MLB Baseball Betting: Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB Baseball Betting:  Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks

We’re going to learn a new word today: outlier. In statistics, an ‘outlier’ is “an observation point that is distant from other observations.” It has been co-opted into general use (due in large part to Malcom Gladwell’s book of the same name) to mean anything that is inexplicable to the discussion at hand. Horse racing types have used this concept for years though they don’t know it–whenever you hear a horse racing guy say that he’s ‘going to throw out the horse’s last race’ he’s really saying that ‘the horse’s last race is an outlier’. The horse racing example is a perfect segueway to what we’re doing here–our equine associate means that to effectively handicap a horse’s chances in a particular race it’s necessary to overlook some element of recent form which has more to do with happenstance than it does anything salient to their true ability.

Which leads us to the Philadelphia Phillies. After they were blown out in the first game of their three game set against the Arizona Diamondbacks they wrote it off and put it behind them. Interim manager Pete Mackanin said it was their ‘first bad game in a while’–that’s true since the Phillies had been playing very good baseball after a horrible start. Unfortunately, the followed it up with their second bad game in awhile and got blown out again by the Diamondbacks last night. The Diamondbacks are in a similar situation to Philadelphia–they started in horrible form but have been playing very good baseball of late. In other words, they’re not an ‘easy out’ by any stretch of the imagination.

So we’re going to bet *against* the Phillies being swept in this three game series. Betting against a sweep is a very long standing baseball handicapping concept and there’s several things that make it even more appealing here. You’ve got a Phillies team on the rebound and one in which Mackanin is trying to instill some confidence. You’ve got the same team coming off of back to back blowout losses. And you’ve got an Arizona team likely looking ahead to a tough road swing with stops in Atlanta and Pittsburgh.