Los Angeles Dodgers’ Favorite Status Strengthens with Yoshinobu Yamamoto

AP file photo
Yoshinobu Yamamoto delivers a pitch during the fifth inning of a World Baseball Classic game against Mexico on March 20 in Miami.

The Los Angeles Dodgers immediately jumped to the favorites to win the 2024 World Series after signing Shohei Ohtani to a record $700 million contract earlier this month.

After reportedly committing another $325 million to Japanese right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto on Thursday night, their status as favorites has strengthened even further.

BetRivers.com told Field Level Media that the Dodgers’ World Series winning odds moved from +575 to +450 after the news broke. Los Angeles also moved from +300 to +215 to win the National League pennant and from -265 to -295 to win the NL West.

The Dodgers opened at +800 to win the World Series at DraftKings, where they have been backed by a league-leading 16.0 percent of the total bets and 24.8 percent of the money as their title odds have shortened to +400.

Yamamoto, who was reportedly weighing offers from the Dodgers and New York Yankees at the end, also had an impact on other teams when he chose to join Ohtani in L.A.

Most notably were the Atlanta Braves. World Series favorites before the Ohtani signing, they fell to +650 after at BetRivers. While those odds remained unchanged after Yamamoto chose the Dodgers, the Braves’ NL pennant odds did lengthen from +325 to +350.

Atlanta also opened as the +650 favorites at BetMGM. The Braves have drawn a modest 2.7 percent of the money wagered on the next World Series champion while seeing their odds move only slightly to +700 by Friday. DraftKings also has the Braves at +700.

The third shortest odds belong to the Yankees, who have moved from +1600 to +900 during an offseason in which they acquired left-handed right fielder Juan Soto. They are second at BetMGM with 16.8 percent of the World Series money backing them to win just a season after missing the postseason altogether.

Yamamoto agreed to a 12-year, $325 million deal, per multiple media reports. That would eclipse Yankees ace Gerrit Cole’s deal by $1 million, making it the largest contract for a pitcher in major league history (not counting the contract for two-way star Ohtani). The Dodgers also will pay $50.6 million in a posting fee for Yamamoto.

The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, San Francisco Giants, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays pursued Yamamoto, too, per multiple reports. The Mets are +2800 to win the World Series and the Phillies are +1100 at DraftKings.

Yamamoto spent the past six-plus seasons with the Orix Buffaloes, compiling a 70-29 record with one save and a 1.82 ERA in 172 games. He has struck out 922 batters over 897 innings.

In 23 games in 2023, he finished with a 16-6 record and 1.21 ERA with 169 strikeouts in 164 innings. Those numbers helped him to his third straight Triple Crown in the Pacific League of Nippon Professional Baseball as he led the league in wins, ERA and strikeouts.

Only three pitchers in Major League Baseball have won the pitching Triple Crown three times — Sandy Koufax, Walter Johnson and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Yamamoto also has won the Eiji Sawamura Award, which equals the Cy Young Award, three times.

The 5-foot-10 Yamamoto won a gold medal with Japan in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and another in the World Baseball Classic earlier this year.