The Philadelphia Phillies capped a busy offseason by shelling out the largest contract in the history of North American sports to superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. The Phils will have Harper’s talents for the next 13 years for a mere $330 million.
Although it’s by far the biggest splash of free agency, the Phillies were quite active prior to adding Harper. They traded for shortstop Jean Segura and catcher J.T. Realmuto, while signing veteran outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson as well.
After winning 80 games last season despite a terrible finish down the stretch, Philly looks to be in prime position to contend to win both the NL East and NL Pennant this year.
Of course, the sportsbooks in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have quickly adjusted their odds for the Phillies accordingly. Perhaps this is the year Philadelphia will make its first World Series appearance since 2009.
Phillies are for real
Sometimes a big-name acquisition can overshadow the headlines and lead a fan base into false hope. This is far from the case for the Phillies and their fans.
The 2019 Phillies are a legitimate threat and will be a difficult team to beat.
What was already a solid lineup in 2018 might be one of the most potent heading into this season. The front office has upgraded several positions to go along with a few promising youngsters already on the roster.
Here’s what the Phils’ Opening-Day lineup could look like:
- Andrew McCutchen LF
- Jean Segura SS
- Bryce Harper RF
- J.T. Realmuto C
- Rhys Hoskins 1B
- Odubel Herrera CF
- Maikel Franco 3B
- Cesar Hernandez 2B
- Aaron Nola P
The addition of Harper is the difference between this being a nice roster with potential and one that has the chance to win immediately.
Although some of Harper’s statistics have been inconsistent over the years, his power numbers have not. Bryce has averaged more than 32 homers over the last four seasons.
Something that will help him in Philly is the other big bats in the lineup. Harper will have plenty of protection wherever he bats in the lineup because of some of the other guys on the roster.
Hoskins hit 34 home runs a year ago while Maikel Franco and Odubel Herrera each had 22 for the Phils. Both new additions McCutchen and Realmuto reached the 20 mark in 2018, too.
With all these quality players surrounding Harper, opposing pitchers will be forced into throwing more strikes to Bryce than they’d prefer. He should see plenty of opportunity to create damage with his bat.
Another huge part of this team is ace Aaron Nola. The 25-year-old is coming off a breakout season in which he went 17-6 with 224 strikeouts. He had a 2.37 ERA and a WHIP of 0.97.
Even with these great numbers, Nola could easily continue to improve and post better statistics this year. If an improved lineup can offer more run support, Nola should easily compete for the NL Cy Young.
Phillies odds adjusted
Once the Harper deal was announced, sportsbooks across the country had to make adjustments. At the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, Phillies World Series odds dropped from +1800 to +1200.
Their odds to win the NL Pennant reduced from +900 to +600 and the Phillies win total jumped up three games to 89.5.
Currently, Philly’s odds at the DraftKings Sportsbook NJ to win the World Series sit at +1000, to win the NL Pennant is +500 and its over/under for wins is 88.5.
The FanDuel Sportsbook NJ has made similar changes. It has odds for Philly to win the World Series at +1200 with the same odds as DraftKings for the NL and win total.
FanDuel also has some special prop bets available in honor of the Harper signing. Since the book accepted so much futures action on the Phillies right after the announcement, it decided to offer two special Harper props.
You’re able to bet on how many total home runs Harper hits for the entire season. The current odds are Over 33.5 (-120), Under 33.5 (+100).
FanDuel will also take bets on if you think Harper will hit a dinger on Opening Day. The odds are Yes (+300).
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