MLB betting: Shohei Ohtani receiving nearly half of Home Run Derby betting money

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To say Los Angeles Angels star Shohei Ohtani is a popular pick to win Monday night’s Home Run Derby would be an understatement.

Ohtani has been the biggest story in the sport this season. At the All-Star break, he leads Major League Baseball with 33 home runs and is also 4-1 with a 3.49 earned-run average in 13 starts on the mound.

At +250, Ohtani is the betting favorite to win the Derby at BetMGM, well ahead of the seven others who will compete on Monday night at Coors Field in Denver. Despite the disparity in odds, Ohtani has attracted nearly half of the money bet on the event.

According to BetMGM, 37.9% of the bets and 44.4% of the money are on Ohtani. That makes him a big liability for the sportsbook.

“The Home Run Derby is one of the most popular All-Star events to bet on in any sport. Shohei Ohtani is the betting favorite and BetMGM’s biggest liability to win the event,” said Tristan Davis, a senior trader for BetMGM.

Ohtani was always the favorite, and he has been bet from his opening odds of +325 down to +250 on the day of the event. 

Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday, July 2, 2021, in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17) celebrates as he runs the bases after hitting a home run during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles Friday, July 2, 2021, in Anaheim. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Aside from Ohtani, who is receiving the most action?

Behind Ohtani are Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo at +450 and New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso at +500. Matt Olson of the Oakland Athletics is listed at +700 with Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez at +800. The rest of the field is rounded out by Colorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story (+850), Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto (+900) and Baltimore Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini (+1200).

Soto opened the season as the betting favorite to win the National League MVP, but his power production has been down this season. With 11 home runs, he has the fewest of the eight Derby competitors. As such, Soto drew a first-round matchup with Ohtani but he has still managed to attract the second-most bets (13%) and money (12.6%) at BetMGM.

With 24 home runs, Gallo is the event’s No. 2 seed and will square up against Story (11 HRs) in the first round. Gallo has received 12.8% of the bets and 12.1% of the money. Story, playing in his home ballpark in Colorado, has received 12.7% of the bets and 8.9% of the money.

Alonso, the defending Derby champion from back in 2019, has received 11.2% of the bets and 12.3% of the money. He has 17 homers so far this season. Olson (5.3% of bets, 4.5% of money), Mancini (5.1% of bets, 3.6% of money) and Perez (2.1% of bets, 1.5% of money) have been much less popular plays for bettors. 

Olson, the event's third seed, has 23 home runs at the break while Perez has 21 and Mancini has 16. 

The three-most popular prop bets are an Ohtani-Story matchup in the Final at +750, Ohtani beating Gallo as the exact outcome at +900 and Ohtani’s longest home run going over 500.5 feet at -110.

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