LAS VEGAS — If the Phillies hook a big one on their free agency fishing trip, whether it’s Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, Philadelphia could become the second-hottest ticket on the MLB futures market.
In terms of popularity with the betting public, no team will surpass the Yankees. Even without Harper or Machado, the Yankees are tagged with baseball’s highest win total and continue to attract World Series action at a runaway rate.
As a long, strange offseason merges with the start of training camps this week, Harper and Machado remain unsigned. It’s baseball’s version of “The Bachelor” minus roses and paradise. When that finally changes, it seems neither star will end up in pinstripes and at least one will land in Philadelphia.
“It’s wild. Everybody is waiting on those two guys,” William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said.
Yet some oddsmakers are done with the waiting game. CG Technology and Caesars sports books have posted regular-season win totals. The Westgate SuperBook will post season wins on Sunday, with William Hill set to follow in two to three weeks.
At the Westgate, the Yankees, Red Sox and Astros share the World Series favorite’s role at 6-1 odds, but the Yankees have drawn more than double the money of Boston and Houston combined. The Phillies are lurking in a pack of contenders at 14-1.
“The Yankees are the sexy team,” Westgate book manager Ed Salmons said. “But I know there are a lot of people looking to bet the Phillies. Most people don’t realize the Phillies have a ton of money, they are back on the upswing and this is the year they are targeting. It sounds like Harper is going to the Phillies and he’s trying everything not to go. I think Machado wants to go to the Yankees or Phillies and he doesn’t want to go to the White Sox. That’s just my impression, and it’s guesswork at this point.”
CG Technology posted the Yankees atop the win totals board at 97, followed by the Red Sox and Astros (each at 96.5), Dodgers (94.5) and Cubs (90.5). The Phillies, the 11th team listed at 86 wins, could move up a few spots if they hook Harper or Machado.
What is a superstar worth to a team’s win total?
“It might be two or three wins,” Bogdanovich said. “It’s a tough question. In baseball, how much of an impact would one player make over 162 games? I don’t even know how to quantify it. A lot depends on where the player goes and what that team specifically needed. Machado being a shortstop is critical, but Harper being an outfielder not so much.”
Philadelphia’s recent trade with Miami for catcher J.T. Realmuto is already enough to put the Phillies over the top in the National League, said VSiN analyst Josh Towers. A team on the rise in 2018 added shortstop Jean Segura, outfielder Andrew McCutchen and reliever David Robertson before dealing for arguably the best catcher in the majors.
“To me, Realmuto is the difference-maker,” said Towers, a pitcher who spent parts of eight seasons in the majors (2001 to 2009) with the Orioles, Blue Jays and Yankees. “I do think the Phillies are the team to beat in the NL. What if they get Bryce? Their outfield gets better. The NL East is sick. The Mets, Braves and Nationals are improved.”
MLB Win Totals for 2019 Regular Season
New York Yankees 97 over -120
Boston Red Sox 96.5 o/u -115
Houston Astros 96.5 o/u -115
Los Angeles Dodgers 94.5 under -125
Chicago Cubs 90.5 over -120
Cleveland Indians 90.5 under -120
St. Louis Cardinals 88.5 o/u -115
Washington Nationals 88.5 o/u -115
Atlanta Braves 87 o/u -115
Milwaukee Brewers 86.5 over -125
Philadelphia Phillies 86 over -125
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