The Phillies moved past the New York Yankees to become bookmakers' favorites to win the 2011 World Series after reports said that free-agent lefthander Cliff Lee had agreed to a deal with the team.
The odds on the Phillies' winning the championship shifted overnight to 9-5 from 6-1, making them the lone favorite, said Jeff Sherman, the assistant general manager at the Las Vegas Hilton's sports book. The Yankees' odds widened to 6-1 (the same as the Boston Red Sox') from 5-2.
"The Lee news drastically changed the landscape of the World Series odds," Sherman said in a telephone interview. "The Phillies have become the favorite at better than two to one, followed by two teams at 6-1 and then no one else better than 15-1."
At those odds, a winning $5 bet on the Phillies would yield a payout of $9.
The odds on the Yankees dropped when it became clear that Lee would not sign with New York, Sherman said. The news also moved the Texas Rangers' odds to 20-1 from 15-1.
The Antigua-based gambling website Bodog.com is offering wagers on whether Lee will win more or fewer than 17 games and whether the Phillies will win more or fewer than 96 games. Last season, the Phils were 97-65, the best record in the National League.