The Philadelphia Phillies arrow points up while the New York Mets arrow points down.
That’s the relevant activity taking place at one NJ online sportsbook for the MLB season starting this week.
Recent developments have altered the projected regular-season win total of both teams.
The Phillies, who host the fire-sale bound Oakland Athletics in Friday’s opener, have been among the most noteworthy increases at Caesars Sportsbook. They jumped from 82.5 to 86.5 on the over-under win line in the past couple of weeks, one of only three teams to go up.
The Phillies joined the Los Angeles Dodgers, who shot from 95.5 to 98.5, and the Minnesota Twins, who have shot from 75.5 to 82.5 in the wake of their recent signing of star shortstop Carlos Correa.
The Mets, meanwhile, have been lowered to 87.5 at Caesars and 88,5 at DraftKings Sportsbook because of bad news concerning ace Jacob deGrom and some small concern over new signee Max Scherzer.
Mad Max will miss the season opener Thursday against the Washington Nationals
After the opening weekend, the Phillies and Mets get right into the heat of their rivalry with the Mets visiting Citizens Bank Park next week. Here’s how their changing fortunes show up at Caesars and DraftKings.
As the season begins, here is our “starting nine” observations about the Phillies, Mets and Millville superstar Mike Trout.
Phillies and Mets futures at NJ online sportsbooks
1. Phillies rotation is above average
Here’s why the Phillies have attracted optimism at NJ online sportsbooks:
- Their pitching nucleus of Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, Kyle Gibson and Zach Efflin is fairly strong.
- They also picked up sluggers in Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber during spring training.
However, there are some concerns regarding the lack of team speed, Schwarber being injury prone and a weak bullpen.
2. Looking like Nola will make his fifth straight opening day start
Friday’s starting nod had been projected to go to Wheeler after he finished second in last year’s National League Cy Young race.
But Wheeler arrived in camp behind schedule. Part of that was by design as the team wanted him to ramp up slowly after pitching a Major League-high 213⅓ innings last season. He also faced an off-season throwing-routine detour with a bout of shoulder soreness.
Wheeler is expected to start against the Met next Tuesday. So for opening day 2022, Nola is once again getting the ball.
3. Phillies see instant opportunity
Their first opponent stands alone with a double-digit win total shift at Caesars Sportsbook. The Athletics opened at 78.5 and went all the way down to 68.5, only ahead of the Arizona Diamondbacks (66.5), Pittsburgh Pirates (64.5) and Baltimore Orioles (62.5).
“It’s the biggest win total shift I can remember,” said Eric Biggio, head baseball trader at Caesars Sportsbook. “Just by the nature of this year with the potential lockout, we knew there’d be a free-agent and trading frenzy. Pretty early on, the A’s flew up the flag saying they were selling their parts. “
4. Bryce Harper: the price is nice
Can he do it again?
The defending National League MVP Bryce Harper has attractive betting odds to notch a repeat.
Harper is the third-highest selection at +900 at both books. Juan Soto of the Nationals and Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves are the top selections at both books.
5. What about Millville Mike?
Betting respect remains high for Mike Trout, the Millville native and Los Angeles Angels superstar, who missed most of last year with a calf injury.
Trout, a three-time MVP winner, will not start as the AL favorite. He is second at +450 at Caesars and DraftKings Sportsbook. Defending league MVP Shohei Ohtani leads the pack with +325 at Caesars and +350 at DraftKings.
6. The Mets: deGrom, deGulp
High anxiety over deGrom hangs over the Mets. The perennially-hyped team had a rare reduction of wins expectation because ace hurler deGrom won’t start the season.
The Mets were at 90.5 before it was announced that deGrom will miss the start of the season with a stress reaction in his right shoulder. And this is after he missed the second half of last year as the team tumbled to 77-85.
“The Mets said they were shutting deGrom down for a month and he won’t touch a baseball,” Biggio said. “To me, that’s code for him being back two months at the earliest with how fragile deGrom was last year.
“I don’t see him pitching until at least the All-Star break, so that’s at least 15-16 starts right there, and thought that was worth a 3-win difference. “We were a little aggressive moving the Mets down by 3 wins compared to the rest of the market. The Mets are still going to be solid and they’re deep. But when deGrom is on, he’s the best pitcher in baseball, so there’s nobody they can slot in to cover that.”
7. Mad Max looks geared for Game 2
The Mets spent more than $40 million a season for the next three years to land ace right-hander Max Scherzer. But a nagging hamstring injury will keep him off the opening day bump. He is scheduled to start Game 2 on Friday against the Washington Nationals, whom he pitched for at the beginning of last year.
Who will start on opening day?
Candidates include Tylor Megill, David Peterson or a bullpen game. Both Megill and Peterson are traveling north with the team, but one of them could be ticketed for the taxi squad.
The Mets parted with a boatload of money and this is the group that creates their projected opening day starter.
8. The Pete props
Slugging Pete Alonso is not only a fan favorite, but potential betting magnet. He’s got Starling Marte at the top of the order able to steal bases and reach scoring position. He’s got Francisco Lindor, who hopes to rebound off a bad first year in New York.
Alonso is at +1400 to be the RBI leader in the major leagues, tied for fourth with Rafael Devers (Boston Red Sox) behind leader Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (Toronto Blue Jays) +850.
Alonso is second behind Guerrero (+700) to win the MLB home run title. He is at 1000.
9. Phillies and Mets go at it early
Philadelphia and New York face each other six times in the first month of the season.
The Mets invade Citizens Bank Park Monday through Wednesday next week.
The Phillies travel to Citi Field April 29-May 1.
Toe the rubber. Get ready for the first pitch.
New Jersey bettors, it’s time to play ball.