Bettors love the long ball.
Along with regular-season win totals, home run leader is one of the most popular baseball futures markets at sportsbooks.
“Pre-COVID, we were always close to writing six figures on the home run pool,” Westgate SuperBook manager Randy Blum said. “It’s very, very popular. We leave it open all season.”
Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who tied for last season’s MLB home run title with Royals catcher Salvador Perez with 48, is the 10-1 co-favorite at the SuperBook and Caesars Sportsbook to repeat as home run king.
Guerrero is the ticket and money leader at Caesars.
“Guerrero is a phenomenal talent, and a lot of people think that this is the Blue Jays’ year,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “That factors into it as well. If they’re going to do well, he’s going to do well. He’s the hot name.
“He’s just come on and been spectacular ever since he’s been in the majors. I think he’s the deserving favorite here since (Fernando) Tatis Jr. got injured.”
Tatis opened as the favorite at Caesars before it was announced that the Padres shortstop would miss months with a fractured wrist suffered in a motorcycle accident. Tatis is now a 200-1 long shot at the SuperBook.
Mets first baseman Pete Alonso is the 10-1 co-favorite at the SuperBook and one of the book’s biggest liabilities.
“We’ve seen a lot of money on Alonso,” Blum said. “He’s a solid player, and the Mets’ offense will be better this year. But I think he got overhyped in his rookie year. I’m not expecting him to hit 50 homers.”
The Westgate also has taken a lot of action on Astros left fielder Yordan Alvarez, the 14-1 third choice.
Aaron Judge is the 16-1 fourth pick, followed by Yankees teammate and Bishop Gorman product Joey Gallo at 18-1.
“Gallo is a guy we haven’t taken money on, and we don’t want to,” Blum said. “He’s a guy we feel could have a big year, in terms of hitting home runs, with Yankee Stadium’s short porch.”
Shohei Ohtani, third in the majors in homers last season with 46, is tied with Angels teammate Mike Trout at 25-1 at the Westgate after they opened at lower odds.
“One guy we’re getting no money on that we usually do is Trout,” Blum said. “People are obsessed with Ohtani now, and combine that with all the injuries Trout has had. We’re just getting nothing on Trout in all the pools.
“We’re still getting a bunch of tickets on Ohtani, just not like last year because his odds are drastically different.”
Royals rookie Bobby Witt Jr., one of baseball’s top prospects, represents the largest liability at the Westgate. His odds are down to 60-1 after he opened at 500-1.
“A lot of people are very impressed with him,” Blum said. “He’s getting a lot of hype.”
Caesars has a prop on the Nevada-born home run leader. Gallo is the +140 favorite, followed by Las Vegas High School product Bryce Harper at +180 and Bonanza graduate Kris Bryant at +250. Durango product Tommy Pham is the 20-1 long shot.
Harper, the Phillies’ reigning National League MVP, is 50-1 at the Westgate to be crowned home run king. Bryant, who signed with the Rockies, is 50-1 at Caesars, where he opened at 150-1, and is the book’s second-largest liability.
A Nevada bettor made a $1,000 wager to win $75,000 on Bryant at 75-1.
“Bryant has been a trendy pick,” Blum said. “But we don’t view him as a candidate to win the home run title. Colorado is not as home run-friendly as people think. It’s a huge stadium.”
Contact reporter Todd Dewey at email@example.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.