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‘An extra bonus for having the faith’: Phillies World Series bettors have a decision: Let it ride or cash it out?

The Phillies have taken futures bettors on a wild ride, and they want the fun to continue.

Members of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate in the locker room after defeating the San Diego Padres in game five to win the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Members of the Philadelphia Phillies celebrate in the locker room after defeating the San Diego Padres in game five to win the National League Championship Series at Citizens Bank Park on October 23, 2022 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)Read moreTimothy Nwachukwu / Getty Images

Kyle Schwarber had just hit a home run in his first plate appearance as a member of the Phillies, and Francisville’s Matt Maslanka was texting with a friend.

“They’re gonna be the team to beat,” his friend texted, and it was time to get a World Series bet down while the odds were long.

So Maslanka logged on to his FanDuel account and put $20 on the Phillies to win the World Series at 25/1 odds. It was 3:33 p.m., less than a half hour after first pitch of opening day.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” Maslanka said Tuesday.

A wild one, for all Phillies bettors. From opening day to clinching a trip to the World Series, nothing about this postseason run has followed a formula. At various points this season, the Phillies were the among the longest of long shots. The Phillies were 40/1 by the All-Star break and even when they clinched a spot in the postseason in Houston in early October, oddsmakers weren’t expecting this. They had worse odds (35/1) before a playoff pitch was thrown than they did on that opening day — when Schwarber homered, Bryce Harper was healthy and playing the field, and Joe Girardi was still the manager.

Things, as you may know, have changed.

Phillies bettors have been along for the ride at various points of the season. Now, a few last questions remain before the Fall Classic opens Friday in Houston against the favored Astros: cash out, hedge your bet, or let it ride?

‘An extra bonus for having the faith’

It was early August when Madelyn Hicks was watching the Phillies rally from behind to beat the Miami Marlins in what became a seventh consecutive win during a pivotal stretch when the Phillies won 12 of 13 and brought postseason dreams back to reality across the Delaware Valley.

Watching the Phillies rally against Miami, Hicks said she thought: “This team could rally against anyone. They’re never out of the fight. The idea just crept in: why not us?”

She, too, logged into FanDuel, and put $10 on the Phillies to win the World Series, at 35/1 odds.

Betting only $10, Hicks said, “isn’t too risky.”

“Obviously the excitement of watching this team be good is incredible, and watching the games with my friends both at the Bank and at home is a perfect way to spend a summer,” she said.

She was in fifth grade when the Phillies last won the World Series in 2008 and remembers watching it on the couch with her brother. She just moved to Center City, and “getting to really be in the middle of it all is awesome,” she said.

There’s the chance of a nice payout, too. FanDuel is offering a cash-out option of $108, meaning Hicks could pocket about $100 in profit and watch it all unfold, but she’s going to hold out for the $360 payout.

After all, it’s “just an extra bonus for having the faith,” she said.

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

Turning a promotion into a payday

The Phillies were 49-43 at the All-Star break, and oddsmakers at FanDuel had the team at 40/1 to win the World Series.

The sportsbook was also offering a promotion: Bet on a team to win the World Series, and you’ll get $20 per win for the next 10 games after the break, plus a $75 free bet.

For Josh Peters of Springfield (Delaware County), the choice was simple. He put $150 on the Phillies to win it all at 40/1 ($6,150 payout). The Phillies won six of 10 out of the break (earning him $120), and his wager was basically entirely covered by the promotion.

He’s letting that bet ride for now, though the cash-out option is $1,770. Peters said he did bet on the Astros to win the World Series before the start of the ALCS for a “few hundred” at +170 odds to hedge his Phillies play, and has other hedge plays that will guarantee him a profit, though he’s not willing to cut too much into his original payout.

“Not a big fan of totally hedging and ruining the run,” he said.

“Love the Phillies chances with [Justin] Verlander 0-6 in World Series games and the fact the Astros have yet to lose a game this postseason. When the Phils win Game1 I’m interested to see where the cash out option sits, but I’m going to ride it no matter what.”

When, he said.

Phillies fans are nothing but confident right now.

‘Why not throw a little on it?’

Mike O’Neill had been tracking the Phillies’ World Series odds for most of the season. So when the playoffs were starting and he saw that their odds (35/1 at BetMGM) were the same as they had been for most of the season, he thought: “Why not throw a little on it?”

He was figuring the odds would be around 12/1 or 15/1, but 35/1? It was time to turn that into a $1,000 payday. O’Neill, a Northeast Philly resident, put $30 on the Phillies, and has watched as the magical ride has continued.

“It’s fun,” O’Neill said. “My wife is aware and it probably drives her interest in the games way more than it normally would be. … it definitely makes you feel invested in the team a little more.”

Tuesday, O’Neill logged into his BetMGM app and saw the cash-out option: $346.

Letting it ride? he was asked.

“Oh yeah, no doubt about it,” O’Neill said. “We’re winning it.”

Colorado bettor letting it ride, too

How’s this for a long shot?

BetMGM said a bettor in Colorado bet $50 on April 13 for the Astros to defeat the Phillies in the World Series. The odds on that happening: 2500/1. The bettor will make $125,000 if Houston wins the series.

There’s a simple way to turn that $50 into a guaranteed profit of $77,000 no matter what happens: Bet around $48,000 on the Phillies at their current price of +165 (1.65/1).

The bettor, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is pretty confident in the favored Astros. He told the Action Network that he’s letting it ride.

“It’s been surreal living and dying with the Phillies from April all the way through Philtober,” the bettor said, in a statement issued by BetMGM. “Shout-out to the Astros for taking care of business, and to the Dodgers for choking as usual.”

BetMGM is sending the bettor to Houston for Game 1.

Playing with ‘house money’

Cherry Hill’s Nick DellaVecchia thought the Phillies were trending in the right direction in early August. They were in the midst of that stretch of winning 12 of 13 games, but the World Series odds weren’t budging much. Harper was still out, but he was nearing a return, and DellaVecchia thought the Phillies had the right formula for a postseason run.

“They have a great makeup for the playoffs,” he said. “Two dominant starters in Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola, a few dominant relievers in [José] Alvarado and [Seranthony] Domínguez.”

At the same time, the Mets were trending in the wrong direction, though DellaVecchia did admit he was still fearful of the Braves.

“I felt pretty good about what was going on,” he said.

So good that he put $50 down on DraftKings for the Phillies to win the World Series at 40/1 odds. A Phillies win would net him $2,000.

He checked on Tuesday to see what the cash-out option was, but said he didn’t have one. Even if there was one, he said, he wouldn’t take it, though he will likely put some money down on the Astros to guarantee himself around $100 profit.

But the big payday will come if the Phillies finish their unlikely run.

“I’m confident we can win,” DellaVecchia said. “If we win Game 1 in Houston, I’ll be playing with house money.”

That’s how Maslanka — the Francisville resident who placed a World Series bet after Schwarber’s opening-day homer — feels, too. Betting the Phillies then was “putting our money where our mouth is,” Maslanka said.

He talked with his friend about cashing out his $20 bet for $125, but that number is “disrespectful,” he said. “It’s so low.”

They’re going to hold out for the $500 payday instead.

“The Phillies keep beating expectations,” Maslanka said. “They’re still counting them out.”

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