John Middleton unfurling his substantial bankroll that made the 13-year/$330 million MEGA-DEAL between Bryce Harper and the Phillies possible didn’t just create a seismic shift in the interest of baseball fans here in Philadelphia, it also created a tectonic (vocab flex) movement across MLB futures betting markets. The Harper signing, along with the previous acquisitions of J.T. Realmuto, Jean Segura, and Andrew McCutchen give the Phillies one of the game’s deepest lineups, one which could potentially power the team to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
A rosy outlook by me? Maybe, but I’m definitely not alone. NJ sportsbooks seem to be equally as bullish on Harper and the Phillies. Just take a look at this odds movement:
Those shifts don’t represent a mere nudge in the direction of the postseason, it’s a forceful thrust and bettors are embracing it. Check this out: FanDuel bettors have HAMMERED the Phillies since news broke of the deal. Since the announcement, the Phillies account for 79.5% of totals bets placed on the World Series winner and 85.3% of the action on the National League winner. Keep in mind, this is NJ sports betting action only, so of course it skews heavily in favor of Philly teams:
With that, let’s take a look at the current markets in the immediate aftermath of the deal.
Over at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Phillies’ +1000 odds make them the second-most likely National League team to win the World Series, behind only the Dodgers. Of course, the American League power trio of the Astros, Yankees, and Red Sox all remain strong favorites ahead of the Phillies. Meanwhile, over at FanDuel Sportsbook, the Phillies are tied with Chicago at +1200 to win the whole thing, with both teams behind only the Dodgers, which is currently installed at +750.
Admittedly, while all three American League teams appear better than their National League counterparts, there’s some value on the Phillies given the team can circumvent that bloodbath of an arms race on its way to the World Series.
National League Winner
If you like the Phillies to win the National League, but don’t like them to outlast one of the American League powers in the World Series, you can grab them at +500 with FanDuel Sportsbook and to reach the Fall Classic. Sure, the payout isn’t as good, but removing Houston’s overall balance, Boston’s potent offense, and New York’s bullpen and power from the equation doesn’t seem like a bad move.
In terms of the National League East picture, FanDuel currently offers the favored Phillies at +175, ahead of both the Braves and Nationals (+250), along with the Mets (+320) and the Marlins (+6500). BetStarsNJ also favors the Phillies, with Gabe Kapler’s team checking in at a slightly more modest +163 payout.
In terms of team win totals, bettors can grab either side of 88.5 with FanDuel and 89.5 with BetStarsNJ.
As for Harper himself, FanDuel checks in what seems like a fairly attainable home run total at 32.5. Admittedly, I initially thought this total seemed a bit low, but upon further review, it’s spot on. Harper has eclipsed 32.5 homers twice over the past four seasons (2015 and 2018), while averaging 32.25 homers per season during that timeframe. BetStarsNJ seems to fear Harper’s power potential a bit more, with the total set at 35.5 homers.
Oh, and if you think he’s going to make an immediate impact, you can get Harper to homer on Opening Day with FanDuel at a handsome +320 payout.
Given the depth of the team’s lineup and the friendly park factor afforded by 81 games at Citizens Bank Park, which was the fourth best home run park in baseball a season ago, I like his chances to soar the total by season’s end. One more thing: if you are REALLY bullish on Harper’s power stroke in 2019, you can grab him at 22/1 odds at BetStarsNJ to win the home run title, or grab his new best friend Rhys Hoskins at 33/1 odds.