Beyond the gleam of a thousand glowing slot machines, and the wafting stench of cigarette smoke, huddled in the corner adjacent to the casino’s largest bar, will likely sit the sports book.
Every year, nearly $5 billion in bets is placed inside these very rooms at sports books across Nevada. According to the UNLV Center for Gaming Research, Major League Baseball betting reached an all-time high in 2018, making up over 23 percent of all bets ($1.15 billion).
So it should come as no surprise that in the midst of March Madness and the looming NBA postseason millions of people are drawn to these dark pockets off the main floor, as eager as schoolchildren with a zest for recess.
The desire to place a wager on their favorite team burns in them like a living coal in the soul, and the oddsmakers know this.
The Los Angeles Dodgers have one of the largest and most global fan bases in all of sports. In addition to their recent string of success—back-to-back National League pennants—and their close proximity to Las Vegas, the lines on LA are often skewed to the house’s favor.
“The big teams such as the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, and Cubs always seem to take in more money than others, as they have a nationwide fan base,” explained Dave Mason, the Sports Book Brand Manager for BetOnline.ag. “We look at this, but also look at projections, historical information on how we normally get bets on these sort of teams, how much we are currently taking in on them, and adjust the lines from there.”
So when the Dodgers opened up as the favorites in the National League to return to the Fall Classic, oddsmakers in Las Vegas were hoping for heavy bets to come down for the Boys in Blue.
The Dodgers opened the season with 1-to-8 odds to make the MLB Playoffs. The line currently stands at -800 that they will make the postseason, and +500 they won’t.
For clarity, a gambler would have to wager $800 that the Dodgers will make the playoffs in order to win just $100, provided they do. For those pessimistic Dodger fans out there, a $100 bet that they won’t make the postseason would reward you with $500 in winnings if they don’t play into October this year.
Those odds are the same as another big market team, the New York Yankees, and are tied with the Cleveland Indians as the second best odds in all of baseball to make the postseason this year (the Houston Astros have the best odds at -1500).
However, making the postseason isn’t the only wager you can place on the Dodgers at sports books across the globe. The popularity of the team, and baseball betting in general, has created multiple wagers including total wins and losses, individual awards, and even which manager will be the first to be fired this season.
According to BetOnline.ag, the Dodgers expected win total sits at 93.5 games this season. A $100 wager will pay out $100 based on if the Dodgers win more or less than 93 games, known in sports book lingo as the “over/under.”
For example, the Dodgers won 92 games last season. If they finished with the same record in 2019, the under would win. In 2017, they won a franchise best 104 games. If the current rendition of the Boys in Blue were to repeat that success this year, the over would win.
One of the Dodgers best odds is to win their seventh consecutive National League West division title. They are heavy favorites to repeat as division winners again this year with 2-to-7 odds to win the west. By comparison, you would have to place a wager of $350, in order to win $100 should Los Angeles win the NL West.
Individually, Cody Bellinger has the best odds of any Dodger player to win the 2019 NL MVP at 28-to-1. Justin Turner is second at 33-to-1, and Corey Seager, fresh off two surgeries, is a long shot at 50-to-1.
Bellinger is off to a great start in 2019 with a .500 batting average with four home runs and eight RBI in just four games.
Despite starting the season on the injured list, Clayton Kershaw has the best odds of any Dodger to win the 2019 NL Cy Young Award at 12-to-1, but teammate Walker Buehler in his sophomore season is not far behind at 25-to-1. All-Star closer Kenley Jansen is a 50-to-1 long shot to join Eric Gagne as the last Dodger reliever to win the prize.
Finally, and most importantly, the Dodgers are the favorites to win the National League pennant and advance to the World Series for the third consecutive season.
Behind the Dodgers, the revamped Philadelphia Phillies, who traded for catcher J.T. Realmuto, and won the Bryce Harper sweepstakes, are the second favorites to advance to the World Series, and according to Mason, have the second-highest percentage of wagers currently being placed on them.
To nobody’s surprise, the New York Yankees have the most money being placed on them to win the 2019 World Series, with over 10 percent of all bets currently invested in Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and company to lift the Commissioner’s Trophy at the end of the year.
The Yankees are 6-to-1 favorites to the win the World Series, followed by the Houston Astros at 7-to-1, the Boston Red Sox at 15-to-2, and then the Dodgers at 8-to-1 odds.
So whether you plan to place a wager online, or walk into a sports book the next time you’re in Vegas, remember how the oddsmakers create the lines, and if you bleed blue, make sure to bet with your head, and not your heart.
What starts out as fun can easily become a problem for some people. Help is available for those with a gambling problem, or who fear they might be in danger of developing one, by calling 1-800-GAMBLER.