Johnny Avello Weighs In On Phillies Odds At MLB Midway Point

Written By Dave Bontempo on July 7, 2022 - Last Updated on July 8, 2022
Phillies 2022 DraftKings

Don’t lose faith, Philadelphia Phillies bettors. It’s a long season. At the midway point, the team was about where it was expected to be.

But what does this all mean from a NJ sports betting perspective?

During his weekly call with PlayNJ, Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, said “I don’t think they have over achieved or under achieved.

“They are in a decent spot and they still have an opportunity to dig in, win a lot of games and  perhaps qualify for the postseason.

“I think the division is a different story for them. Most divisions have  two good teams. But there are three good teams in that National League East, including them,” Avello said. “The Atlanta Braves have stepped on the gas and the New York Mets have surprised many people. Nobody thought they would be doing this well.”

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Weighing in on the Phillies preseason win total?

The Phillies hit the halfway mark 43-38, right on schedule for their pre-season projection of 86 wins at DraftKings. From 22-29 under fired manager Joe Girardi, they climbed to 21-10 under his replacement Rob Thomson.

That’s a sizzling .700 resurgence and they have as good a chance as anyone to secure a wild-card berth. If the postseason started after 81 games, they would have the final spot for their playoff berth since 2011.

Regarding the Phillies’ about-face turnaround, Avello is not so quick to blame Girardi or credit Thompson with the resurgence.

“I don’t know how you quantify that,” Avello said. “Was it Girardi? Probably not. Sometimes a team just goes flat for a while and then picks it up. Teams are going to do that during the year. Maybe they were just in  a lull when Girardi was there.”

‘We just didn’t feel the Giants could do it again’

In a bit of cruel irony, Girardi was fired right after former Phillies manager Gabe Kapler’s Giants took two-of-three  from them in early June.

Now it is Kapler who is embattled. Fired after the 2019 season, he  was the toast of California last year, leading the Giants to an improbable  107 victories and a post-season berth.

Kapler was named the NL Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers Association  of America.

But now he’s enduring a big slump and whispers of his job security may soon surface. The Giants hit midweek in a 3-12 tailspin, in danger of falling below .500.

Ironically, DraftKings  had this pegged right. The Giants had been forecast for 85.5 wins , a whopping 22 less than last year.

Avello noted the DraftKings oddsmakers didn’t feel San Francisco could match their 2021 performance.

“That’s an awful lot of games to win. It was viewed as an aberration. They were due to come back to normal,” Avello said. “I feel, and they share a division with the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. The Padres did not have the greatest season last year,  but overall they are a better team than the Giants.”

The Giants’ tailspin includes series losses to the Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago White Sox, the latter a sweep.

The team has lost its focus and the natives may soon be restless.

How is Bryce Harper’s injury impacting Phillies odds

While the Phillies have scuffled back into contention, a major hurdle remains. Can  they  overcome a potential season-ending injury to reigning NL MVP Bryce Harper?

His injury dropped the Phillies’ betting odds to +1700 to win the National League East (and then +14000) but they remained at a steadfast +100 to earn a post-season berth. The addition of a third wild-card position will make teams fight to the end.

By comparison, the Mets are -170 to win the NL East while the Braves are +150.

Harper insists he will play again this year, but that remains to be seen.

“They need a few other guys to step up,” Avello noted.

“One thing I don’t like is Kyle Schwarber hitting in the leadoff spot. He gets you homers, I grant you that, but he strikes out too much,” Avello said. “On the pitching side, they will need more from Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, who have a pretty good ERA but not enough to show for it.

“They are going to need Kyle Gibson to be strong and Ranger Suarez (when he returns from injury) to pick it up.”

New Jersey fans and online sports bettors will gain an excellent gauge on the Phillies in the next couple of weeks. They hit the road for nine games against the St. Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays and the pesky Florida Marlins before the All-Star break.

The Cardinals are just behind the Phillies for the final post-season  berth.

“One thing I like about the Phillies is that they are over .500 at home and on the road,” Avello noted. “What they need is to be more dominant at home, though.”

Photo by AP/Laurence Kesterson
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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and others. He writes about all major sports in the booming legal New Jersey sports betting industry. Dave also hosts the Why Eagles Why podcast. Dave is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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