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Tipico Tips: Betting the MLB All-Star Game

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Baseball’s Midsummer Classic is finally here. Monday night, we watched as some of the game’s better power hitters launched ball after ball into the thin Coors Field air. New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso became just the third player to repeat as Home Run Derby champion. Strangely enough, he has a connection to the other two guys who did it, as Yoenis Céspedes also played for the Mets and Ken Griffey Jr. also won one of his back-to-back crowns at Coors Field.

With the Futures Game and HR Derby now behind us, it is time to turn our attention to the All-Star Game. 

Betting the MLB All-Star Game

Here are some fun facts about the All-Star Game. The game has been played officially since 1933. The American League came out hot and won 12 of the first 16 meetings. Then from 1950 to 1987, the National League dominated with a 33-8-1 record that including a 19-of-20 stretch at one point. Since then, the American League has swung back to the good side, going 25-6-1 and winning 12 years in a row from 1997 to 2009. The average runs scored per game over that stretch is 8.25 per game. 

Handicapping an All-Star Game is unlike anything else we see during the year. When we try to break down any normal day of baseball you have certain assumptions that you cannot make for the Midsummer Classic. For example, a lot of the analysis on a daily basis is based off of pitching matchups. Starters typically go through the order 2-3 times, so we put a lot of emphasis daily on how a team’s lineup matches up against the strengths or weaknesses of that day’s starting pitchers. In the All-Star game, we really can’t do that. Most pitchers are going to throw an inning, maybe two at the most. Trying to predict who batters will face beyond maybe the top five or six guys in the order is futile. Most of the players in the lineup are likely to get one or two at-bats at the most, as managers will be trying to use as many of the guys as they can get into the game. The only predictable thing about the All-Star Game is that it will be unpredictable. 

But our inability to predict these things doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to take advantage of the craziness. 

Both teams are made up of the best players in the game. The best pitchers are going to be taking the mound, and the best hitters are going to be facing them. This game can honestly go either way, and that is where we can find some value. Tipico Sportsbook currently has the National League as a slight favorite at -115. That means in order to win $100, you have to risk $115. If the game is a truly unpredictable coin flip, then the better way to play it is to take the team with the better odds. The American League is -105, meaning you only have to wager $105 to win $100. This is how I will be playing the game. Win or lose, I’m more interested in the better payout in situations where I cannot reasonably predict an edge for one team or the other. 

The better way to play this game though is by betting on the total. We mentioned above that the average total is 8.25 runs. Well, the listed total on Tipico Sportsbook is 10.5. That’s a sizable edge to the under based on historical data. This has been a banner year for pitching so far, even without the specter of foreign substances pitchers have used. I know Coors Field tends to have higher totals than most other ballparks, but I think the adjustment made here is a little too far. This line actually opened at 11 and was bet down to 10.5, meaning money came in on the under at 11 and the books decided to adjust. I’m going to be following the money here and going with the under myself. The All-Star Game is meant to be a fun showcase of the best players in the game and nothing more. We have half a season of baseball action we can start getting into again later this week. I am not looking to put my entire bankroll down on an exhibition type game, so I will be playing conservatively. With that said, the NHL season is over, the NBA is dark for Tuesday, and the NFL is still a few months away. If you need that gambling fix, the American League and the under are where I see some value Tuesday. 

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