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Odds to make playoffs still in Phillies’ favor despite wild card tightening

Despite a tighter wild card race than just a week ago, the Phillies remain favored to make the playoffs.

Kyle Schwarber and the Philadelphia Phillies are still favored to make the playoffs despite a tighter race. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Kyle Schwarber and the Philadelphia Phillies are still favored to make the playoffs despite a tighter race. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)Read moreRich Schultz / Getty Images

A three-game sweep in Milwaukee in early June may end up making the difference for the Philadelphia Phillies, who enter the final 10 games of the 2022 Major League Baseball regular season with a 1 1/2 game lead over the Brewers for the final wild card spot in the National League.

The three wins at American Family Field — you’re forgiven if you still call it Miller Park — gave the Phillies a 4-2 series win over the Brewers and tipped the potential tiebreaker in their favor. Nearly four months later, those wins — by scores of 3-2, 10-0 and 8-3 — look like the biggest wins of the season.

The Phillies, after a weekend split with the Braves, have lost 7 of their last 10 at the worst possible time. But with 10 games left on the schedule, they remain favored to make the playoffs. DraftKings, one of the only major sportsbooks to offer odds on MLB teams “to make the playoffs,” had the Phillies at -300 Monday, while the Brewers, who have just nine games remaining were +185 to get into the postseason.

A week ago, when the Phillies had a 2 1/2 game lead, the Phillies were -280 and Milwaukee was +120. The race may be tighter, but time is running out, and that tiebreaker will be critical. (As a reminder, there is no longer a one-game playoff to decide playoff spots.)

The improvement in betting odds also coincides with an increase in the Phillies’ percentage chance to make the playoffs, according to FanGraphs. Last week, the Phillies were at 83.1%. They enter Tuesday night’s game in Chicago with an 86.6% chance at clinching a wild card spot. The Brewers, who were at 29.6% last week, enter their home contest Tuesday night vs. St. Louis at 20.5%. The San Diego Padres, who are 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies and in the second wild card spot, are up to 92.6% to make a wild card spot, up from 87.5% a week ago.

» READ MORE: Zack Wheeler’s ‘good rest’ appears to be a shrewd gamble by the Phillies

It’s all in the schedule

The Phillies play their final 10 games on the road, starting Tuesday night in Chicago, where they’ll play a three-game set before heading to Washington for four games. They finish their season with a three-game series in Houston.

The Phillies were swept at home by the lowly Cubs in Philadelphia, but will likely be favored to win all three games at Wrigley Field. They have owned the Washington Nationals to the tune of a 13-2 record in 2022. They’ll have a lot to play for, and the Nationals will be playing out the strings on a season that will likely see them finish with the worst record in baseball.

It’s possible the Phillies could clinch a playoff position in Washington and head to Houston with no worries.

Milwaukee faces two tough pitchers Tuesday and Wednesday when they host the Cardinals, who are leading the NL Central. The Brewers then finish their season with six straight vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates, who they have 11 wins in 19 tries against in 2022.

The Phillies and their fans will be big Cardinals fans Tuesday and Wednesday. They might also be rooting for the Dodgers, who are in San Diego for a three-game series with the Padres. It depends on who you’d rather see the Phillies face in a best-of-three series.

So, they make it. Now what?

While the Phillies are in good position to make the playoffs, making any noise when they get there remains unlikely, at least in the minds of oddsmakers.

The Phillies enter Tuesday tied with the Padres for the longest odds (+4100) to win the World Series of all 12 projected playoff teams, according to FanDuel.

The Phillies have the longest odds (+700) to reach the NLCS of the six projected National League playoff teams. And own even longer odds (+2000) to represent the National League in the World Series.

Clinching the final wild card spot means heading to St. Louis for a best-of-three series in the wild card round. If the Phillies are somehow able to jump the Padres and get into the second wild card spot, they will head to Atlanta.

For some Phillies fans, they might feel comfortable where the team is right now, in the sixth spot and slated to go to St. Louis face the Cardinals, who they won the season series against, 4-3.

The Phillies haven’t been to the postseason since 2011, so there’s probably little comfort to be had as we enter the final stretch. No matter what the odds and percentages are saying.

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

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