Sports gamblers, like stock investors in bull or bear markets, thrive with the right trend.
New Jersey bettors have enriched their portfolios via the contrast of the Phillies’ last two managers.
Entering MLB’ s final week before the All-Star break, Joe Girardi and Gabe Kapler have become opposite sources of money.
Phillies and Giants both profitable for bettors, in different ways
Betting a rising stock: Gamblers will bank futures money via season win totals for the San Francisco Giants, Kapler’s current team.
The Giants, with 53 victories on July 5, will shatter the mid 70’s totals projected by major NJ sportsbooks like DraftKings, William Hill and BetMGM in March.
Betting a falling stock: The Phillies under Girardi are rewarding in-game bettors, who profit handsomely from a horrific Phillies bullpen. While the Phillies perform poorly, bettors pocket numerous “over” and moneyline wagers.
Girardi and Kapler triggered two of the bigger betting bonanzas in the first half of the season. Let’s take a look at each.
Giant Strides: San Francisco and Philadelphia odds movement
Kapler can cackle. The Giants skipper led his team to 13 more victories than the team that fired him in 2019, through July 5.
And take a bow if you had a remote inkling of this: When William Hill Nevada first posted 2021 World Series odds last Oct. 28, the Giants opened at +5000 (50-1). The Phillies were +3000 (30-1).
The Giants reached as high as +20000 (200-1) in the offseason before settling at +12500 on Opening Day. Their first in-season movement was to +10000 on April 11. However, San Francisco rose back up to +15000 on April 18.
By July 5, the Giants were down to +1800 to win the World Series. The Phillies were +6000, up from +5000 one week earlier. That means Philadelphia moved from 50-1 to 60-1. The Phillies remain in hailing distance of the New York Mets for the National League East lead (five games) but the heartbeat is faint.
At long odds, the Giants captured the imagination of one Nevada bettor, who put $2,550 on them to win the World Series at +20000 (200-1) odds for a potential payout of $512,550.
“We have the most liability on the Giants by far,” Nick Bogdanovich, Director of Trading for William Hill US, said in early June. “They are one of the biggest liabilities we’ve had on any MLB team in any season. They weren’t expected to make the playoffs with two of the best teams in their division. But they’ve played so well and they opened at such a high number, the liability has just kept on adding up since they keep betting them and betting them.”
What’s behind the Giants’ 2021 rise?
Unconventional Kapler brought young hitting instructors to the Giants. Through July 5, they led the entire major league in homers. Think Brandon Crawford, Mike Yastrzemski and Buster Posey for daily prop bets.
Kapler’s supposed weakness — the pitching realm — has actually been a strength for San Francisco.
The Giants have an ERA of 3.24, third in the league behind the San Diego Padres and the world-champion Los Angeles Dodgers prior to July 5.
This is a coup because the world-champion Dodgers acquired reigning Cy Young winner Trevor Bauer this past off-season and the Padres beefed up last year.
One San Francisco surprise is the emergence of pitcher Kevin Gausman. A career journeyman with a sub .500 career record and lifetime ERA over 4.0 suddenly found himself. Gausman has an 8-3 record and a 1.74 ERA, second in the NL behind New York Mets phenom Jacob deGrom.
But what about the Phillies?
In-Game insight: Phillies a midsummer night’s betting dream
The Giants entered the final week before the All-Star break with 30 saves.
And the Phillies had 19, along with an MLB-high 22 blown saves. They had an all-time MLB record 21 blown saves in 76 games.
The stat is horrible for fans, yet a blueprint of bliss for gamblers who can pocket the trend.
Had DraftKings Sportsbook run one of its patented themed promotions, it could be Meltdown Moolah. Bet the Phillies pen to collapse.
Recent examples from the Meltdown Hall of Fame: four straight blown saves and five in six games.
On June 23, it was a 13-12 loss to the Washington Nationals in which the Phillies blew leads of 5-0, 9-5 and 12-11. The over-under of 8.5 was reached both by the fifth inning and IN the fifth, which featured nine runs, four by the Phillies.
Some New Jersey bettors kept riding that total all the way up, taking the “over” at 13, then at 15, then at 18. It was a multiple wagering victory.
And the bullpen was just warming up.
Phillies bullpen woes translate to wins for many bettors
It then blew three consecutive saves against the New York Mets in an important four-game road series. The Phillies carried the lead into the last inning of every game and only split the set.
How important is that for a gambler? A team losing entering the last inning pays huge odds for a turnaround. (The Mets were +750 when trailing the New York Yankees by one run before the final frame on July 4. And they paid bettors handsomely by scoring six runs to win 10-5.)
The Philadelphia Follies continued last week against the Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and San Diego Padres. A 4-2 seventh-inning lead against the Reds became a 12-4 loss. But a win for the “over.”
A couple of nights later, the Phillies built a 5-2 lead in the fifth inning against the Marlins. But starter Aaron Nola had thrown a lot of pitches and you knew what was coming…Miami runs. The over-under, which had begun at 8.5, moved to 10.5. And 11.5. And 15.5.
For bettors, it was a pitch-and-catch. Gamble and collect.
Players who took the “over” at those junctures, much like craps players pushing their wagers when numbers roll in, prevailed several times. The Marlins won 11-6.
Don’t sleep on in-game MLB betting
Was the siege over? Nope.
A 3-0 ninth-inning lead against the Padres became a 4-3 victory a couple of days later. This had less impact on the betting, because the under still prevailed and there was no change on the moneyline. But still…
Sunday provided another Moolah Meltdown. Just as the “over 9” looked doomed in the ninth inning, Phillies reliever Hector Neris tossed bettors a six-run present. The Padres prevailed 11-1.
This is the beauty of betting. In-game patterns, even those predicting a nightmare for one’s favorite team, can become money.
The Phillies pen has given up more than a run an inning, for two weeks. To some, that’s a fret. To others, that’s a bet.
Lead image credit: AP Photo/Laurence Kesterson