Odds

Can the Phillies turn things around? Oddsmakers have their say

Can the Phillies turn things around? Oddsmakers have their say

The Phillies will exit the All-Star break on Friday in third place in the NL East with a record of 47-43 after 90 games. Where do they go from here? Well, oddsmakers at Caesars Entertainment have their opinion, and it’s not promising.

First, let’s take a look at where we started. Here’s what the Vegas win totals looked like after the Phillies signed Bryce Harper in March.

Phillies: 89.5

Nationals: 88.5

Braves: 86.5

Now, just past the midway point, here are the current win totals you can wager over or under on.

Braves: 92.5

Nationals: 88.5

Phillies: 82.5

Yikes.

Let’s figure out what happened here.

Atlanta Braves

Flat out, the Braves are much better than Vegas thought they would be. I think everyone expected the lineup to be good, but perhaps not this good. Josh Donaldson has been crushing the ball after a slow start, Austin Riley is having a tremendous rookie season and everyone else has continued the success they displayed last season.

What has been surprising, however, is the way the Braves have been pitching. While Mike Soroka was expected to be good, no one had him in the All-Star Game in his first year. Julio Teheran has been a workhorse, Max Fried has been more than serviceable and Luke Jackson has been a tremendous closer. The team also went out and signed Dallas Keuchel, who could prove to be a very strong addition in the second half.

A team that has been relatively healthy all season long projects to continue their strong first half and win the NL East.

Washington Nationals 

The Nationals lost Harper and Daniel Murphy from their Opening Day lineup last year but still have quite a formidable stable of hitters.  Juan Soto is proving to be one of the best young bats in the league, Anthony Rendon is putting up the kind of numbers to get himself a massive payday and even former Phillie Howie Kendrick has been really good this year. The Nationals absorbed a tremendous amount of injuries early on to be one of the hottest teams in baseball at the break.

The Nationals also have one of the best rotations in the NL. Max Scherzer is displaying more Cy Young stuff, Stephen Strasburg has been consistently good and offseason acquisition Patrick Corbin has been as advertised. If the middle of the bullpen can improve, the Nationals could fight the Braves for the division.

Philadelphia Phillies 

After making a number of additions to help the offense, the Phillies hoped they’d be able to outslug their opponents in 2019. That hasn’t happened. Nearly everyon except Scott Kingery and Rhys Hoskins has underperformed and the loss of Andrew McCutchen has left a gaping hole at the top of the order. 

The Phillies' arms have been decimated by injury, too. Guys like David Robertson, Pat Neshek and Seranthony Dominguez were expected to anchor the bullpen. Starters Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta, Jerad Eickhoff and Vince Velasquez have severely underperformed. The Phillies have regressed and it’s beginning to look a lot like 2018.

Last season, the Phillies entered the All-Star break at 53-42 and went 27-40 the rest of the way. Are you sure that can’t happen this season, too?

For the Phillies to hit the over, the offense will have to heat up, which it certainly could, and the arms will have to stabilize. As Corey Seidman pointed out (see story), it might not make too much sense to give up prospects to get better this season. The Phillies are in it for the long haul, and the other teams in the NL might be more aggressive at the deadline.

So, is 82.5 as harsh as it looks? Probably not. It feels right. If the Phillies continue on the path they’re on, they’ll go under. If the bats heat up and the arms stabilize and get healthy, they could smash the over by mid-September.

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Fans are laughing at the New York Knicks, but oddsmakers are laughing the hardest

Fans are laughing at the New York Knicks, but oddsmakers are laughing the hardest

Let’s face it, everyone is laughing at the New York Knicks, but we can actually quantify how much the oddsmakers are laughing at the Knicks.

Yesterday, their odds to win the 2019-2020 NBA title were 45-to-1. Right now, the Knicks are a whopping 150-to-1.

Ouch.

The Knicks have seemingly lost out on every single player they had their eyes set on, from the No. 1 ping-pong ball and Zion Williamson to Kevin Durant. Their fall in the odds is a great indication just how bad things have gone for the Knicks, who seemed to be pointing to this moment.

As for the Sixers, their odds have gone unchanged, which is intriguing as well. Yesterday, the Sixers were 10-to-1 to win the NBA title and, after trading Jimmy Butler and adding Al Horford, they're still 10-to-1. By keeping Tobias Harris and replacing Butler and JJ Redick, the Sixers still appear well-positioned to be serious contenders in the East.

If Jimmy Butler comes back, the 12-to-1 number seems fair. However, should he not return, I’m not sure the number moves that much, either. Moving Butler in a sign-and-trade would return some value to the Sixers, more so if it’s to the Heat, who don’t really look like a threat even with him. Keeping a core of Embiid, Simmons and Harris keeps the Sixers in the upper echelon of the East.

Other notable movers include the Nets moving from 26-to-1 to 20-to-1, but they feel like a year away, and the Warriors moving from 12-to-1 to 17-to-1. Finally, the Toronto Raptors have remained at 7-to-1, given their chance to re-sign Kawhi Leonard remains high. Right now I think the best value could be with the Los Angeles Clippers who, if they’re able to somehow land Leonard, their price would skyrocket from the 20-to-1 they sit at now.

With some big names still out on the market, this is sure to be a fluid situation until all the free agents have made their decisions.

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Five things the 2020 NBA Championship odds are telling us

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Five things the 2020 NBA Championship odds are telling us

While the Toronto Raptors lifting the Larry O'Brien Trophy signified the start of the offseason, the Anthony Davis to the Lakers trade proves that in the NBA, there’s no such thing as an offseason.

According to Tom Haberstroh, the national NBA Insider for NBC Sports, the Lakers should be the heavy favorites to win the title (see story). But what are the new NBA title odds telling us?

Here are five takeaways from what I think the oddsmakers at FanDuel are telling us about the league, and the eventual 2020 NBA champion.

1. The Sixers (11-to-1) will keep Jimmy Butler

The Sixers have the fifth-best odds to win the NBA title, third in the East, and are significantly ahead of the Boston Celtics (18-to-1), the team with the fourth-best odds in the East. I think this says a lot about what team oddsmakers think the Sixers will have next season, which the value indicates will include free agent Jimmy Butler.

Looking at the available free agents on the market, Butler is the only one that could keep the Sixers in this spot in the oddsmakers' minds. Should he go to the Lakers, or another team, the Sixers would have the current value closer to the Celtics to win the title. While Tobias Harris is a nice player, he doesn’t hae the same value as Butler. The oddsmakers are making an assumption that No. 23 will be back.

2. The Warriors (11-to-1) are underdogs, but you shouldn’t count them out

Don’t be so quick to write off the Golden State Warriors, who will be without Kevin Durant for the entire season, and perhaps Klay Thompson, too. Oddsmakers have them even with the Sixers with the fifth-best odds in the NBA to win the title.

First of all, Steph Curry — a very good basketball player — returns alongside Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and you’ve already got a formidable trio. Should Thompson return, now you’ve got four players that nearly won the 2019 title themselves. 

Perhaps KD was already going to leave anyway, so his injury could be more symbolic, but it would be unwise to write the Warriors off just yet. 

3. Kawhi is probably going to the Clippers

This reminds me of last offseason when each of the LeBron James suitors had elevated odds, just in case he were to land there. First of all, the Raptors enter the offseason with the third-best odds to repeat at 5.5-to-1, which makes me think that the bookmakers want to keep the Raptors high enough so that no one bets on them before Leonard decides. I have absolutely no interest in the Raptors at the third-best odds without Leonard, but they seem fairly placed in that spot with him. If you like the Raptors to repeat, just wait to see what Kawhi does because their odds won’t move much, if at all, if he stays.

The Clippers, on the other hand, come in seventh-best at 12-to-1 and are elevated given the chance they will land the NBA Finals MVP. The Clippers finished eighth last season out West and the odds currently reflect their strong chance to get Leonard. 

4. The Knicks and Pelicans will have to wait their turn

The Knicks come in at 25-to-1, the 12th-best odds in the NBA to win the title, but what would that number have looked like with a healthy Kevin Durant? Maybe half that number?

The Knicks are a potential landing spot for nearly every free agent, but without KD, the oddsmakers aren’t giving them much of a shot. They missed out on the top pick in the draft, and while they’re likely to get a good player at No. 3 — our Amy Fadool has them taking R.J.Barrett in her mock — they’ve got time before they’re going to be seen as challengers.

Same for the Pelicans (100-to-1), who are being praised for what they got in return for Anthony Davis. With the Pelicans' infusion of youth, it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of Zion, Lonzo Ball, and company over the next five years. But this year, according to the oddsmakers, certainly isn’t it.

5. Despite being favored, the Lakers could be the best value

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma — do the Lakers (4-to-1) need anyone else? Of course they do, but that’s a tremendous start. With their entire complement of talent intact at the start of these playoffs, the Warriors were minus-200 to win the title. Now imagine a team with the three players mentioned, and perhaps, another superstar. With the Warriors weakened, Kawhi perhaps headed to a lesser team and KD out for the season, getting the Lakers at 4-to-1 now could look like incredible value come next postseason.

6. Bonus Longshot: Dallas Mavericks at 42-to-1.

How good will the Mavs be with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis? Not sure, but 42-to-1 could be worth a punt.

Happy NBA “offseason,” everyone. See you on Thursday for the draft, and perhaps, more craziness. 

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