By Adam Thompson | | 12 mins
MLB All-Star Game Odds, Picks & Home Run Derby Props to Back
The MLB All-Star Break is packed with bettable action, starting Monday night with the anticipated Home Run Derby at Coors Field. Shohei Ohtani is a big favorite at MLB betting sites in the latest Home Run Derby odds.
That’s followed by the 2021 MLB All-Star Game itself on Tuesday night. The American League has won a whopping seven straight in the series. Bookies.com MLB handicapper Adam Thompson has looked at the MLB odds to offer up his top plays in Denver.
MLB All-Star Game Picks
All-Star Game Winner – American League
The NL is favored at sports betting sites and betting apps based on likely superior pitching, but the AL has absolutely dominated the Midsummer Classic. The junior circuit has won the last seven matchups, and five of those seven were played in NL stadiums. Since 1988 the AL is 25-6-1.
One could argue the AL lost big hitters who opted to sit this one out – namely, the three Houston Astros players voted in but who don’t want to face ridicule for their World Series cheating. But the NL will be without Jacob deGrom, Yu Darvish and Kevin Gausman, three of their top four starters. Ronald Acuna and Mookie Betts are also out.
The AL’s track record in this game gives them the slight edge.
All-Star Game – Under 10.5 Runs
The HR rate this year ranks as the fourth-highest in MLB history, but it has come at a price. The .240 cumulative league batting average is the fourth-lowest in history and the second-lowest since 1908. The run rate has dropped to just under nine per game.
In recent history, good pitching has outperformed good hitting. Over the last 14 years, only one All-Star game has totaled more than nine runs. Only three out of 14 has had more than eight. As bullpens get blown up in the regular season, it’s less likely here with only the best of the best relievers coming in, Coors Field or not.
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Home Run Derby Picks
Longest Home Run – Under 519.5 Feet
Coors Field is known for giving up the long balls, but no ball has ever been remotely close to traveling this distance. In fact, only two shots at the ballpark have gone more than 500 feet – Trevor Story hit a 505-foot bomb earlier this season, and Giancarlo Stanton went 504 feet in 2016.
The humidor, however, is off tonight. Since its inception to Denver, home runs have dipped 25% at the park. This season, Coors Field ranks only sixth in HR park factor, in part because the Rockies aren’t as hard-hitting as they once were. There should be a big uptick in total homers. But length?
At the 1998 Home Run Derby at Coors, Mark McGwire’s longest bomb went 510 feet. Since 2015, only six HRs have traveled more than 500 feet – that includes All-Star games. The longest? A 513-foot bomb by Aaron Judge; the second longest was also Judge (507). He’s not in the field, and we’re talking several feet past that.
Expect a ton of HRs to be hit on Monday, but going 520 feet is really long.
Home Run Derby, Make the Finals – Matt Olson
Olson has 23 HRs on the season, behind only Shohei Ohtani (33) and Joey Gallo (24). While Ohtani has rightfully gotten the headlines, Olson has been nearly as hot lately. And this is despite playing half his games at Oakland, which typically ranks near the bottom in homers allowed.
The right field alley has been the best luck for line drives to turn into home runs. The left-handed Olson hits most of his HRs there. When it comes to the eight-player bracket, Olson will potentially have to get past Gallo in the second round to reach the finals, but would avoid Ohtani and defending HR champ Pete Alonso.
Ohtani vs. Alonso is a toss-up for me, but Olson to get to the finals as a slight darkhorse is a solid value play at top sportsbooks .
Want more expert tips from our team of MLB handicappers? Get exclusive MLB Picks from Adam Thompson & Dan Kilbridge only at bookiesEDGE.