We’ve hit the unofficial halfway point of the MLB season, and the All-Star festivities are about to begin. One highlight every year is the Home Run Derby, with the other obvious marquee event being the All-Star Game itself. We’ll look at each of these two storied events and pick out some best bets available at Tipico Sportsbook.
Home Run Derby
Monday July 10, 8 p.m. ET
Though the derby itself is a midsummer tradition, it has a different format in recent years. The contest now pits a pair of players against each other in three separate rounds in a single elimination tournament.
In short, each player has three minutes to hit as many homers as possible — the player hitting more home runs in that time advances to the next round. In the finals, the time limit dips to two minutes. At the end of each round, hitters will get a 30-second bonus period, which can be extended to one minute if any of their homers travels at least 440 feet.
In the unlikely event of a tie, there’s a 60-second tiebreaker. Finally, there is no re-seeding, so the winner of 1 vs. 8 matchup will face the 4 vs. 5 winner in the semifinals and the winner of 2 vs. 7 will face the victor of 3 vs. 6.
Here’s how the first-round matchups line up:
- Luis Robert (-220) vs. 8. Adley Rutschman (+175)
- Pete Alonso (-180) vs. 7. Julio Rodriguez (+150)
- Mookie Betts (+160) vs. 6. Vladimir Guerrero (-200)
- Adolis Garcia (-155) vs. 5. Randy Arozarena (+120)
Two players stand out with significant advantages in the first round. Rutschman deserves a lot of praise for his performance in general, but he doesn’t possess standout power with just a .150 ISO (isolated power) on the season. Meanwhile, Luis Robert has blasted 13 home runs since June 8.
Pete Alonso is a two-time derby champ (2019, 2021), so he’s proven he knows how to win the contest. He’s also made comments in the past suggesting that he takes the event seriously and takes pride in his results. He’s a good bet to advance out of the first round, even if he’s going up against the hometown slugger, Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez.
As measured by their homer totals, Betts is the most disrespected by the odds. He may be known more as an all-around player, but he has the highest ISO of the entire field.
It’s boring to bet all the favorites, and truthfully perhaps not the sharpest move given the unpredictability of the contest. While naturally the power stats will benefit the higher seeded players, none of the lower seeds has an ISO above .189. The lowest ISO among the higher seeded players is .259. That’s a significant edge.
When considering the outright winner of the derby, we can go out on a limb. As was noted, Betts feels disrespected, and his outright odds to win it all are at +950.
Another fun prop to consider is the player to hit the longest homer. Vladimir Guerrero (+190) has the longest average distance on homers of the field this season, though Julio Rodriguez (+650) has the longest single homer of the field.
Tuesday July 11, 8 pm ET
The American League (-115) has won nine consecutive games against the National League (+100) and is unsurprisingly favored once again. A look at the rosters suggests they’ll extend that stretch to 10 consecutive victories.
The NL arguably has the better lineup, as there are six Atlanta hitters total on the roster, three of which are in the starting lineup. They’ve paced all MLB teams with 168 homers, though that is balanced out by the four Rangers in the starting lineup for the AL. The Rangers have paced the league in runs scored to this point in the campaign.
The area where the American League should gain an advantage is with its pitching. Three NL pitchers have bowed out of the exhibition for one reason or another, highlighted by Spencer Strider. Meanwhile, the AL will have the likes of Gerrit Cole, Shohei Ohtani, Kevin Gausman, and Luis Castillo all available to work.
The run total is set at 7.5, with the under (-115) implied to be slightly more likely than the over (-105). In the last ten years, the teams have combined to score seven or fewer runs six times, including five of the last six years.
T-Mobile Park currently ranks dead last in the runs scored park factor, so the offensive environment won’t help those looking to bet the over.
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