When the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 in Game 1 of the World Series, most bettors won, too. By and large, the public has been behind the Dodgers since the beginning of the season, leaving sportsbooks rooting for the underdog Rays to pull off an upset and win their first title in franchise history.
Whether on individual games or on World Series futures, most oddsmakers are saying that public money keeps coming in on LA.
Dodgers Dominate World Series Futures
The public support for the Dodgers makes sense. Los Angeles has been among the favorites to win the World Series in each of the past three seasons, making it to the championship round twice before falling short. The Dodgers came into 2020 as the class of the National League, which may have made them look like a safer bet than the similarly favored Yankees and Astros, who had to deal with a deeper American League – not to mention each other – to even get to the World Series, let alone win it.
BetMGM reported that, throughout the season, the Dodgers attracted nearly 14% of all World Series futures bets, but more than 46% of the handle on that market. While the Dodgers began the season at around a +350 favorite to win the championship at most books, that level of support still made them BetMGM’s third-biggest liability. At PointsBet, nearly 16% of all World Series futures bets were on the Dodgers, though LA only represents the book’s 13th-largest liability.
Public Wins Big on LA’s Game 1 Victory
By contrast, only 7.4% of bettors at PointsBet and 6.4% at BetMGM backed the Rays to win the World Series throughout the season. Even with odds that started around +1600 at many sportsbooks, a Tampa Bay win would make money for most bookmakers.
“The Dodgers are the people’s team,” Jason Scott, vice president of trading for BetMGM, said via an email before the World Series began. “Los Angeles is receiving heavy public support to win Game 1, and the World Series. BetMGM will be cheering for the Rays.”
According to BetMGM, more than 82% of their money line handle was on the Dodgers heading into Game 1. While an unfavorable pitching matchup for Los Angeles has balanced that action in Game 2, the book has still taken 90% of its run line handle on the Dodgers giving 1.5 runs at +140 odds. The majority of money and handle placed on the series winner has gone toward Los Angeles as well.
“It’s only Game 2, but this feels like a must-win game for the Rays,” BetMGM sportsbook manager Matt Cosgriff said in an email. “There’s heavy public support for Los Angeles tonight and, once again, BetMGM will be cheering for Tampa.”
There were some places where the initial money came in on Tampa Bay. The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook opened the underdogs at +180, initially attracting action. But Westgate sportsbook manager Randy Blum said he knew plenty of big money would come in on the Dodgers.
“We know that’s coming,” Blum told The Las Vegas Review-Journal.