Elly De La Cruz is Sports Betting All-Star in Ohio

Reds rookie phenomenon Elly De La Cruz is turning into a sports betting star, too.

In the process, the dynamic infielder might eventually prove an axiom that professional sports leagues have leaned on in becoming partners with legal American sportsbooks.

If someone bets on a game, league commissioners and their gambling executives have professed since the repeal of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in 2018, then they will watch it.

De La Cruz has been required viewing since debuting in early June, with an .887 OPS, 16 steals, four homers, hitting for the cycle, and last week swiping second, third, and home in the same at-bat. In Ohio, and increasingly, nationally, MLB bettors are clamoring for prop bets to cash in on whatever extraordinary thing the 21-year-old does next.

According to data provided by Tipico Sportsbook, Reds games have averaged 47.8% more Ohio betting customers than all MLB games since De La Cruz’s debut on June 6. Cincinnati was already a strong draw, averaging 20% better than all others before he arrived at Great American Ball Park.

Also, before De La Cruz’s MLB debut on June 6, Reds games averaged 18.8% more wagers in Ohio per event than all other MLB games. Since: 48.1%.

De La Cruz’s Impact on Ohio Sports Betting

De La Cruz arrived a little too late to learn if he’s ready to be an all-star of All-Star betting. But he’s a luminary in Ohio. And that figures to spread nationally as more fans have a chance to absorb his electrifying skill set. That’s not easy these days with disparate and failing regional sports networks walling off mid-sized markets like Cincinnati from more national showcases.

Gaming Today polled some of the 18 companies taking sports bets in Ohio, and the results were fairly uniform. De La Cruz is generating a lot of interest.

Stealing second, third, and home in an inning will do that. So will 455-foot home runs. It seems that Ohioans — at least the ones in the Southern part of the state — like to try to monetize their joy.

It will be interesting by the end of the season to dissect how much wagering interest came from Ohio and Arizona in NL Rookie of the Year betting. Favored Diamondbacks outfielder Corbin Carroll figures to engender formidable support in Arizona, another large state with mobile sports betting.

Here is how De La Cruz is being bet at sportsbooks in Ohio and elsewhere:

At Tipico in Ohio:

  • Since March 30, De La Cruz is most selected in player triples
  • Most selected player in player runs
  • Most selected player in player hits
  • Most selected player in player doubles
  • 3rd most selected player in home runs
  • 3rd most selected player in player singles
  • 5th most selected player in player triples

At Tipico in Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, Ohio:

  • Since June 6, he’s the most selected player in player runs
  • Most selected player in player hits
  • Most selected player in player doubles
  • 2nd most selected player in home runs
  • 2nd most selected player in player singles
  • 2nd most selected player in player triples
  • De La Cruz leads in three categories in bets taken since Opening Day.

At BetRivers in Ohio:

  • Since June 6, when De La Cruz debuted, only Angels pitcher/DH Shohei Ohtani and Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez have been backed by more player prop tickets.
  • Only Ohtani has been backed by more player prop money than De La Cruz.

At DraftKings in Ohio:

  • Since the start of June, De La Cruz is the most bet MLB player in Ohio by handle.
  • He’s second in bets “right behind Ohtani.”
  • Despite not playing in MLB for the first two months of the season, De La Cruz is the fourth-most bet MLB player of the season by handle in Ohio.

De La Cruz, Ohtani Icons of MLB In-Game Betting Trend

MLB in-game betting is increasing, delighting the league and sportsbooks.

“Today, the goldmine of baseball [betting] is player props,” Tipico VP of Sportsbook North America Andre Zammit told Gaming Today. “That’s where the industry is heading, the sheer granularity when it comes to player props.”

At Tipico, a comparison of April-May 2022 to the same period this year revealed some startling improvements:

  • Increase in Active Customers: +328%
  • Increase in Handle: +210%
  • Increase in Live Share: +12%
  • Increase in Player Prop Share: +50%
About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Lead Writer
Brant James is a lead writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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