Major League Baseball’s decision to play a truncated 60-game schedule is bound to present challenges for those who are serious about sports betting and handicapping.
And in examining some of the futures betting options for the Philadelphia Phillies, the team appears set to face its fair share of challenges in the 2020 season as well.
The good news for Phillies fans is that sportsbooks across the Keystone State expect first-year manager Joe Girardi to field a competitive team. The over/under on wins has been established at 31.5 across multiple venues including DraftKings, FanDuel, SugarHouse, Unibet, and FOX Bet. The bad news is that win total is fourth among National League East teams, with the division expected to be highly competitive, and the Phillies have the added misfortune of one third of their schedule being interleague matchups versus AL East teams — most notably Girardi’s former club and the AL favorites, the New York Yankees.
DraftKings, Unibet, and SugarHouse are offering -112 in either direction on the win total, with FOX Bet right behind the pair at -110 on both sides. FanDuel looks to be the most skeptical, offering -106 for those believing the Phillies can claim 32 or more wins and -116 for 31 or fewer victories.
Philadelphia finished 81-81 last season but stumbled down the stretch, losing nine of its final 12 games. The Phils have not finished above .500 since winning the NL East in 2011 and recording 102 victories.
Division, pennant, and World Series doings
FOX Bet does not have an offering for the NL East crown, but the other four sportsbooks are offering the Phillies in a very narrow range between +320 and +325, with SugarHouse, Unibet, and DraftKings sporting the latter. Philadelphia is clearly a fourth choice among the sportsbooks, with Atlanta an early favorite ranging from +200 to +215 and both the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals and New York Mets spanning +240 to +290.
In terms of making their first World Series appearance since losing to the Yankees in 2009, FOX Bet is the most bullish on the Phillies at +900 to capture the NL pennant. DraftKings, Unibet, and SugarHouse hit the middle spot of the five offerings at +1100, and FanDuel checks in at +1300.
FOX Bet does have a World Series boost for the Phillies, offering +2500 compared to the standard +2200. SugarHouse, Unibet, and DraftKings have them at +2000 to win their first title since 2008, and FanDuel is again not as bullish, offering a standard play of +2500.
Harper and Nola player prop offerings
Prop offerings for both slugger Bryce Harper and staff ace Aaron Nola are peppered throughout Pennsylvania sportsbooks for the NL MVP and Cy Young Award. For all of FanDuel’s skepticism regarding the Phillies postseason chances, the sportsbook is the most bullish on Harper’s MVP potential at +1300. FOX Bet is further back at +1600, while SugarHouse, Unibet, and DraftKings are offering +1800.
Harper, who rang up 35 homers and 114 RBIs in his first season with the Phillies in 2019, is also in a few statistical prop plays, getting anywhere from +2100 (FanDuel) to +2200 (Unibet, FOX Bet) to hit the most home runs in the majors. He is also a +2000 selection at SugarHouse and DraftKings to lead the league in RBIs. In 2019, Harper ranked 23rd in the majors in homers and 12th in RBIs.
FanDuel is also relatively bullish on Nola to win his first Cy Young, offering +1800. The other four books stake him at +2200, but FOX Bet is also running a promo offering him at +2800. The righthander also has a +2400 listing at FanDuel to lead the majors in strikeouts, with DraftKings and Unibet right behind at +2500.
Nola, who went 12-7 last season but was winless in his final eight starts, was tied for 14th with a career-high 229 strikeouts and 19th with 10.19 strikeouts per nine innings in 2019.
FOX Bet is offering +265 for those bold enough to pick the Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates to both finish with over 28.5 wins. The Pirates’ individual over/under at FOX Bet is 25.5 wins at -110 in either direction.