Major League Baseball’s annual All-Star Game is an exhibition that celebrates the sport's best players. As fans, we get to see the best of both the American League and the National League strut their stuff on the mound, in the field, and at the plate.
But let’s face it, we love the long ball. The real action comes before the game, during the MLB Home Run Derby, where we watch stars such as Shohei Ohtani, Juan Soto, and Bryce Harper catapult balls into the next season and bet on our favorite sluggers to win it all.
When it comes to Home Run Derby betting, the options are just abundant as the number of home runs hit. That being said, this guide will take a look at how to bet on the Home Run Derby and go over the factors you should consider before sports betting. For information on how to bet on the World Series, you can rely on our blog to make sure you’re confident going into the end of the season.
Types of Bets for the Home Run Derby
The Home Run Derby is an event where the best power hitters in baseball compete to see how many home runs they can hit during a given amount of time. The player with the most dingers wins. It sounds simple, so there must be only a couple of different ways to pick a bet, right?
Thankfully, there are more ways to bet on the derby than you might think, with multiple types of baseball bets available to each bettor. The way the event is structured gives you plenty of betting odds to cash in on all the dingers. A few of the most straightforward Home Run Derby odds include:
- Who will win the event
- Who will win each round
- Who will hit the most home runs in each round
- What two players will reach the final round
Now, some of you may have seen those basic bets and felt a bit confused: What’s all this talk of rounds? Isn’t it just whoever hits the most home runs wins? Turns out, the rules of the Home Run Derby have changed a lot over the years, making it a bit more complex than simply the player with the most home runs wins. The current format of the derby is as follows:
- Eight players will participate. They will be seeded 1 - 8 based on their regular-season home run totals at the time of the event. The player with the most home runs is seed #1, and so on. If two players have the same number of home runs, the player who hit the most home runs during the previous year will get the higher seed.
- There will be three single-elimination rounds played in a bracket format. The first round will feature seeds #1 vs #8, #2 vs. #7, #3 vs #6, and #4 vs #5. The lower seed will bat first, followed by the higher seed.
- During the first and second rounds, batters have 3 minutes to hit as many home runs as they can. During the final round, this time is reduced to 2 minutes. Whoever has the most home runs at the end of the round will move on to the next round. The other player is eliminated from the tournament.
- Each player gets one 45-second timeout during each round where they can stop the clock and rest.
- At the end of the round, each player gets 30 seconds of bonus time. During this bonus time, players cannot use a timeout.
- Bonus time can be extended an extra 30 seconds if a player hits a home run over 475 feet during their round.
- Ties will lead to a 60-second swing-off between the players. No timeouts or added time will be allowed during the swing-off. If a matchup is still tied at this point, the players will move to three-swing swing-offs until someone wins.
As you can see, the derby is more complicated than many people assume. Fortunately, that complexity can work out in your favor as it opens up more opportunities for bettors, which include:
- Futures – Once the participants are set, sportsbooks will start releasing odds. These odds will be for futures bets, where you can bet on the winner of the event or the winner of each first-round matchup. When reading these odds, it’s worth remembering they may be written in one of two ways:
- Fractionally – Such as 12 to 1 or 12/1. This means a bet of $100 will pay $1,200 if it wins.
- Moneyline – A 12/1 bet written as a Moneyline would be +1200, meaning that a $100 bet would pay out $1,200. This may be used for odds that aren’t easily expressed fractionally, such as +750, which would mean a $100 bet pays $750 (the equivalent of 7.5 to 1).
- Live Betting – Some sportsbooks can adjust odds in real-time. That means you can keep placing bets on each round as the event progresses. Odds will also adjust based on how players are performing.
- Totals – In this bet, you’re wagering on how many home runs a given player will hit in each round (or over the event as a whole). Books will set a total number, and you’ll bet either over or under.
Baseball betting might be a bit difficult for a first-time bettor. Read up on how to read baseball betting lines before you place your first bet.
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Home Run Derby Prop Bets
Betting on who will win and the total number of homers they will hit aren’t the only ways you can make some money during the derby. Another category of betting is prop bets. Prop bets allow you to bet on other elements of the derby, such as:
- How long will the longest home run travel?
- Who will hit the longest home run?
- Will the winner be left-handed or right-handed?
- Will the winner come from an NL team or an AL team?
- Will a player hit a home run long enough to receive the added bonus time?
These are just some examples of prop bets. Each sportsbook’s offering will differ slightly.
Picking the Winner
Now you should have an idea of what bets you can make, but what bets should you make? Let’s dive into a few influences you should consider before placing your wagers.
#1 Home Run Derby Recent History
In addition to the rules changing regularly, each year’s derby also sees different players participating. This means derby history is limited in relevant information. However, if we only look at the last couple of contests, there are some things we can learn:
- Pete Alonso excels – The man they call the “Polar Bear” loves this event. He has won each of the last two derbies, and there’s no reason to think he can’t make it three in a row.
- Beyond Alonso – In addition to Pete Alonso, some of the sluggers who have fared well in the past include:
- Bryce Harper
- Kyle Schwarber
- Aaron Judge
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
These are also some of the names you can currently find at the top of the home run charts.
- Storylines matter – Last year saw upsets throughout the first round, but a second-round matchup between Trevor Story and Trey Mancini was particularly notable. Story was playing at Coors Field, where his home team, the Colorado Rockies, play, and Mancini was the emotional favorite as he was returning from a battle with cancer. Both players showed that an extra emotional push can play a large factor in home runs swung.
- Who won’t participate – In 2019, the runner-up was Vlad Guerrero Jr., who narrowly lost to Pete Alonso. The next time around, Vlad Jr. sat out of the event. As the saying goes, you can’t win if you don’t play. That said, MLB now awards $1 million to the winner as an incentive for players to participate.
- Who will participate – You can start your analysis even before the participants are announced by looking at what players have hit the most home runs so far in the regular season. As of right now, some of the biggest names at the top of the list include:
- Aaron Judge
- Mookie Betts
- Mike Trout
- Pete Alonso
- Giancarlo Stanton
- Rafael Devers
- Bryce Harper
- Shohei Ohtani
#2 Stadium Information
The 2022 Home Run Derby will be held at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. The stadium can tell us a few things about what to expect:
- Players from the west coast may be more comfortable as they don’t have to travel as far.
- The weather should be warm and dry in keeping with the climate of Los Angeles.
- Dodgers players like Mookie Betts could see a home-field advantage if they participate.
- The dimensions of Dodgers Stadium are:
- 330 feet to left and right field
- 385 feet to left-center and right-center
- 395 feet to center
- The outfield fence is uniformly 55 feet high
This symmetry means there should be no advantage for lefties or righties in this ballpark.
#3 Totals Trends
The derby has followed basically the same format since 2015. By looking back, we can see a few trends emerge when it comes to how many home runs are hit:
- Round 1 tends to have some of the higher totals. This makes sense as participants are the most rested during this first round. However, this isn’t always the case. In 2019, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson met in round 2, and both posted huge numbers, with Vlad Jr. crushing 40 dingers to best Pederson’s 39.
- Last year’s derby in Coors Field unsurprisingly took advantage of the altitude to produce more homers than normal. In most years, you can expect totals in the high teens for most rounds, with winners creeping into the 20s and maybe even the 30s.
- With the final round being one minute shorter, you’d expect to see lower totals. This often isn’t the case. The added adrenaline of being so close seems to make up for the missing minute. Home run totals in round 3 are similar to those of round 2.
Hit It Out of the Park with Tipico
When betting on the Home Run Derby, you can strike a home run for yourself by taking star sluggers, stadium facts and figures, and recent trends into account before laying it all on the field during the MLB All-Star Game.
And at Tipico, you can find all the best available Home Run Derby bets as well as opportunities to bet on the rest of this summer’s MLB sportsbook. With the information in this guide, you should have everything you need to cash in.
Still, we’ll sweeten the pot by offering a $750 risk-free welcome offer when you sign up. So what are you waiting for? Start crushing your bets with Tipico’s online sportsbook today.