Major League Baseball’s MVP announcement Thursday night could be a costly one for sportsbooks. Shohei Ohtani is expected to win the AL MVP award, resulting in big profits for some bettors.

Ohtani entered the 2021 MLB season as a relative longshot to win the award. That quickly changed for the two-way star, seeing his MVP odds go from 60/1 in February to the odds-on favorite in June.

One bettor put $30,000 on Ohtani for MVP at 30/1 on March 19 at William Hill sportsbook, according to ESPN. The wager will result in a $900,000 profit for the Los Angeles Angels star winning this year’s AL MVP race.

"It's going to be the biggest loss on that type of market ever," Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for William Hill (now Caesars Sportsbook), told ESPN. "It's going to stick an out as a line item, when you see award betting and a big minus."

Toronto Blue Jays hitters Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Marcus Semien are also finalists for the AL MVP award, but they haven’t been considered real threats to Ohtani for some time. Ohtani’s success as both a pitcher and at the plate made him a -5000 favorite in August. That’s where some sportsbooks had his odds through the end of the season.

Ohtani has sparked legitimate comparisons to Babe Ruth. The 27-year-old finished just behind Guerrero in the AL with 46 home runs, 100 RBI and a .592 slugging percentage. In 130.1 innings pitched, Ohtani had a 3.18 ERA, 156 strikeouts and a 1.09 WHIP.

The race isn’t as clear-cut in the National League, though a favorite does stand out among the top-three candidates. Bryce Harper ended the season with -275 odds at BetMGM for the NL MVP award. Juan Soto and Fernando Tatis Jr. entered October with +325 and +600 odds, respectively.

ESPN’s experts picked Harper for the award, giving the Philadelphia Phillies outfielder eight out of 13 first-place votes.

Soto led the NL with a 7.0 WAR and a .465 on-base percentage. Tatis finished first with 42 home runs. Harper led the majors with a 1.044 OPS.

Harper was the most consistent performer of the three candidates. Soto only had 11 home runs and had an .851 OPS before the All-Star break as the Washington Nationals fell out of contention. Tatis was limited to 130 games, and he only hit half of his homers after the All-Star break when the San Diego Padres collapsed and lost their wild-card spot.

Harper hit better than .290 with an OPS of at least .947 in every month but one. Philadelphia finished ahead of both Washington and San Diego in the standings.

Robbie Ray and Corbin Burnes ended the regular season as the odds-on Cy Young favorites. Both players were officially named the award winners Wednesday.

Shohei Ohtani - Los Angeles Angels
Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels looks on during his at bat during the third inning against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 18, 2021 in Anaheim, California. Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

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