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@FastMoneyLabs’ Best Bet - 6/21

Philadelphia Phillies (36-32) at Texas Rangers (31-35)

Did you know that the 2022 Phillies are 20-11 (64.5%) vs. their Vegas Team Total (TT) on the road? Factoring in odds, if we bet Phillies TT every road game, we’d be up +7.7 units with a +21.66% ROI. For context on how good that is, the 2nd ranked team on that list has a +12.33% ROI (Arizona D’Backs).

The Phillies are not just covering their Team Total on the road, either. They’re smashing through it. Philadelphia is 1 of only 3 teams scoring 5+ runs per game on the road. Of those 3 teams, they’re the 2nd best at 5.41 runs per game — just short of the San Diego Padres (5.45).

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The city of brotherly love also thrives against Left-Handed Pitching (LHP). They’re the 5th ranked offense vs. LHPs this year, as measured by the wRC+ statistic. In the last 14 days they’ve been even better, posting a 149 wRC+ vs. LHPs. In layman’s terms, that means they’re performing 49% better than league average vs. Lefties right now.

That’s all good, but it begs a question. Why is their Team Total line so low today? I believe it’s a two-pronged answer.

First and foremost — they’re scheduled to face Martin Perez, a veteran Lefty having a career year. . . At least on paper. His 2.10 ERA is good for 6th best of qualifying pitchers right now. The betting market is clearly impressed. Spoiler alert: I’m not.

A wise man once said: if it looks like a fish and smells like a fish. It’s probably a fish. And I’m telling you right now, something’s fishy about Martin Perez’ 2.10 ERA.

The first sign of fishyness (not sure if that’s a word) is his Home Run rate. Only 2.7% of fly balls hit off Martin Perez are clearing the fence. I find that very interesting considering his career trend before 2022:


The bizarreness of this trend is suppressing his ERA, and I don’t think it’s sustainable. Eventually, those fly balls will start clearing the fence.

Martin Perez’ wacky ERA is perhaps best illustrated by this next chart. I stacked 4 different key performance indicators next to his ERA and plotted them through time. For this exercise, I used: ERA, expected ERA (xERA), Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP), and Skill-Interactive Earned Run Average (SIERA).


This chart shows a meaningful difference between his ERA and 4 related metrics that are widely viewed as strong performance indicators. In layman’s terms, when ERA is this different from xERA, FIP, xFIP and SIERA, it indicates a pitcher’s ERA is fluky. Said differently, it’s been a function of luck and is likely due for correction soon. It started to pull through in his last start (his worst of the season), but the numbers clearly show there’s still room to run.

The 2nd reason I think the Phillies Team Total line is so low relates to Bryce Harper’s status. He’s got an infected blister on his hand and missed the Phillies last game. I honestly think the betting markets are overreacting to this news though. Harper’s an elite hitter of course, but his numbers drop off against Left-Handed Pitching. Nearly every Phillies starter has great numbers against Martin Perez… except for Bryce Harper, who is just 1 for 13 vs. him. With that in mind, I’d love to have Bryce Harper tonight, but I’m not too concerned if he misses it.

For all these reasons, I feel we’re staring at a good bet to make  by backing the Phillies to score 4+ runs tonight, as they’ve done in 20 of their last 24 away games.

The Pick: Philadelphia Phillies Team Total Over 3.5 (-120)
(Odds via MGM)

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