Phillies sign Bryce Harper and MLB betting odds explode

Feb 28, 2019 |

As Bryce Harper agreed to a 13-year, $330 million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday afternoon, it would have come as no surprise that sportsbooks were hustling to adjust their World Series futures odds.

But two Las Vegas operations didn’t have to make any adjustments, getting out in front of Harper’s decision days ago.

“We were ahead of it,” CG Technology risk manager Tony DiTommaso said, noting his shops moved from 20/1 to 12/1 a week and a half ago.

Jay Kornegay, who oversees the SuperBook as vice president of race and sports for Westgate Las Vegas, said his book got a jump on the shift, too.

“We moved a few days ago,” Kornegay said of a Sunday move from 14/1 to 12/1. The SuperBook also moved the Phillies from 7/1 to 6/1 to win the National League pennant, and they’re now the 9/4 co-favorites with Washington – Harper’s former team – to win the NL East.

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews said today’s move didn’t impact his odds at all, as his shop stuck at where it’s been for quite some time on Phillies futures. But one aspect did get a modest adjustment.

“We opened Phillies season wins at 87 and got some Under money and went to 86.5. I just went back to the opening number,” Andrews said this afternoon. “I didn’t adjust anything else.”

That meant the Phillies remained at 15/1 to win the World Series, which is where they’ve been for a while after opening 20/1. Likewise, Philadelphia’s NL odds remained steady at 7/1, after opening at 10/1.

In New Jersey, DraftKings Sportsbook's Johnny Avello said today's news tightened the Phillies from 14/1 to 12/1 to win the World Series and 7/1 to 6/1 to take the pennant. DraftKings also adjusted season wins from 86.5 to 88.

"We were thinking the Giants had the inside track" to get Harper, Avello said.

In downtown Vegas at the Golden Nugget, sportsbook director Tony Miller made a fairly significant move, shifting the Phillies from 14/1 to 10/1 to win the World Series.

Caesars Palace oddsmaker Matt Lindeman tweeted out that his books also went from 14/1 to 10/1 on the Phillies to win the World Series, and bumped Philadelphia’s season win total from 86.5 to 89.5. William Hill US books in Nevada, New Jersey and beyond moved Philly's World Series odds from 12/1 to 10/1 and bumped the win total by 2.5 games, from 87 to 89.5, according to director of trading Nick Bogdanovich.

The SuperBook moved the Phillies' win total from 86.5 to 88.5 on Sunday, at the same time it adjusted the World Series odds. When today's news broke, The SuperBook ticked the win total up to 89.5 and also tightened Harper's MVP odds from 6/1 to 5/1. 

Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.

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