MLB All-Star Game Betting

Over the last decade or so, the MLB All-Star Game, colloquially known as the Midsummer Classic has become a must-see event rather than the spectacles of the NFL’s Pro Bowl or NHL All-Star Game. The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game took place all the way back in 1933. The idea for the game didn’t come from the MLB offices.

Instead, it was Arch Ward, the sports editor of the Chicago Tribune after the city’s mayor approached him with the need of a major sporting event. The All-Star game wasn’t planned to be an inaugural event. It was originally supposed to be a one-time competition that that was intended to boost morale during the Great Depression. The proceeds from the game, minus operating costs, went to a charity that helped disabled or broke baseball players.

The game was held at Comiskey Park in Chicago, Illinois, which at the time was the home of the Chicago White Sox. The American League All-Stars beat the National League All-Stars 4-2 in a game that lasted two hours and five minutes. The rosters of both teams were full of Hall of Famers. Both Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth graced the jerseys of the AL All-Stars. Ruth may have well been the All-Star MVP, but that award came along later.

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Home Field Advantage In Baseball

MLB All-Star Game 2016 logoThe All-Star Game wasn’t anything more than an exhibition game between the American and National league’s top players but was immensely popular. The game was immediately coined as the “Midsummer Classic.” The fans loved watching the greats and enjoyed voting through ballots in newspapers across the country.

The All-Star game came back the next season and has been a staple ever since. As mentioned above, the game served as a showcase of the league’s best talent and had no affect on the regular season statistics or outcome of the AL or NL or individual managers or players.

That all changed after the 2002 season. The 73rd annual All-Star game would be the last one without any regular season implications. The game ended in a 7-7 tie after 11 innings after both teams ran out of available pitchers. Fans were upset that the game ended in a tie and that the teams didn’t keep playing until there was a winner. The league altered the rules for the game in the coming season. The 2003 All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field was advertised with the slogan, “This time it counts.”

Game Plays Until Winner Is Decided

Firstly, and less importantly, the new rules stipulated that the game must be played until there is a winner. However, the biggest change was that the game was no longer an exhibition contest with no implications. Under the new rules, the team that won the All-Star Game would guarantee their representative home-field advantage in the World Series.

Going forward, if the AL won the game, the American League team that advanced to the World Series would receive home-field advantage. Likewise, if the NL won the game, the winner of the NL Pennant would receive home-field advantage in the Fall Classic. Ultimately, MLB overacted to the outcry of the 2002 All-Star Game. Does anyone truly think it’s fair that a single game decides which team gets home-field advantage in the World Series? Baseball has the longest regular season in professional sports. A whopping 162 games.

For a league that places so much emphasis on the regular season, it’s hard to believe that they would base home-field advantage in the World Series on which collection of All-Stars wins a game in early July. But, that’s exactly what they are doing. The game went from being a mere showcase of the league’s best players to having a ridiculous amount of importance. As crazy as the current format is, it has increased interest, both regarding ratings and betting action.

Baseball Home Run Derby

The Home Run Derby has been part of the All-Star Game festivities since 1985. The inaugural contest is held a day before the Midsummer Classic. The first derby was held in 1985. Since its inception, it has seen several rule changes and formats. The 2015 Home Run Derby saw the biggest overhaul in quite some time regarding rule changes. A bracket system was put into place for the eight hitters competing where seeding is based on the number of their regular season home runs. The format is now head-to-head matchups that are single elimination. This goes for three rounds until a winner is declared.

The new system also eliminates outs and instead opts for timed rounds. Each hitter will have 4 minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. Batters who hit two or more home runs more than 420 feet are given an extra minute of bonus time to hit. Any home run hit over 475 feet adds an extra 30 seconds. Just like the All-Star Game, just about every sportsbook worth its salt is going to have a host of odds available for the Home Run Derby. Betting markets for the derby aren’t quite as vast compared to the game itself, which include moneyline odds, MLB run lines, totals, and a large list of MLB props.

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Baseball All-Star Game Betting Strategy

The All-Star game can be a tough one to gauge from a betting perspective. We can look at both the NL and AL squads and determine which team has the most talent, but that isn’t necessarily an indication of which team will play the best or which players will see the most playing time.

Baseball Injured Players’ List

Remember, even though home field advantage is on the line, teams won’t want to risk the health of their players. The ASG is the best of the best, so a lot is riding on the health of these players in relation to the success of their franchise. Players who are too injured enough to play will sit out, but even those nursing minor injuries may see little to no playing time. Finding out how each manager plans to utilize his roster can be extremely valuable.

The hard part here is finding this information. Many managers won’t tip their cap about their game plans. The media is a dependable source for individual player news and hopefully some insight into the strategy for each team. Looking at the game as a regular season game isn’t going to get you anywhere.

Fan Votes For Players

The MLB All-Star game is truly an anomaly in sports and sports betting. It’s an exhibition game, where players are voted in by the fans. However, even though fan voting makes up most of the rosters, the game decides which team gets home field in the World Series. There isn’t much else like it.

High Variance During Game

Another aspect of baseball to consider is its inherent randomness. An individual baseball game has a considerable amount of luck or variance. Skill wins out in the end, which is why they play so many games, but the variance is a much bigger part of baseball on a game-by-game level, compared to any other major sport.

Use Public Hype As A Guide

Public perception is something to consider if you’re eager to place a bet and enjoy the game but aren’t sure which market to put your money down. We all know that the general public loses money in the long run. The betting action on the game may well be lopsided, particularly in the case when there is a public perception that either the AL or NL is far better than the other. If the public is heavily loaded up on one side, it’s worth considering fading them. Blindly fading the public is not a profitable betting strategy, but in a game where luck is a major factor and we don’t have much of an idea, in regards to lineups or player usage, it makes sense to go with the underdog.

MLB Baseball All-Star Game Betting Odds

The odds for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game hit the board few days before the actual baseball game. They vary from year to year where at times the National League squad is a favorite with the American League coming in as an underdog or vice versa. This has been an evenly matched series since its incarnation in 1933, with the National League winning 44 games and the American League taking 43 games. The AL won the 2018 All-Star game 8-6.