MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Mets vs. Phillies Betting Preview (Sunday, May 2)

Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Francisco Lindor.

Mets vs. Phillies Odds

Mets Odds +100
Phillies Odds -118
Over/Under 9 (-103/-120)
Time 7:08 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Sunday morning and via DraftKings.

The New York Mets (10-11) and Philadelphia Phillies (13-14) are tied atop the Nation League East standings after one month, despite winning fewer than half of their games, combined.

Both offenses have been extremely unlucky, to date. Per Statcast, the Mets rank eighth, and the Phillies rank 15th in expected weighted on-base average or xwOBA, but their actual wOBA ranks are 21st and 25th, respectively. In terms of the differential between actual and expected wOBA, they rank second (-0.039) and fourth (-0.033), alongside two AL Central clubs (Cleveland and Minnesota). All of those teams can expect to see improved run production in the near future.

The Mets have won five of the eight meetings (+6 run differential) this season between these two NL East rivals, but have obviously underachieved (78-win pace) compared to preseason expectations (listed total of 90.5 wins). The Phillies were expected to finish in the 84-win range and have generally performed to expectations.

Are the Mets worth playing as road underdogs on Sunday Night Baseball, or is there a different betting angle to target in this matchup?

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New York Mets

The story of the Mets season, to date? Francisco Lindor (60 wRC+) is coming off the worst month of his career, immediately after signing a 10-year extension, and his team has produced an MLB-worst .561 OPS and .258 slugging percentage with runners in scoring position.

Despite their early struggles — both in the boxscore and the standings — the Mets have actually improved their playoff odds (per FanGraphs) since the start of the season. Their divisional odds have increased by 11.8% (to 69.6%) since the preseason, while their playoff chances have increased by 1.2%, likely since their main rivals in Atlanta have also struggled.

On the pitching side, the Mets rank first in both expected and actual wOBA, despite missing potential rotation pieces like Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard. Their defense has surprisingly been average (15th in both Defensive Runs Saved and Outs Above Average) despite low expectations in that area.

Sunday’s starter, David Peterson, has already faced the Phillies twice this season, allowing just two walks against 15 strikeouts in ten innings pitched. To this point in his young MLB career, the southpaw has performed like a league-average pitcher (.332 xwOBA, 4.52 xFIP), with solid command over a three-pitch mix (fastball, slider, changeup.)

Despite his first-round pedigree (2017), Peterson doesn’t have big stuff, and his ceiling as an MLB pitcher is likely limited to mid-rotation status. He does, however,  generate a high number of groundballs (57% in 2021) with his low-spin fastball, and his performance will ebb and flow with the quality of the defense behind him.

The Mets’ bullpen (MLB-best 3.07 xFIP) is mostly rested coming into Saturday. Lefty specialist Aaron Loup has worked consecutive days and three times in four days. Trevor May has also pitched three times since Tuesday, but neither pitcher has thrown more than 17 pitches in any one of those outings.

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Philadelphia Phillies

Even with Bryce Harper producing at an MVP level (184 wRC+) and Aaron Nola (2.84 xFIP) pitching the best he ever has, the Phillies are struggling to play .500 baseball.

Their bullpen (4.01 xFIP, 16.6% K-BB%) is greatly improved relative to last season’s abomination (4.61 xFIP, 13.1% K-BB%). Still, they have been a below-average defensive team, ranking 23rd in Defensive Runs Saved (-3) and 27th in Outs Above Average (-8), which aligns with their 2020 performance (28th in DRS, 29th in OAA).

The Phillies’ projected playoff odds (preseason 11.4% division, 16.4% playoffs) have only changed slightly (now 11% and 17.2%, respectively) since the start of the season. Still, if they want to make the postseason, they’ll need to get more out of the back end of their rotation, in addition to the expected positive regression on offense.

Zach Eflin saw a big bump to his strikeout rate (22.4% in 2021, vs. 13% career) in a limited sample last season by putting his four-seam fastball away in favor of a sinker. The strikeout rate has regressed over five starts this year, but Eflin has maintained the pitch mix and limited walks in 2021. His called strike plus whiff rate (29.5% in 2021, 28.3% in 2020, 26.3% career) is sitting at a career-best mark, and I’m confident that last season’s gains are legitimate.

Eflin gives the Phillies a solid No. 3 starter to pair with Aaron Nola and Zach Wheeler, but the question for the remainder of their season is how much they can get out of the bottom of their rotation.

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Mets-Phillies Pick

As of writing, I don’t see value on either team on the moneyline in either the first five innings or full game markets.

I would need a price closer to +127 on the Mets, or -108 on the Phillies in order to make a play in either half of the game.

Concerning the total, I see slight value both in the First 5 innings and full game markets, but I would need even money (+100) or better to consider a play on the Over 9, or -110 or better to bet the F5 Over 4.5.

Pick: Over 9 (+100 or better)  / F5 Over 4.5 (-110 or better)

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