March 27, 2019
It's finally here. Almost.
On Thursday afternoon, the Phillies will begin their 2019 campaign with a revamped roster and renewed hope. And, unlike last season when the team over-performed early before crashing back down to earth later in the season, these are high (and lasting) hopes.
The Phillies, now armed with several All-Stars in the heart of their order and a Cy Young candidate at the top of their rotation, are hoping to make a big splash in 2019, one that ultimately leads them deep in the postseason. Of course, a lot can happen in 162 games, but if you believe the oddsmakers and prognosticators out there, the Phillies seem to have as good a chance as any to make the playoffs, and beyond that, perhaps make a run at the NL pennant and even the World Series.
According to offshore oddsmakers BetOnline.ag, the Phillies are -130 (10/13) to make the playoffs and even money (1/1) to miss. Prior to their offseason spending spree, however, they were just +150 (3/2) to make the playoffs and -180 to miss them. Those odds are somewhat different compared to what Westgate Superbook is saying. As of March 25, they had the Phillies as even money to make the playoffs and -120 to miss them, meaning their oddsmakers more or less believe the Phillies have a better chance at missing the playoffs than making them. Westgate also gave the Phillies a 2-1 chance at winning the NL East, with a projected win total of 89 games, and a 6-1 chance of winning the pennant.
But ESPN senior baseball writer Keith Law sees things a little more positively for the Phillies.
The Phillies were a legitimate contender for the division through the end of August last year, but everything went wrong for them in September and they needed to make a few major moves this winter ... which they did, adding Harper, David Robertson, Andrew McCutchen, J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura. If they fail to win the division or miss the playoffs entirely, it'll probably be a function of their rotation, which is clearly their weak spot and has two starters in it who might be better cast as relievers in Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez. [espn.com]
Law predicts the Phillies will win 90 games and will indeed make the playoffs, but as a wild card. He then says they'll fall to the Dodgers in a divisional round matchup.
BetOnline.ag believes the Phillies (21/10) have nearly the same chance as the Nationals (7/4) at winning the division, but actually gives the Phillies better odds than the Nats when it comes to winning the pennant. Go figure. In fact, they have the Phillies tied with the Dodgers for the best odds of winning the National League.
But what about winning it all? Well, the Phillies have done quite a bit of work this offseason to move up in the BetOnline.ag odds. When the season first ended, the Phillies had the 11th best odds to win the 2019 World Series at 22/1. Those odds are now down to 8/1, tied for the fourth best in all of baseball.
Even more interesting, perhaps, is that the Phillies have had the second highest percentage of total money placed on them to win the World Series. Only the Yankees have had more money wagered on them.
|Pct. of total
It's worth noting that not every sports book has the same odds. Far from it. For example, Westgate has the Phillies at 12/1 to win the World Series, tied for the sixth best overall odds along with Washington, Chicago and St. Louis. Only the Dodgers (7/1) have better odds among NL teams. OddShark is closer to BetOnline, giving the Phillies the fifth best odds to win the World Series at 17/2, but they also have the Braves with better odds than the Nationals, which is something I haven't seen elsewhere. Another big betting organization, William Hill, sees Philly with an 11-1 chance of being champions.
In other words, while odds are fun to look at, take them with a grain of salt. Just look at last year's World Series champion, the Boston Red Sox, who opened the 2018 season with 13/1 odds to win it all. Or look at the Astros from the year before, who were 15/1 to win the World Series. Neither team ranked among the top five prior to the season. So, just because the Phillies have seen their odds skyrocket this season, that doesn't guarantee success.
Of course, if you want to put a wager down on the Phillies this season, you better hurry. Luckily, you won't have to travel all the way to Las Vegas to do it this year...
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