MLB Odds: How I’m Betting Around a Crappy Phillies Bullpen

min read
Philadelphia Phillies' Corey Knebel pitches during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres, Wednesday, May 18, 2022, in Philadelphia.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy May 25, 2022, 9:22 AM

We’ve reached that point in the baseball season where we’ve got enough data to see betting trends for individual teams. Nearly two months of completed games mean that bettors can go beyond the simple quantitative analysis of xERAs and early OPS numbers. 

That’s good since MLB odds can be especially tricky when relying on basic information. In a sport where even the great teams lose 60 games per year, a solid process is absolutely critical to identifying winners.

So now that we’ve played about one-quarter of the season, I’m going to start writing about helpful team trends to consider when betting on baseball. These team trends should offer an extra element to think about when working through daily MLB predictions.

Let’s take a look at how to maximize ROI when betting on the Phillies.

MLB Best Bets: Phillies F5 vs. Phillies Money Line

Naturally, the Phillies less-than-perfect bullpen first got on my radar this season when they blew a six-run lead on the Mets in the ninth inning. James Norwood gave up four hits to start the inning, including a two-run bomb from Francisco Lindor. 

The Phillies then pulled him for Corey Knebel, who promptly gave up a pair of singles and a pair of doubles. 

It was tragic for Phillies fans, heroic for Mets fans and just kind of hilarious for anyone else… provided you hadn’t bet on the Phillies.

I, thankfully, had no action on the game. But one week later, when the Phillies were trying to close out a sweep of the Dodgers, I had bet Philly +120. Aaron Nola was on the mound once again, and he pitched a total gem – seven innings pitched, eight strikeouts and only two earned runs allowed. At Dodger Stadium! Very impressive.

Jeurys Famliia gave up an RBI double to Mookie Betts in the bottom of the eighth, but the Phillies maintained a 4-3 lead. They still led 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

That’s when Knebel was handed the ball. With two outs and nobody on, he gave up a triple to Cody Bellinger and walked Chris Taylor. Gavin Lux smashed a double into the right field corner, and the game was over. Dodgers win, 5-4. 

It wasn’t quite the Mets meltdown from a week earlier, but it was still a tough way to lose. 

Assuming the Phillies are in a healthy place in the Major League Baseball standings as the trade deadline approaches, I would expect them to be in play for some kind of bullpen help. They had a historically bad bullpen in 2021, and it’s past time to spend some capital to fix the problem.

But in the short term, I was more interested after that Dodgers loss in finding different ways to attack the various MLB betting lines attached to Phillies games.

The first solution I came up with is relatively obvious. I’ve been looking for spots to bet the Phillies on the F5 line.

Philadelphia is 9-12 straight up this month, including seven losses where it closed as the favorite. However, it’s 10-9-2 on the F5 line, including five wins with odds better than +100. The ROI speaks for itself.

The second strategy I’m experimenting with is live betting Phillies games. 

It’s a little more art than science, but my thought process goes something like this: if we know the Phillies bullpen sucks, then it’s time to start thinking about live betting the over somewhere around the fourth inning of a low-scoring game.

Additionally, if we know their bullpen sucks, fading the Phillies late in a game where they are winning can be profitable. In three of their 12 losses this month, Philadelphia had a lead in the ninth inning. 

That trend is still true as recently as Tuesday when they blew a one-run lead in Atlanta in the bottom of the ninth.

You might not win every ticket you bet, but the huge ROI on the winners should squarely put faders into the black.

There’s not much reason to think the Philly pen is going to start slamming the door on teams any time soon, so these should be viable notes for the next several weeks. I’ll probably reassess at the All-Star Break. 

All of this is a good reminder that – when hunting for MLB Best Bets –  a little bit of creativity goes a long way. Don’t be content with just betting straight money lines, day after day. 

MLB Live Betting at BetMGM

Live sports betting is available during each MLB game this season. From first pitch through the final out, you can view updated run lines, over/under totals, and more live sports betting opportunities at the best online sportsbook.

Jamie Foxx holding a mobile phone next to the BetMGM's risk-free bet offer.
About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.