Bryce Harper's signing with the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday certainly changed things in sportsbooks all over the United States.
In the days after the slugger signed his 13-year, $330-million Philadelphia's odds to win this year’s World Series improved.
At 888Sport, Philadelphia’s odds to win the national League pennant went from +600 last week to +500 as of Monday afternoon. Their NL East title odds moved from +240 to +175.
As for the odds to make the playoffs, 888Sport lists Philadelphia as +100 to be in the postseason and -124 to miss out.
ESPN reported on Friday that almost 80 percent of the bets placed on the World Series at the Fan Duel sportsbook in New Jersey were placed on Philadelphia.
The New York Yankees got more bets to win this year’s World Series via the FanDuel sporting platform.
In comparison, ESPN said the SuperBook at Westgate Las Vegas had the Phillies as just a middle-tier team in terms of World Series betting.
It is clear that, in the East, Philadelphia is a favorite and that shouldn’t change anytime soon with Harper settling in.
"That's how this fan base is out here," Matt Cullen, the Parx Casino senior vice president interactive gaming and sports told ESPN. "They bet with their hearts."
The Philadelphia Eagles had similar fan favoritism in the area with the Sugarhouse and Parx casinos. Philadelphia's upset victory over the Chicago Bears in the NFC wild-card round was a tough pill to swallow for the casinos. The following weekend, a reported 70 percent of the money bet was on the hometown Eagles against New Orleans; the Saints won.
The New York Yankees, Houston Astros and defending champion Boston Red Sox are tri-favorites to win the World Series at +650 on 888Sport's odds board.
The Phillies certainly have a legitimate chance to make a run with Harper on the squad. The six-time All-Star owns a career .279 batting average with 184 home runs and 521 RBIs. Over seven seasons with the Nationals, the 26-year-old averaged 32 home runs, 91 RBIs and a .512 slugging percentage.
A year after finishing third in the NL East at 80-82, the Phillies should see attendance rise. Last year's total attendance was nearly 2.16 million. From 2007-13, Philadelphia drew more than 3 million each season.
Phillies fans and followers are likely to take a chance on this Phillies team after Harper's acquisition. This tendency might spread after spring training if Philadelphia shows consistent play.
Any games between the Phillies and Harper's former Nationals squad are sure to draw increased interest as well. There will be plenty of opportunities as the division rivals meet 19 times in the regular season.