After six straight losing seasons, the Los Angeles Angels gave their fans reason for optimism this year with a 27-17 start.
But then LA lost 14 straight and 33 of its next 45 to cement its place among the biggest losers for baseball bettors this season.
Despite playing for the fallen angels, two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani supplanted New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge as the betting favorite to win the American League MVP award on Thursday.
Heading into Wednesday’s start against the Astros, Ohtani was the second +110 pick in the Westgate SuperBook behind Judge, who was the tied favorite and leads the majors in home runs with 30 while batting .279 with 65 RBIs.
But after Ohtani held Houston to one run in six innings with 12 strikeouts and hit a two-run triple in the Angels’ 7-1 win, the Westgate SuperBook made him a -175 favorite to repeat. as MVP while moving the judge to +120. second choice.
“If Ohtani keeps pitching like that in the second half, I don’t see how he won’t win,” Westgate baseball punter Randy Blum said. “He pitched well last year, but this year he’s been on a bit of a different level.”
Entering Thursday, Ohtani was 9-4 with a 2.38 ERA and .258 batting with 19 home runs and 56 RBIs. The right-hander has won his last six starts, allowing just two earned runs and 20 hits in 39⅔ innings with 58 strikeouts and 11 walks.
“Obviously the argument for MVP is the judge can’t pitch against the Angels, it looks like they won’t make the playoffs. But I don’t think team records are as big a factor anymore. for MVP,” said Eric Biggio, senior baseball trader at Caesars Sportsbook. “It’s tough, because there’s also the school of thought that no one can hit and throw like Ohtani, so he should win the MVP title every year. It’s an interesting debate.
Ohtani is still +125 at William Hill and Judge is +165 at BetMGM.
The books also reduced Ohtani’s chances of winning the AL Cy Young Award during his dominant period. Caesars dropped him 40-1 on June 22 to the +650 third pick behind Shane McClanahan, the 2-1 favorite, and Justin Verlander, the 3-1 second pick.
The biggest losers
The Angels (39-50) were the bettors’ second-biggest loser. According to covers.com, a $100 bettor would lose $1,776, or -17.7 units, if he bet on LA in every game he played this season.
The Washington Nationals are the biggest losers (-$1,813) and the Oakland Athletics (-$1,753) and Chicago Cubs (-$1,272) are also hemorrhaging cash.
Orioles take flight
While the Yankees lead the Majors in wins (62-26), they’re only second in winnings (+$1,170). The Baltimore Orioles are the top-grossing team, earning $1,656 for their True Believers.
Baltimore, which has averaged 51 wins in its past three full seasons and a win total as low as 55½ this year, has won 10 straight games to break the .500 mark at 45-44.
A bettor who bet $100 on the Orioles in the first game of their winning streak and rolled it over would win $59,993. But now might be a good time to cash in with playoffs against the Rays and Tampa Bay Yankees on deck before the All-Star break.
Baltimore was as high as 2,000-1 to win the World Series at Caesars, where a Maryland bettor bet $200 to win $400,000 on the Orioles. Baltimore was still 1,000 to 1 last week but saw their odds drop to 200 to 1 to win it all.
“The talent is finally maturing and the bullpen has been amazing,” Sportsline.com analyst Micah Roberts said.
The five biggest gainers are the New York Mets (+$1,105), Astros (+$1,039) and Seattle Mariners (+$518), who also extended their winning streak to 10 games on Wednesday.
Roberts recommends running streaks whenever a team has won or lost three games in a row.
“And bet against the Angels when Ohtani isn’t pitching,” he said. “It’s been golden every day.”
In effect. In Los Angeles’ current 12-19 streak, Ohtani went 6-0 with a 0.45 ERA while the Angels went 6-19 in games he didn’t start.
“It’s one of the most confusing things I’ve seen,” Roberts (@MicahRoberts7) said. “Mike Trout and Ohtani are two of the top three players in the league and the Angels are just plain bad.
“Even when Trout and Ohtani hit a home run, they still lose.”