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You can bet on it: MLB players compete in virtual league

Rays’ pitcher Blake Snell is second choice to win the ‘MLB The Show’ Players League.
Rays pitcher Blake Snell is among the favorites to win the overall title in the MLB The Show Players League.
Rays pitcher Blake Snell is among the favorites to win the overall title in the MLB The Show Players League. [ Rays Twitter ]
Published Apr. 13, 2020

With the season on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball, the players union and Sony teamed to create an online league featuring a player from each team to engage and interest fans.

Bettors too, apparently.

Online gambling site SportsBetting.ag on Monday posted odds and is taking bets on the head-to-head games, over-under totals and overall finish in the MLB The Show Players League.

Rays pitcher Blake Snell, who went 2-2 during Friday’s opening night, is among the favorites to win it all. He’s listed at +700 (7-1), second behind Texas’ Joey Gallo, +250 (5-2).

Anticipating fan interest, and with their own business obviously limited, officials of the Panama-based website decided to get involved in the virtual competition.

"At the end of the day, it’s not going to be a perfect science, but we want to offer these odds to keep customers engaged and entertained,'' SportsBetting.ag odds manager Robert Cooper said via email. “Kudos to Major League Baseball for organizing this for the fans.”

And how exactly are they setting the odds, given there aren’t exactly pages of stats and records of past performance to go on?

"Certainly, without precedent there are challenges creating odds for this ‘season,'’' Cooper said. "But we’ve done some research regarding players’ experience and success with the video game, and we’re following the results closely so we can adjust numbers based on how everyone is performing on a nightly basis.''

There would seem to be some risk for the gambling house, given that the results — in theory — could be manipulated if two players were to conspire. So, to protect their exposure, the oddsmakers will set low limits on how much people can bet — as low as $50 or $100.

Here are the favorites as of Monday to win the league — which runs through the end of the month — listed in fractional form:

Joey Gallo, Rangers 5/2

Blake Snell, Rays 7/1

Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres 8/1

Amir Garrett, Reds 9/1

Bo Bichette, Blue Jays 12/1

Jeff McNeil, Mets 12/1

Jon Duplantier, D-backs 16/1

Gavin Lux, Dodgers 20/1

Hunter Pence, Giants 20/1

Josh Hader, Brewers 20/1

Lance McCullers Jr., Astros 20/1

Lucas Giolito, White Sox 20/1

Niko Goodrum, Tigers 20/1

Rhys Hoskins, Phillies 20/1

Tommy Kahnle, Yankees 20/1

The longest shots to win are former Rays reliever Ryne Stanek, now with the Marlins, and the Red Sox’s Eduardo Rodriguez, at 100-1.

To register, you must be 18 years of age and have proof of photo ID. Registration is free; to bet, a deposit has to be placed using a credit card, wire transfer, bank check or cryptocurrency.

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