Any Value In Betting On Ohtani?

Malcolm Darnley
Updated: March 22, 2024 9:55 AM

On November 27th, 2009, a very brief press release was issued, telling us that Tiger Woods was involved in a single-car accident while backing his SUV out of his driveway.

Many who read that early release, dismissed it.

A select few wondered if there was more to the story, maybe because most of us don’t hit stationary fire hydrants when backing out of our driveway.

It turns out that those who found the original facts a little lacking in detail were spot on.

Not only was there more to the Tiger Woods story, but the Tiger Woods story would quickly consume the entire media world and not just hardcore golf fans.

Fast-forward more than 14 years later, and news breaks that Shohei Ohtani’s interpreter is involved in some illegal gambling activities and that Ohtani himself possibly had to wire money to cover his friend’s debt.

Some people read those early reports and believed them at face value.

Some people did not.

A select few readers wondered if the first reports felt a little bit like Tiger and that infamous hydrant, and that maybe there would be more to this story… one day.

This article will not be detailing any conspiracy beliefs and explaining why Ohtani might be in bigger trouble with MLB than many of us first realized.

Instead, this is a quick read suggesting that if there is more to this story and that if you think MLB will one day find out Ohtani himself was also betting with a bookie, you have a chance to gain your own betting edge.

Let me explain.

Sportsbooks vs Bookies

Full disclosure: I am a sports bettor.

You will hear me use words like Sportsbook, DraftKings, FanDuel, or Bet365, as those are some of the places where I get my bets down.

What you won’t hear me say (anymore) is, “My Bookie.”

Ohtani and his interpreter friend (Ippei Mazuraha) live in California for at least six months of the year. I am not familiar with betting laws in Japan, but California has not yet adopted legal sports betting.

Without legal betting as an option, I definitely understand why a bookie was being used.

However, I am probably more empathetic to people using bookies than MLB senior officials are, especially when it involves their biggest global star potentially paying off a massive illegal gambling debt on behalf of his friend.

After listening to the explanations given by Shohei and Ippei so far, I’m not yet convinced who was actually using the bookie, nor would I cast judgment if it was one, both or neither.

However, if we do discover one day that both Shohei and his interpreter were placing bets through a bookie, my understanding is that MLB would have to take a stance.

Uncovering Shohei UNDERS!

If sportsbooks like FanDuel thought the right O/U total for Ohtani’s home runs was +39.5 this year, what would they set the total at if there was a threat of suspension?

On a different day, at a different time – I will gladly spend 1000+ words detailing all I know about Shohei Ohtani and this unexpected gambling story that has just appeared for us all.

However, today is not that day, mainly because I know nothing about what actually happened.

I must be over the top with this part – I have no evidence, no proof that Shohei did anything illegal, nor am I suggesting he did.

However, I am very comfortable saying that whatever story Shohei and Ippei were trying to convince me of the last couple of days, it didn’t work.

With that in mind, let’s explore some legal sportsbooks and uncover potential Ohtani season-long future bets we are now very interested in playing.

Just in case there is more to this story than what is being first revealed.

Ohtani Season Total Home Runs

FanDuel and Bet365 are both still holding Ohtani at a 39.5 Season HR total, but at -128 on the Under, you wonder if FanDuel might drop their total to 38.5 eventually as well.

Ohtani HR OddsFanDuelDraftKingsBet365
Home Runs Total+39.5+38.5+39.5
Over Odds+100-110+100
Under Odds-128-110-125

Ohtani has already played two games without a home run. Two games represent exactly 1.2% of the Dodgers schedule.

Maybe that, in combination with a potential suspension, is enough to convince you to go Under 38.5 HRs at DraftKings. (-110)

Other Ohtani Options

I always love some of the H2H Home Run betting options being provided at different sportsbooks.

I had to scroll a long way down on the DraftKings site, but eventually, they provided an Ohtani H2H option for this year.

Ohtani vs Acuna

Last year, Ronald Acuna had 643 at-bats and hit 41 home runs.

Ohtani had 497 at-bats (135 games played) and hit 44 home runs.

Caesars & BetMGM

I was curious to see if BetMGM or Caesars offered odds on Ohtani, so I checked out both of their sites as well.

To the best of my ability, I was unable to find a Home Run total for Shohei at either site.

In fact, with Caesars, after checking and triple checking I hadn’t missed his name, I then counted 46 ML players who were being offered odds and a season-long home run total.

Shohei, the most popular player on the planet, wasn’t one of the 46.

For some people, that might just be a coincidence.

For others, it’s a sign there might be an edge on Shohei’s season-long UNDERS and Caesars wants no part of it.

About the author

Malcolm loves to watch all kinds of different sports. He also writes about them.

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