baseball is going to have a really strong year. Last year we had a shortened season and it went well, but I think people like a full season of baseball.
“I wouldn’t count the Phillies out totally. I think the Braves are the class of the NL East. The Marlins had a pretty good run last year. The Nationals and the Phillies are still competitive teams. Even though their odds reflect they won’t do as well, I wouldn’t count them out because I still think there are quality players (for the Phillies) and if Atlanta fails there is room for anyone in that division.”
FanDuel 2021 MLB Betting info
Bettors at FanDuel have faith in the Phillies.
The top two selections by handle in the NL MVP market are Bryce Harper and Corey Seager.
The top two by handle in the NL CY Young market are Jacob DeGrom and Aaron Nola.
Bettors are expecting the NL East to pack a lot of firepower this season. Ronald Acuna Jr. and Pete Alonso have garnered the most money in the “Most Regular Season Home Runs” market. FanDuel reports that of the 25 players in the “Most HRs” market, none has the majority of money on “Under” their home run total.
The top 4 teams by handle in the Regular Season Wins Total (O/U) are:
- Philadelphia Phillies 81.5 (91% over, 9% Under)
- Pittsburgh Pirates 58.5 (54% Over, 46% Under)
- New York Mets 91 (53% Over, 47% Under)
- New York Yankees 95.5 (86% Over, 14% Under)
BetRivers believes in the Phillies
At BetRivers retail sportsbook, bettors believe the Phillies will finally break .500.
98% of the money is on the “Over” for the Phillies win total (80.5) games.
Also, the early money from Pennsylvania points the Phillies winning the NL East.
Jim Llewellyn, manager of BetRivers Sportsbook, shared some insights from the retail sportsbook in Philadelphia.
NL East winner (PA only) by handle:
67%: Phillies (+875)
22%: Mets (+140)
6%: Braves (+120)
3%: Marlins (+2500)
2%: Nationals (+600)
NL East winner (all of BetRivers retail sportsbooks):
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Matt Slocum