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Home Run Derby Odds: How Do Favorites Perform in MLB’s Signature Event?

Home Run Derby Odds: How Do Favorites Perform in MLB’s Signature Event? article feature image
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Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Pete Alonso

Home Run Derby’s can sometimes be unpredictable. Just take two-time champion Pete Alonso, who won both of his derbies from the second and third spots, according to the betting odds.

This year is different though.

For the first time, Alonso is favored to win the Home Run Derby at +155 odds. Rightfully so. Since his debut in 2019, he has 129 home runs, the most in baseball.

⚾️ Home Run Derby Odds:

Pete Alonso (+155)
Kyle Schwarber (+325)
Juan Soto (+600)
Ronald Acuna Jr. (+700)
Julio Rodriguez (+900)
Corey Seager (+1000)
Jose Ramirez (+1600)
Albert Pujols (+2200)

Who has the best value? 👀 pic.twitter.com/lWEjfha9QE

— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) July 18, 2022

At +155 odds, Alonso would be the shortest Home Run Derby favorite since Barry Bonds had +160 in odds back in 2001. In 2017, Giancarlo Stanton came close to the +175 mark, closing as the favorite with +190 odds and eventually losing to Aaron Judge.

With Alonso now the favorite, the question is, “can he three-peat?”

In the 37-year history of the event, no player has won the derby in three consecutive years. Aside from Alonso, only Yoenis Cespedes (2013-14) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) have won the contest in back-to-back years.

In the last 20 years of the Home Run Derby, the betting favorite entering the event has only won it twice. Bryce Harper in 2018 as the +250 favorite, defeating Kyle Schwarber in the final, and Giancarlo Stanton in 2016 as a +330 favorite, beating Todd Frazier in the final.

Looking at all 20 winners in that span, the average price of the winner in the derby is just under 5-1 at +493 (just about the odds of Juan Soto at a majority of sportsbooks for tonight’s derby).

When looking at the average rank in odds for the eventual winner, though, it falls to between about third or fourth place (3.3 to be exact; which would be Soto or Ronald Acuna Jr.).

If the question is how many home runs did a player have that season entering the contest, the data says to ignore anyone below 14 or 15 home runs. Since 2000, no player has won the Home Run Derby hitting fewer than 14 home runs that season.

If that trend continues, it would eliminate Acuna and Albert Pujols automatically. Since 2015, only one player has won with fewer than 20 homers — Alonso last year with only 17.

Speaking of Pujols, the 42-year-old will be the oldest player ever to participate in the derby and his odds reflect that. He is currently listed at +2200, the highest listed odds for any player in the derby dating back to 2001.

For a little perspective, the highest odds to win a Home Run Derby in that span belong to Miguel Tejada at +1150 in 2004 — the only player to win the contest at higher than 10-1 odds.

(Historical home run derby odds via Sports Odds History)

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