If only for a brief time, Ontario baseball fans believed that Shohei Ohtani was going to be a Toronto Blue Jay.
Those brief hours led to a betting surge on the Toronto Blue Jays to win the 2024 World Series in multiple Canadian online sports betting markets.
Ultimately, it led to a lot of disappointed Blue Jay fans as reports of Ohtani coming to Toronto were false. The priuzed MLB free agent would agree to a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers only a day later.
It was just another day in the chaotic world of futures betting.
Timeline of Ohtani to Toronto reports
We’ve seen how “insider reports” can impact online sports betting in the past. NBA Drafts have had noticeable shifts in markets the last two years.
A simple tweet can create a lot of chaos if it isn’t correct and that’s what took place on Friday.
Rumors of Ohtani to Toronto start
With Shohei Ohtani hitting the free agency market, the Toronto Blue Jays weren’t considered among the favourites to land him.
Despite having a roster of bright, young talents, Toronto isn’t quite the market for a player with Ohtani’s notoriety. Los Angeles and New York seemed to be the most likely destinations.
However, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi got the pot cooking when he first put out on “X” that Ohtani signing a deal with his new team would be “imminent.”
While that proved to be true, a tweet from Morosi at 4 p.m. on Friday was not.
Morosi’s post, along with people tracking private jet bookings, got the Ontario world a buzz that Ohtani was signing with the Blue Jays.
Markets begin to shift
With Morosi’s post, many connected the dots to the Blue Jays signing Ohtani.
There were rumored contract details coming out and that meant that people felt confident placing futures bets on Toronto.
DraftKings opened with the Blue Jays at +1700 to win the World Series following the 2023 postseason. At one point on Friday, their MLB odds to win it all had climbed to +1100. Toronto’s AL pennant odds got to +550 after originally opening at +800.
According to David Purdum of ESPN, futures odds for Toronto to win the World Series moved from 15-1 to 8-1 on Friday as bets poured in on the Jays.
“There were some pretty respected players that were betting the Blue Jays,” Eric Fenstermaker, Caesars’ lead baseball trader, told Purdum. “Then, the soap opera took a different path.”
Say it ain’t S-Ohtani
If Ohtani to the Blue Jays seemed too good to be true, it’s because it was.
As Friday went on, the reports of him flying to Toronto were actually “Shark Tank’s” Robert Herjavec on a private jet.
Morosi was then forced to take back his previous “X” post and put and end to the Toronto speculation.
The next day, Ohtani would go on to agree to a 10-year, $700 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, staying pretty close to his previous home with the Angels.
That brought the Toronto odds back to where they were and forced some clarity from bookmakers who couldn’t help but listen to credible reporters.
“Friday was a really crazy day,” Randy Blum, a Las Vegas bookmanager who oversees baseball odds for the SuperBook, told Purdum.
“These (reports) were from legitimate baseball guys, not random people on Twitter throwing things out there. … We had to respect it. When it turned out not to be true, we cleaned it up.”
Where Blue Jays, Dodgers odds currently stand
With Ohtani not coming to Toronto, the Blue Jays have seen their futures odds return toward where they were prior to Friday’s news.
Current Blue Jays odds see them around +700-900 to win the ALCS in the 2024 season.
Their World Series odds are back in the +1500-1800 range, while their AL East odds at are about +350. Thank ranks third in the division odds race behind New York and Baltimore.
Since actually landing Ohtani, the Dodgers have moved into the favorite to win the 2024 World Series. Los Angeles is sitting at +550-600 in most markets, just slightly ahead of the Atlanta Braves for the honor of being the favorite.