MLB All-Star Game Betting Preview: Why the National League is a Good Bet

MLB All-Star Game Betting Preview
PHOTO CREDIT: CHARLES LECLAIRE-USA TODAY SPORTS

I have no idea how Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game could possibly top last night’s epic home run derby display in which an event record 312 homers were smashed at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Mammoth blasts, tiebreaker drama between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr., Pete Alonso’s comeback to win it. All of it made for compelling theatre, and now baseball will hope to ride the momentum of a memorable Monday night when the game’s elite square off in the 90th edition of the Midsummer Classic.

The National League will look to not only put an end to a six-game losing streak but also reverse the trend of the American League’s dominance in recent decades–and I mean dominance. The AL comes into this one riding a 24-6-1 record dating back to 1988. It will be Justin Verlander, who is making his eighth All-Star appearance, for the American League and Hyun-jin Ryu for the National League. This is the 32-year-old Ryu’s first All-Star Game. He’s just one of several fresh faces taking part in tonight’s game with a whopping 36 first-timers set to participate.

Undoubtedly, the novelty of the MLB All-Star game has lost some of its luster in recent years thanks to a variety of factors, including Interleague play, increased access to non-regional games, and dwindling fan interest. Still, it remains a prominent event on the sports calendar, and thus there will be plenty of intriguing betting opportunities available. What should we expect to see? Let’s get into it.

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MLB All-Star Game Odds

Here are the odds for tonight’s MLB All-Star game.

SugarHouse Sportsbook

Run Line Money Total
NL +1.5 (-210) +100 O 8.5 (-112)
AL -1.5 (+175) -114 U 8.5  (-105)

DraftKings Sportsbook

Run Line Money Total
NL -1.5 (+170) +100 O 8.5 (-114)
AL +1.5 (-200) -114 U 8.5 (-107)

PointsBet

Run Line Money Total
NL +1.5 (-200) -105 O 8.5 (-110)
AL -1.5  (+171) -115 U 8.5 (-110)

If you’re looking to take the underdog National League on the moneyline, you can get the same price at both DraftKings Sportsbook and SugarHouse Sportsbook. As of 9:30 a.m. this morning, DraftKings and Sugarhouse are each offering the National League at +100, which is currently the best moneyline price out there. If you’re looking to play the over, PointsBet is giving you a total of 8.5 at the cheapest price (-110). Meanwhile, if you’re on the under, then roll with SugarHouse Sportsbook.

MLB All-Star Game TV Schedule and Lineups

TV coverage will begin at 8 p.m. on FOX. Here are the starting lineups. First, for the National League:

  1. LF Yelich
  2. SS Baez
  3. 1B Freeman
  4. RF Bellinger
  5. 3B Arenado
  6. DH Bell
  7. C Contreras
  8. 2B Marte
  9. CF Acuna Jr.

Pitcher: Hyun-jin Ryiu

And for the American League:

  1. RF Springer
  2. 2B LeMahieu
  3. CF Trout
  4. 1B Santana
  5. DH Martinez
  6. 3B Bregman
  7. C Sanchez
  8. LF Brantley
  9. SS Polanco

Pitcher: Justin Verlander

MLB All-Star Game Pitching Matchup

Some things to know about this pitching matchup. Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA) starts for the American League and enters with an MLB-best 0.81 WHIP. While he’s been solid lately, he hasn’t been lights out. Dating back to June 1, Verlander has a 4.18 ERA despite a 0.95 WHIP while holding opponents to a .201 BA. Verlander has also held opponents to 35 hits in 47.1 IP during that time, but 13 of those hits have been home runs. In fact, Verlander leaders all major league pitchers with 26 homers allowed. He will likely only go two innings tonight, so know that he has a 3.32 ERA in the first inning and a 3.79 ERA in the second inning. Of the 26 homers he’s allowed this season, 10 have come in the first two innings.

Ryu, meanwhile, enters with an MLB-best 1.73 ERA on the strength of an outstanding month of May in which he had a 0.59 ERA in 45.2 IP. Since June 1, he’s pitched to a 2.25 ERA while opponents have hit .252 against him. He has a 3.71 ERA in the first inning and a stellar 1.62 ERA in the second. He’s been good at limiting damage in those two innings, allowing three homers and only nine extra-base hits.

MVP Bad Bet Alert: Only two pitchers have been named All-Star Game MVP since 1987 (Pedro Martinez, Mariano Rivera).

MLB All-Star Game Betting Trends

As noted above, the AL is 24-6-1 since 1988 and is on a six-game winning streak. Additionally, the American League has won a remarkable 18 of the last 22 contests (18-3-1). Still, the AL leads the all-time series by the slimmest of margins with a 44-43-2 record.

Over the last 14 seasons, favorites are only 7-7 in the MLB All-Star game, and teams favored by a short moneyline number have been brutal. Teams favored by -120 or less on the moneyline are only 3-6. Meanwhile, home favorites are only 2-6 dating back to the 2005 season.

It’s remarkable that the total in this game is only 8.5 when you consider that homers are flying out of the park at a historic rate this season (2.74 homers per game), which is easily on pace to smash the previous Major League record set in…2018. How does the game total impact picking a side? The underdog is 7-3 in the last 10 All-Star games in which the total was set at 9 or less.

Despite these games featuring baseball’s best hitters, pitching has dominated with the totals staying under 8.5 in 9 of the last 11 years. The two lineups in this year’s game have combined for 349 total home runs, while 10 players have 20 or more homers this season.

MLB All-Star Game Prediction

The National League lineup has seven players with at least 20 homers this season and sports both a decidedly deeper lineup and a better bullpen. These games have been close in recent seasons, so I like to side with the better pen. Moreover, I like that short moneyline favorites, as the American League is here, are only 3-6 in recent seasons, and I REALLY like that home favorites are only 2-6. dating back to 2005. Therefore, I think the National League bucks the 30-year trend of American League dominance and grabs a rare win tonight.

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