Major League Baseball’s 0pening day is approaching faster than an Aaron Nola fastball. April 1 is now less than three weeks away.
And New Jersey online sports bettors are ready to take their hacks.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ ace, along with slugger Bryce Harper top the list of the major Phillies props currently available.
Several books found a specialty in what they are offering gamblers.
BetMGM and FanDuel sportsbooks have an interesting board concerning Nola in the Cy Young Award chase and Harper’s MVP odds.
DraftKings Sportsbook offers season-long head-to-head player matchups, like home-run totals for Harper and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
It also presents an interesting Rookie-of-the-Year board and numerous team-versus-team bets, including the Phillies against the Boston Red Sox for total victories.
Here is a closer look at the MLB betting odds with a Phillies connection.
Nola CY Young odds versus the field
Nola, the Phillies’ ace right-hander is getting value and respect across the major sportsbooks for the 2021 Cy Young Award.
He is +1200 at BetMGM sportsbook, joining a talented field.
Same story at FanDuel Sportsbook.
So who is Nola’s competition in the early National League Cy Young race?
Jacob deGrom (+400) of the New York Mets leads the field.
Defending Cy Young winner Trever Bauer, now of the Dodgers, is +700.
Mighty Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals is +800.
Rising star Walker Buehler of the Dodgers is +1000.
So is Yu Darvish, now a San Diego Padre, who finished a surprising second to Bauer last year as a Chicago Cub.
By comparison, here is where the odds stand at FanDuel:
Nola is getting some respect as he is now fifth at +1200.
The leaders are nearly an identical match to BetMGM, with a slight shift in the odds:
- deGrom + 380
- Bauer, at +700
- Scherzer and Buehler, +1000
And then comes Nola, whose strong 2020 campaign was overshadowed by the worst bullpen in baseball last season.
Phillies spotlight: Aaron Nola wagering angle
It’s not a bad idea, at these betting odds, to take two pitchers. The intangibles of a Cy Young award include potential injuries, whether a manager wants to reduce a player’s starts to keep him strong for the post-season, and which players will deliver an uptick from the year before.
Nola hurled 71 innings, struck out 96 batters, and had an impressive WHIP (baserunners allowed per nine innings) of 1.079 last season. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 4.17 was a career-best.
It’s easy to forget he’s been in a breakout mode for three years. In 2018, Nola enjoyed his best season with an 0.975 WHIP, 2.37 ERA, and 224 strikeouts. He finished a strong third in the Cy Young voting that season behind deGrom and Scherzer. His strikeout to walk ratio of 3.86 was solid.
In 2019, the ERA did go up to 3.87, but he still logged 202 innings and struck out a career-high 229 batters. The WHIP was 1.26.
If Nola can trim his ERA by half a run and keep the WHIP below or at 1.00, he’s in the Cy Young Award conversation.
Nola in Top Company
How close is Nola, numerically, to being the league’s top pitcher?
Jacob deGrom was practically unconscious last season, with 104 strikeouts in 68 innings, a WHIP of 0,95 (he’s been under 1.00 for three consecutive seasons), and a 5.78 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His ERA was 2 .26. And he somehow finished third in the Cy Young race.
What about Bauer?
The WHIP seems to be the big number. He was an off-the-charts 0.79 last season. Bauer only walked 17 batters in 73 innings, nine less than Nola in 71 frames.
Bauer won the same number of games as Nola, five, in the shortened 2020 campaign. He struck out 100 batters in 73 innings and his ERA was a career-low 1.73 pitching for the Cincinnati Reds in the hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. His strikeouts-to-walk number was 5.88.
What Harper needs for MVP consideration
On the MVP front, Harper remains a longshot. He is +1700 with Bet MGM and +`1500 for DraftKings. His 2019 numbers of 35 home runs, 114 RBI, and .260 batting average is one tier below serious consideration.
Should Harper regain his 2015 form (42 home runs, 99 RBI, and .330 batting average) then count him in the mix.
What do you need to win the award?
Stay on pace or ahead of Bellinger. The ’19 NL MVP had 47 homers, 115 RBI, and hit .305.
However, Bellinger is not the favorite. FanDuel has his current odds at +1300. Fernando Tatis Jr. of the Padres and Juan Soto of the Nationals are the current favorites (both +700).
Harper is fairly consistent with power numbers but must improve the average to have a chance.
A sampling of Phillies head-to-head props at DraftKings
The Phillies team constitutes a side bet.
Can they win more games than the Red Sox.? It’s -112 on either side.
Speaking of Harper and Bellinger, they are one of several enticing head-to-heads, season-long home-run props at DraftKings.
Harper is favored at -105 over Bellinger, +130. The odds reflect Harper’s consistent total being trusted more than Bellinger’s breakout from two seasons ago.
What’s the over-under for Harper home runs? It’s 36.5. The price on both is -112. This prop provides action on each at-bat throughout the season.
Harper also is +2000 to win the home-run crown. Pete Alonso of the Mets is +1000. Prices are good wherever one looks here, deservedly so.
Alonso is involved in another good head-to-head dinger display. It’s him versus Millville’s own Mike Trout, are both – 112. However, Alonso led the league in homers in ’19. Trout had one more homer, 17, than Alonso last year.
Does Spencer Howard even have a shot at Rookie of the Year?
Third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes of the Pittsburgh Pirates continues to rake in spring training and is the +350 Rookie-of-the-Year favorite at DraftKings. Does the name sound familiar?
He’s the son of Charlie Hayes, who played third base for the Phillies from 1989-91 and is a coach on their Gulf Coast League rookie team.
The younger Hayes hit .376 on a September callup with the Pirates last year. He could be the real deal.
The top Phillie on the board is pitcher Spencer Howard, at +1800 for DraftKings (+1200 FanDuel). The price reflects his need to gain one of the bottom spots in the rotation and then stay healthy. Howard fights for one of the two remaining positions with Vince Velasquez, Matt Moore, and Chase Anderson. He could start the season in the minors, the bullpen, or the rotation.
It’s a leap of faith to take a pitcher here. Early money tends to lean toward a position player.