Pete Alonso put on a show at the Home Run Derby on Monday, defending his title as the Derby champ in walk-off fashion after hitting his 23rd home run of the final round. Trey Mancini took down Matt Olson in the first round and hometown hero Trevor Story in the second round but was no match for Alonso in the final round. The whole event was a great show, with Juan Soto needing 31 home runs and two swing-off rounds to take down the favorite Shohei Ohtani in the first round. Now, we move onto the actual All-Star Game itself.
The All-Star Game doesn’t have the same appeal ever since MLB stripped it of its tie to home-field advantage in the World Series. I believe I’m in the minority here, but I loved that the game itself had real stakes and was somewhat more than a meaningless exhibition game in the middle of a long MLB season. Now, it means nothing, which is partly why so many players opted out. Still, there are bets to make and money to be made on the game.
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Inning of First Score: 1st Inning (-130)
In recent years, the All-Star Game has gotten off to a sleepy start. Neither team has scored in the first inning since 2016, when the National League took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. I have that trend changing this year. For starters, this game is being played in Coors Field, and they aren’t using the humidor for the baseballs. This ballpark is already known for its home run potential even with the humidor is being used. On Monday night, Trevor Story hit the longest home run in Home Run Derby history when he launched a ball 518 feet in the first round (we took the under for longest home run hit at 519.5 feet, so this was a close call).
Another factor is that Shohei Ohtani is starting for the American League the night after he participated in the Home Run Derby (and two swing-off rounds with Juan Soto). Ohtani is arguably the face of baseball right now and is incredibly fun to watch. When he’s on, he can be one of the best hitters and one of the best pitchers in baseball. But we have also seen him struggle. Back on June 30, he allowed seven earned runs and failed to get out of the first inning against the Yankees. On Tuesday night, he’ll be facing a lineup of some of the best hitters in the National League in Coors Field. The potential for disaster is there. On the National League side, Jacob deGrom opted out of the game. So did Yu Darvish, Brandon Woodruff, and Kevin Gausman. And while Max Scherzer is no slouch, he also allowed seven earned runs in a recent start.
At Coors Field, I’m banking on one of these talented hitters connecting on an early pitch to give us some early scoring.
Bet: Inning of First Score: 1st Inning (-130)
Total Runs Scored UNDER 11.0 Runs (-118)
When I first sat down to look over these numbers and this game, I assumed I would be taking the over for runs scored. For all of the reasons mentioned above (Coors Field, no humidor, top pitchers opting out), the over just made too much sense. But the more I looked into it, the more I realized I had to go with the under. The over/under for tonight’s All-Star game is 11 runs. For a regular season game, that would be on the higher end. And for an All-Star game, it’s just too high, even in Coors.
Since 2005, the two All-Star teams have combined for more than 11 runs just one time. That happened in 2018, and if not for four runs being scored in the 10th inning, even that game would have been under. With the game trending more towards home runs and strikeouts, most of these All-Stars are going to be aiming for the cheap seats tonight. A few will probably connect, but remember: even with some of the aforementioned pitchers opting out, these are still some of the best pitchers in the world. And they’ll all only be pitching 1-2 innings. There are no tired starters or middle relievers getting exposed in these games. Take the under.
Bet: UNDER 11.0 Runs (-118)
The over/under for runs scored for tonight's #AllStarGame is up to 11.0 runs.
That number has only been topped once in an All-Star game since 2005, and that game needed four runs in extra innings to do it.
You know what to do.
— mike Maher. (@mikeMaher) July 13, 2021
American League over National League: -1.5 (+155)
Like the over/under bet, I assumed I would be taking the National League when I started researching for this article. Also, like the over/under bet, I changed my mind while looking at everything. The National League hasn’t won this game since 2012 but is favored (-188) to win, and a -188 to +155 difference in an exhibition game is just too large of a gap to ignore. The American League has the better lineup, while the National League probably has the better pitching. But if the AL can avoid someone like Kyle Gibson or Yusei Kikuchi imploding (and there is no guarantee either one even pitch in the game), then I like their chances to continue this lengthy winning streak.
The idea that the National League is “due” is a gambler’s fallacy. These teams year-or-year have nothing to do with each other, and the streak is completely random. Think about it. The last time the NL won this game, Matt Cain was the starting pitcher and Melky Cabrera was the MVP. Those games—and this streak—don’t matter. Take the better odds with the American League for tonight.
Bet: American League -1.5 (+155)
That’s it for today. Have questions or want to talk baseball or betting? Feel free to reach out on Twitter @mikeMaher.
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Mike Maher is an editor and featured writer at FantasyPros and BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive, follow him on Twitter @MikeMaher, and visit his Philadelphia Eagles blog, The Birds Blitz.
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