The Major League Baseball season takes a breather next week, for the festivities surrounding the All-Star Game. The bad news is that there won’t be the usual schedule of regular-season games from Monday through Wednesday. The good news is that, instead, you’ll have the opportunity to bet on one of baseball’s gem events of the summer.
This year’s game is in Los Angeles, and Dodger Stadium attracts plenty of celebrities for a run-of-the-mill game. With baseball’s best gathering there for several days, expect to see plenty of Hollywood glitz in the stands.
There are plenty of different ways to get gambling action while the All-Stars are showcasing their talents. Here’s a quick look at how to bet the midsummer classic.
Game Winner Bets
The easiest way to bet during the All-Star Break is to put action on the game itself. Starting lineups and full rosters were announced over the weekend, and there will be a few tweaks in the final week of play as injured players drop out to get rest and replacements are chosen.
With the 34 best players from each league on the rosters, you’d expect the game to be a coin toss, but the coin has certainly been lopsided in recent years. The American League has won the last eight All-Star Games and 15 of the last 18.
The A.L. again appears to have the advantage, at least at the plate. Home run leaders Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez are both on the roster, as well as superstars Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and Giancarlo Stanton. The N.L. may have the edge on the mound, led by Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara, but that advantage isn’t as clear-cut as the American League’s power edge.
Pitching usually has its way in the All-Star Game. The average MLB regular-season game this year has seen nearly 9 runs scored. Four of the last five All-Star Games and 11 of the last 13 have gone under that.
You’re also less likely to see a blowout in the All-Star Game. The last time the National League won a game was in 2012 when it outscored the A.L. 8-0.
Since then, three games have been decided by 3 runs, three games by a 2-run margin, and two by a single run. Two games have gone into extra innings over that span.
Some top sportsbooks will let you take prop bet action on which player will be voted the game’s MVP. If you’re thinking Trout, Judge, or Mookie Betts, it might be wise to think again. Often, the player voted the star of the stars starts the night on the bench. In the last 10 All-Star Games, four times, the MVP award went to a relief pitcher or reserve who entered the game later on in the evening.
Trout has two MVPs over that span as a starter, but he’s the exception. The other starters to win MVP are not quite household names, including Eric Hosmer, Melky Cabrera, and Prince Fielder.
One thing is certain, shy away from picking a starting pitcher. The starter is likely to only go two innings or so, and the game will likely be decided long after he’s left the game and showered. The last starter to win game MVP was Pedro Martinez, back in 1999, and he broke a 13-year drought when he did it.
Home Run Derby Bets
The night before the All-Star Game is one of the break’s biggest fan-favorite events—the home run derby. The top sluggers in the game square off in individual battles against batting practice pitchers to see who can go deep the most. Anything other than over the fence doesn’t count.
The Derby has provided some of the most memorable moments of recent All-Star Games. This year’s field will be announced soon, but look for the Mets’ Pete Alonso to try to defend his crown—he’s won the last two times.
Much like the MVP award, the derby winner is often an unexpected entry, rather than a big name. Last year, the top four seeds of the eight-man field were all eliminated in the first round. In 2019 (there was no All-Star Game in the COVID-shortened 2020 season), three of the top four got knocked out in the first round. In 2018, the top seeds went 2-2 in the first round.