Is the All-Star Game Betable? ....You Bet It Is!

Baseball Jul 18, 2022

The AL has dominated the All-Star Game lately, winning 20 of the last 24 contests. The AL has defeated the NL eight games in a row. So, why is the AL an underdog in Tuesday night's game?

Tonight, the Major League Baseball All-Star game will be played at famed Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

But there's something really strange about this game.

The American League has dominated the annual MLB All-Star Game lately, winning 20 of the last 24 contests and each of the past eight.  Let's repeat that: The AL has defeated the NL eight games in a row.

So, why is the AL an underdog in Tuesday night's game?

We can't figure it out either.

SPREADS.CA lists the National League as a 1.86 favourite, which comes back on nearly even money on the American League at 1.95.  The total in Dodger Stadium, notorious for hitters and well-known as a pitchers ballpark is 7.5 runs.  

Here's a closer look at the odds:

The Case for Betting on the NL:

Why would the National League be favoured?  

Well for one thing, the NL has power on their side as seven players in htis potent lineup have hit at least 20 home runs this season.   Leading the charge is Kyle Schwarber of the Phillies, who tops the NL with 29 homers.  Meanwhile, Atlanta's Austin Riley has 27 blasts, while Pete Alonso of the New York Mets has belted 24 home runs and leads the majors with 78 RBIs (he's also the Home Run Derby favourite).

There's more power on the field for the NL: St. Louis' Paul Goldschmidt is having one of the best seasons of his career and has hit 20 homers and leads the NL with a .330 batting average while ranking second with 70 RBIs. Dodgers shortstop Trea Turner, who won the NL batting title last year, is hitting .306 and is among the league leaders with a career-high 68 RBIs.

No doubt, this lineup can hit the longball.  But will this "advantage" be neutralized by playing the game in Los Angeles, which is one of the lowest-scoring ballparks in the majors?

The Case for Betting on the AL:

The American League isn't lacking in the home run department either – since six players have belted 20 or more this season.  This group is led by Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees, who is having a monster campaign as he leads the major leagues with 33 home runs.

His Yankee teammate Giancarlo Stanton also put up big stats with 24 blasts and 61 RBIs, while Cleveland's Jose Ramirez has driven in an AL-high 75 runs.  Then there's all-around ironman superstar Shohei Ohtani of the LA Angels who made history last year by becoming the first player to be named an All-Star as both a hitter and pitcher. He duplicated this feat again in 2022.  The multitalented Ohtani was credited with the win last season after tossing a scoreless inning as the AL's starter.  He will begin this year's contest as the team's designated hitter and is also expected to take the mound at some point.

Our Pick(s):

Baseball's All-Star Games are often decided in the later innings, with the reserves on the field and taking a swing in the batters box.  These games have also been close over the past few decades – with 18 of the last 20 AL wins by three runs or fewer.

This would indicate taking the underdog +1.5 on the runline. However, we can't justify laying nearly 2-1 odds on the RL, especially with so much power on both rosters. This game could be decided either way by a late-inning blast, and who knows how many baserunners will cross the plate.  In other words, this is a very unpredictable scenario.

Instead, we will go the much simpler route.  Let's stick with the hot team and learn from history.  The American League's superior depth and talent will win out in the late innings.  We also like Ohtani to delight the hometown crowd (yes, he plays in Anaheim, but that's close enough) and get the MVP award.

We'll call this a 5-4 final score in favour of the American League.