Despite Slower Start, Mets Favored Over Phillies Entering Four-Game Rivalry Series

Strange start to 2021 has the teams tied in the loss column and the Phils up four in the win column
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Baseball, with its 162-game season, is the ultimate large-sample-size betting sport. Look no further than the Sunday results for the two New Jersey-adjacent NL East teams for evidence of the unpredictability of any single game. 

The Philadelphia Phillies advanced to 6-3 on the young season in a nationally televised battle with the Atlanta Braves, aided by possibly the most controversial call in the league so far — one that MLB almost certainly got wrong even with the help of replay.

The New York Mets, who had their first three games of the season postponed by COVID issues in the clubhouse of their scheduled opponent, played for all of seven minutes Sunday in the rain against the Florida Marlins before the game was suspended. It left the Mets’ record stuck on 2-3.

(This came after the Mets had scored a highly controversial win of their own that replay couldn’t resolve just a few days earlier.)

So the Phils and Mets are tied in the loss column, but two games apart in the standings, entering a four-game Monday-Thursday set at Citi Field. It’s way too early in the season to call any game pivotal. But after the Philadelphia club took two of three from New York last week, there’s that much more motivation for the Mets to start living up to their odds to win the NL East — which remain much shorter than those of their thus far slightly overachieving rivals down I-95.

Mets 11/1 to win World Series, Phillies 40/1

It’s a long season, and neither the first five games nor the first nine games for any team are likely to swing their odds much. As such, the NJ sports betting operators still view the boys from Queens as a more serious contender for the division, league, and World Series crowns than the Phillies.

The Mets actually have the fourth shortest odds to win the World Series in all of baseball — the highest number on them currently is +1100 at FOX Bet. (They’re +1000 pretty much everywhere else you look in New Jersey.)

The Phils, meanwhile, remain in the middle of the pack, with odds as high as +4000 at such NJ sportsbooks as DraftKings, Unibet, WynnBET, and 888sport.

As for odds to win the National League pennant, Golden Nugget has the best return on the Mets at +600, while WynnBET offers the highest price of +2200 on the Phillies.

The most immediate pursuit for both teams, though, is the NL East title, and on that front, Philly has crept a bit closer to contention. After starting the season in fourth place at most books, the Phils have now moved ahead of the struggling Nats. Here’s how a handful of NJ books had the Mets and Phillies priced to win the division as of Monday morning:

 FanDuelDraftKingsPointsBetFOX BetBetMGM
Mets+145+160+125+150+150
Phillies+400+375+490+475+400

Aces Nola and deGrom won’t square off this week

Individual MLB game odds are rarely released more than a day in advance, so only Monday’s game was available at mobile or retail sportsbooks at the outset of the week. With the starting pitching rotations very much out of sync due to the Mets’ various postponements, New York would appear to have the pitching edge in Game 1, rolling out third starter David Peterson against the Phils’ No. 5 starter, Chase Anderson.

With the Mets also the home team, it’s no surprise that they’re the moneyline favorite at all books. William Hill offers a very customer-friendly pair of lines, with both the low price on the Mets (-135) and the high price on the Phillies (+125). On the run line, you can get the Mets -1.5 runs for a +148 price at DraftKings or the Phils +1.5 with a -161 lay at BetMGM. Every book has the total runs over/under at 8.5.

Scheduled pitching matchups for the rest of the series:

  • Tuesday: Phillies’ Aaron Nola vs. Mets’ Taijuan Walker
  • Wednesday: Phillies’ Zach Wheeler vs. Mets’ Joey Lucchesi
  • Thursday: Phillies’ Zach Eflin vs. Mets’ Jacob deGrom

There’s a decent chance the Phils will be road favorites in the middle two games based on the pitching matchups, while New York will surely be favored behind deGrom in Thursday’s 12:10 p.m. showdown.

Despite getting his usual lack of run support, deGrom (somehow 0-1 with an 0.64 ERA) remains the clear NL Cy Young favorite at +300 at almost every sportsbook in New Jersey. Nola (0-0, 2.53 ERA) is in the chase pack at a state-best price of +1300 at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Meanwhile, Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper has the shortest MVP odds of anyone on either team (ranging from +1400 to +1600), while Mets masher Pete Alonso is part of a three-way tie for the shortest odds to win the MLB home run title at +1200 — the same price as Mike Trout and Joey Gallo. Alonso has just one homer so far, although he’s played about half as many games as the current league leaders.

Photo by Bill Streicher / USA Today Sports

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