What Happens to AL MVP Bets If Shohei Ohtani Is Traded to NL?
Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani (Angels)
As we barrel our way towards the MLB trade deadline, there’s one trade in particular that bettors are worried or hoping for: Shohei Ohtani to a National League team.
Several teams have begun their due diligence on a trade for the best player in baseball, whose contract expires at the end of the season. The Angels risk losing him for nothing should he walk in free agency, and all indications point toward an exit should the Angels miss the playoffs for the ninth straight season.
But if he's traded to a National League team, what happens to the AL MVP betting market? What about the NL?
No player has ever switched leagues in the middle of the season and won an MVP. But Ohtani isn't like other guys.
"I know you hear that phrase 'in uncharted territory all the time,'" said the Athletic's national baseball writer Jayson Stark, who has covered the sport for 45 years. "There has never been anything like this, just as there's never been anything like Ohtani. I'd guess that missing not just one-third of the season, but the final one-third of the season, would make it extremely unlikely that he would still win that MVP award.
"But I've learned one thing while watching this guy. Never say he can't do anything."
At BetMGM, the Angels pitcher/slugger has the most bets (15.1%) and the most money (30.8%) to win the American League MVP.
At DraftKings, it’s even more lopsided, with 20% of bets and 39% of the handle on Ohtani to win the award.
Both books price Ohtani as a far-and-away -1000 favorite to win the AL MVP as of Tuesday morning.
In fact, in order to get more action away from Ohtani in the AL MVP market, DK posted an Ohtani versus the field for AL MVP. Bettors here took the field, which yielded 72% of the bets and 75% of the money.
In all of these cases, even if Ohtani is traded to an NL team, all wagers on the AL MVP market would stand, according to sportsbook sources. Wagers on the NL MVP race would be unaffected, too.
Effectively, baked into the current -1000 odds that Ohtani wins the AL MVP is the risk that he's traded to the National League.
Odds are that won't happen, according to the markets. The most recent odds available at DraftKings indicate Ohtani is currently -170 to be on the Angels roster after the trade deadline. He was +800 and +900 to be a member of the Dodgers and the Giants, respectively.
But if Ohtani is indeed traded to the NL, plenty of those holding -1000 tickets might be burned in the process.