If Shohei Ohtani wins the American League MVP on Thursday, it will be a costly development for William Hill Sportsbook.
According to David Purdum of ESPN, the bookmaker will lose more than $1 million if the Los Angeles Angels star captures the award over fellow finalists Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien of the Toronto Blue Jays.
"It's going to be the biggest loss on that type of market ever," Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for William Hill, said. "It's going to stick out as a line item, when you see award betting and a big minus."
Purdum noted Ohtani generated more MVP bets than any other player at the majority of sportsbooks and even opened at 60-1 odds in February.
Some of William Hill Sportsbook's potential losses can be attributed to one bettor who placed a $30,000 gamble on March 19 at 30-1 odds. That bet will net $900,000 if the two-way star takes home the award.
The odds certainly wouldn't have been as high before the season if the sportsbooks knew what Ohtani was going to do in 2021.
He slashed .257/.372/.592 with 46 home runs, 100 RBI and 26 stolen bases as a hitter. Those numbers alone would have been worthy of such consideration considering only Guerrero and Salvador Perez hit more home runs during the regular season.
However, they become even more impressive when considering Ohtani was also a dominant pitcher who finished with a 3.18 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 156 strikeouts in 130.1 innings.
That he made just two starts in 2020 as a pitcher and didn't throw a single inning in 2019 because of injury concerns made the performance on the mound all the more notable. His recent history as a pitcher surely contributed to the high MVP odds at the start of the season, but his prowess could pay off for gamblers who took a chance on him.
Chances are, his MVP odds will look much different at the start of the 2022 campaign.