Two startling revelations greet Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets backers regarding MLB futures.
The Mets have mammoth expectations. The Phillies do not.
This is startling because the Phillies outperformed the Mets last year. But NJ online sportsbooks see a different story in 2021.
This, and other discussions have come to the NJ sports betting forefront now that the books posted first MLB odds. The World Series, league pennants, division, and individual betting competitions were put up to match the start of spring training.
The season, which starts April 1, will be here before we know it.
Phillies and Mets worlds apart
The Phillies finished 28-32 in the shortened 2020 season, while the Mets were 26-34.
So why is so much more expected of the Mets this season?
Oddsmakers and some bettors have endorsed the Mets’ active off-season performance, where they landed start a major arm in pitcher Carlos Carrasco and a top shortstop in Francisco Lindor, among others. Gamblers expect another big season from slugger Pete Alonso and the Mets offense, which led the league in team batting average last year.
The Phillies, doomed by a bad bullpen last season, have fallen under the radar. Keep an eye on that when other big bets, like season win totals, appear in coming weeks. The Phillies may be under-valued in that category.
The Mets, meanwhile, are projected to well collectively and individually.
Let’s look at the Phillies and Mets odds of winning the World Series at William Hill compared to other top contenders.
The world champion Los Angeles Dodgers, bolstered by the signing of Trever Bauer, are + 350 to win the World Series.
And the New York Yankees are +550, a reasonable number for a team with Gerrit Cole.
Here are some of the others:
- San Diego Padres +900
- Mets +1000
- Chicago White Sox +1000
- Phillies +4000.
There are 10 teams between the White Sox and Phillies.
The Los Angeles Angels and Chicago Cubs are +4000, too.
And here are the National League pennant odds:
- Dodgers +170
- Padres +425
- Mets +500
- Phillies +1200
The division races are always tempting. Beat a handful of teams and collect.
The first pitch of the 2021 Pro Baseball season is inching closer. ⚾️
William Hill recently released its division odds for all 30 teams. “Both the NL East and NL Central are wide-open this year.” – Nick Bogdanovich
Check out the current division odds and read more ⬇️
— William Hill US (@WilliamHillUS) February 10, 2021
It pays to wager before big news sets in. One New Jersey bettor at William Hill placed $5,000 on the Mets 25/1 for a total potential payout of $130,000. That was way before odds were posted and, most likely, before the Mets signed Carrasco.
Mets getting some love at DraftKings
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Play NJ that the Mets always gain significant money.
“We had them much higher initially, but people love to bet them, regardless of the season,” Avello said. “This year they improved the team. They picked up some first-class players.
“With so many good teams out there, you might have thought the betting odds on them would remain higher, but we took money on them right away.”
DraftKings Sportsbook, posted several individual betting interests, and the wagers include current Phillies and Mets.
One of the options is betting on which player will be the Major League strikeout leader. Notice the two favorites play for New York teams:
- Gerrit Cole, Yankees +425
- Jacob deGrom, Mets +525
- Shane Bieber, Indians +650
- Aaron Nola, Phillies +2000
- Carlos Carrasco, Mets +3300
Key factors in these bets are the pitcher’s health and how he is used.
A strong bullpen is good for obtaining victories, but in the case of Cole, the Yankees will rarely let him exceed seven innings.
Switching to home run leaders, Mets first baseman Pete Alonso leads the pack at +1000, along with South Jersey native Mike Trout of the Angels.
Bryce Harper of the Phillies is +2000.
NEW: Pete Alonso and Mike Trout are the favorites to lead the MLB in Home Runs 🤔 pic.twitter.com/h3Nfepn6IU
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) February 16, 2021
BetMGM seeing love affair with Mets, too
BetMGM is seeing a similar early results with the Mets.
Seamus Magee, sports trader for BetMGM says “they have received the highest ticket and handle percentage to win the World Series, we’ve adjusted the team’s odds from +2500 to +1200.”
“In addition to the Mets, the sportsbook has liability on the Angels, Blue Jays, and Cardinals,”said Magee.
Here is a look at the World Series futures line movement:
- Dodgers opened +400, currently +350 (betting favorites)
- Mets opened +2500, currently +1200
- Cardinals opened +3000, currently +2200
But here is where the love for the Mets is really showing. BetMGM says the Mets have received twice as many tickets and handle as any other team.
- Mets 24.6%
- Yankees 12.1%
- Padres 8.7%
- Phillies 2%
- Mets 31.2%
- Yankees 14.2%
- Dodgers 10.5%
- Phillies 1%
Analyzing the Mets odds
For the Mets, deGrom was his usual all-world self last year. He logged 68 innings, had an eye-opening WHIP of 0.96 and 104 strikeouts.
But he can’t pitch every day.
That’s where Carrasco comes in. The Mets obtain a pitcher who posted a 2.91 ERA and had 82 strikeouts in 12 regular-season starts. He also is a cancer survivor. Carrasco has been one of the American League’s lights-out pitchers for several years and, on his best, would approach 200 innings.
Can he do it for the Mets?
A major question mark for the Mets concerns Marcus Stroman. He suffered a calf injury and opted out of the 2020 season. Stroman is returning and could be reasonably effective as a number three or four starter.
And then there is Noah Syndergaard, who is coming off another season-ending injury and Tommy John surgery in the off-season. Will he become more of a finesse pitcher now? He may not pitch until June.
The Mets have two bonafide pitching stars and some exceptionally good pitchers.
The Mets hit .272 last year, 15 points above the Phillies. Michael Conforto, Dominic Smith, and Alonso provide excellent offense, along with Jeff McNeil.
Lindor hit 32 homers two years ago for the Indians. Anything in that neighborhood this year will be seismic for the Mets.
This team can hit.
And Edwin Diaz can throw gas in the bullpen. The question is whether he has the temperament to be a closer. Dellin Betances and Jeurys Familia are part of a strong bullpen.
Analyzing the Phillies odds
The Phillies received good starting pitching at the top of the rotation, and their starters deserved better in 2020.
Nola was a gem with a sterling 1.08 WHIP. He tabbed 96 strikeouts, one of the league’s highest totals, in 71 innings. His 5-5 record was no indication of how well he pitched.
Nor was the 4-2 mark of Zack Wheeler, whom the Phillies had obtained from the Mets in the 2019-2020 offseason. He hurled to a 2.92 ERA with a strong 1.17 WHIP and had 53 strikeouts in 71 innings.
Zach Efflin supplied 59 innings pitched, 70 strikeouts and a WHIP that was serviceable at 1.27.
All in all, a reasonably good top three for the Phillies.
But the bullpen killed their efforts.
In the lineup, Harper had a good-enough second year with the Phillies. He belted out 13 homers and knocked in 33 RBI. That would have projected to the mid 30’s in homers and around 100 RBI. Not the monstrous expectations put into his multi-year deal with the Phillies, but workable.
Harper, now in his third year with a Phillie, is +1500 to win the MVP at DraftKings.
The Phillies re-signed J.T. Realmuto, who supplied 11 homers and 32 RBI in 2020.
Who led the Phillies in RBI last year? Was it a shortstop?
Yes, it was. Didi Gregorius, also re-signed, knocked in 40 and hit 10 homers. His numbers project to more than 100 RBI. Can Didi do it again?
Alec Bohm was a pleasant surprise, leading the team at a .338 average. Unfortunately for the Phillies, he was the team’s lone .300 hitter.
However, a new season means all 30 teams are starting with a clean slate. And only one of them, whether it be the Mets, Phillies or somebody else, will deliver a winning ticket for bettors.