Batter Up, for the second “marking period” or second quarter of the MLB season. If real report cards were being handed out, the New York Mets would get an A+ while the Philadelphia Phillies would earn a C-.
However, the Phillies are entering mid-week under pressure to make a statement.
The Phillies have five more road games this week, two against the World Series champion Atlanta Braves and three more at Citi Field against the red-hot Mets, starting Friday.
Looking at the Phillies-Mets series from an NJ sports betting perspective, Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings told PlayNJ “There’s always an increase in betting actions when these teams play.
“The Mets have had an excellent start and the Phillies not really a bad start and when they come together, they are part of a division that has always produced great handle,” Avello said. “Bettors are going to jump on all the wagers they are accustomed to seeing and even more with the series prop, predicting the exact score of the series, etc.”
Setting the Phillies vs. Mets Memorial Day weekend scene
The tough slate for the Phillies offers the chance to erase a bad 19-22 first quarter. That’s about three games off the pace they’d need in each segment to clear the DraftKings Sportsbook opening day projected win total of 86.5.
They split the first two games against the Braves, including a heartbreaking blown-save and 6-5 loss Tuesday.
The Mets, meanwhile, want to post their sterling 28-15 mark on the refrigerator, and probably throughout social media. The Mets led the Phillies by eight games in the National League East at midweek.
New Jersey sports bettors who took the Mets at over 88.5 wins on opening day, and even some who selected them at over 91.5 beforehand, might be wishing they had bet more.
So, this sets the backdrop for a highly-anticipated series Memorial Day Weekend series. It’s the fourth between the Mets and Phillies this year. The Mets have won all three sets and have a 6-3 season-series edge.
Can the Phillies show they will contend, not pretend, in the NL East, and for a postseason berth? As of Wednesday afternoon, they are 3.5 games out of a wild card.
Mets bettors now wagering from other side of GW Bridge
Avello chuckled over the wagering ascent throughout the DraftKings MLB universe, which extends to this series, on the heels of mobile-betting’s New York debut in January.
Gone are the sights of New York gamblers taking trains or riding their bicycles into New Jersey to place wagers, and then returning to the Empire State. Imagine being shut out of a wager because of a flat bicycle tire.
“With New York bettors no longer having to go over to Jersey, that really opens things up,” Avello noted. “They were just waiting for this thing to happen. Now that it has, these fans really are betting their teams.”
Avello said bettors have been real happy about how the Mets and Yankees are real hot. The Yankees currently lead the American League East by 4.5 games.
“The Mets are playing real well but I don’t think the bettors are going to shy away from Philly right now,” Avello added. “There is nobody besides the Mets with a winning record in the NL East. That means that maybe the Phillies will at some point be stronger in the futures [currently +750 to win the division] and we may have to raise the price [which will result in a lower number, say +500] depending upon how bettors are seeing it.”
Avello weighs in on Phillies, Mets NL East race
So the interesting twist to the NL East race is the Mets currently have a comfortable lead while their top two pitchers are on the disabled list.
Max Scherzer is on the 15-day DL with a strained oblique. Jacob deGrom has been transferred to the 60-day DL with a shoulder injury.
Some reports have deGrom possibly returning to the Mets rotation before the All-Star break.
As a result, Avello says this is Philadelphia’s chance to get a little closer.
“What this means for the Mets now with Max Scherzer down for a few weeks and Jason deGrom not even having pitched yet is that it’s nice for them to have this big lead.
“The Mets pitching staff below Scherzer and deGrom certainly have the capability of giving up runs [they lost 13-12 to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday] so they are hoping that if guys in there now hold that lead, it puts them in fantastic shape for later in the year.
“That’s an if and there are a lot if big ifs, but this is why you realize that in May there is a lot of baseball left and that can changes will happen.”
Avello says watch out for Wheeler
Avello extended that philosophy to the NL Cy Young Award, which Scherzer can now kiss goodbye, minus a miracle.
The Phillies’ Zack Wheeler remains in the +1000 range across the books and has recently hit Cy Young form with two excellent outings.
Some bettors are going to jump on that now. This market is going to fluctuate.
Wheeler was a finalist for the 2021 Cy Young Award.