MLB Home Run Derby Odds, Preview & Predictions: How to Bet Competition at Coors Field (July 12)

MLB Home Run Derby Odds, Preview & Predictions: How to Bet Competition at Coors Field (July 12) article feature image
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Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani #17 of the Los Angeles Angels.

  • Is the Home Run Derby Shohei Ohtani's to lose, or is the betting value on tonight's event further down the card?
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the entire competition, including outright picks, matchups, props & more.
  • Below you'll find Zerillo's betting card from Coors Field in the Mile High City.

The 2021 Major League Baseball Home Run Derby starts at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado. The festivities will air live on ESPN.

There are numerous ways to bet on the Home Run Derby, including head-to-head matchups, props, and outright selections.

I’ll take you through some of those markets and provide my thoughts and bets for the 2021 Home Run Derby.

Listed below is the field of eight hitters set to square off in the bracket-style competition and how I project their relative chances compared to DraftKings listed odds:

We’ll first use these projections to guide us in some prop markets, and then we’ll take a deeper dive into some metrics (which drive these projections) in the matchups section that follows.

League to Win

The American League has five of the eight slots in the bracket — including four of the top-five betting selections. DraftKings lists the American League as a -195 favorite (66% implied) to win the Derby.

As you can see above, I’m even more bullish on the AL and projected the combined chances for their five representatives at 68% (-212 implied). They’re guaranteed at least one spot in the semifinals, with Matt Olson and Trey Mancini squaring off in Round 1.

I would bet the American League to win the Home Run Derby, up to -200.  It’s a chalky play, but it’s also my favorite bet for Monday night.

Righty or Lefty

Half of the field (Gallo, Soto, Ohtani, Olson) are left-handed, while the other four are right-handed.

Still, DraftKings has the lefties listed at -155 (60.8% implied) to win the Derby.

I projected their combined chances at 60.2% (-151 implied), so I don’t see any value on this prop.

Note that if you’re betting the chalk on both of these props, then you’re completely against both Pete Alonso and Trevor Story, and you would lose both bets if either wins the Derby.

Matchups and Outrights

(1) Shohei Ohtani vs. (8) Juan Soto

  • Projected: Ohtani 68% (-212 implied)
  • Listed Odds: Ohtani (-225) | Soto (+185)

Ohtani ranks near the top of the leaderboard in virtually every power metric, including expected home runs, maximum exit velocity, average exit velocity, maximum flyball distance and average flyball distance.

As a result, I think there’s value on Ohtani (+400 at DraftKings) to hit the longest home run of the evening.

I’m not sure why he’s priced behind Joey Gallo (+350) at DraftKings, but Ohtani is listed as the +275 favorite for longest home run at PointsBet, and that pricing is more appropriate.

However, Ohtani’s outright odds are obviously short — books need to avoid having potential liability on an Ohtani victory.

Soto offers slight value (+900 at PointsBet) to win the Derby, but it’s not a bet I’m interested in making. He owns the lowest launch angle in the field (54.8% groundball rate this season) and needs to completely change his swing to pull an upset.

(2) Joey Gallo vs. (7) Trevor Story

  • Projected: Gallo 67% (-203 implied)
  • Listed Odds:  Gallo (-165) | Story (+140)

Gallo should be a more significant favorite against Story, and perhaps the hometown factor, combined with Story’s familiarity with Coors Field, is suppressing this line.

I make Gallo the second-most likely winner of this competition behind Ohtani, and you can get a fair price on Gallo’s outright odds (+450) at several books.

The Nevada native has an ideal swing (highest launch angle in the field, career 50.4% flyball rate) to win a Derby — and he’s a known batting practice world champion.

Story’s power is underrated, and he’s been extremely unlucky this season (the largest gap between actual and expected home runs, at -9)

Bet Gallo to defeat the hometown hero Story, up to -190.

My gut says that Gallo outlasts Ohtani in the finals and takes down this whole competition.

(3) Matt Olson vs. (6) Trey Mancini

  • Projected: Olson 67% (-203 implied)
  • Listed Odds:  Olson (-200) | Mancini (+165)

Gallo and Olson are probably the two hottest hitters in baseball right now, but Olson’s Derby odds have come down more aggressively since the markets opened.

I snagged Olson early at +800, but I wouldn’t take anything less than that now.

Olson is probably a better in-game hitter than Derby participant, cutting his strikeout rate in half (down from 31.4% to 16.7%) year over year.

However, his power metrics don’t necessarily stand out in this field — and I think his true chances are likely overrated based upon a recent hot streak.

(4) Salvador Perez vs. (5) Pete Alonso

  • Projected: Alonso 51% (-105 implied)
  • Listed Odds:  Alonso (-225) | Perez (+180)

This is easily the most competitive first-round matchup in my eyes, but it also features the only prior Derby participant (and the defending champion) in Alonso.

Perez is having a phenomenal year — his 26.4 expected home runs rank second in baseball (behind Ohtani) — with 31 combined “mostly gone” or “no doubt” flyballs within that sample (Ohtani has 37).

Alonso missed time with injuries, but is heating up of late with 10 homers since June 1.

It’s hard to make Alonso nearly as significant of a favorite in this matchup as the odds suggest, however, because Perez offers very comparable power metrics this season.

Salvy is worth a bet in the head-to-head heat (down to +125) with Alonso, and I also like his odds to win the Derby (+down to +800) despite a potentially difficult path involving the defending champion, the current MLB home run leader, and the two hottest hitters in baseball in either Gallo or Olson.

No catcher has ever won the Derby in its 36-year history (Ivan Rodriguez finished second in 2005), but Perez offers outright value despite his seemingly impossible path to victory.

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Bet Recommendations

  • American League to win the Home Run Derby (-195 at DraftKings)
  • Shohei Ohtani to hit the Longest Home Run (+400 at DraftKings)
  • Joey Gallo to defeat Trevor Story (-165 at BetMGM)
  • Joey Gallo to win the Home Run Derby (+450 at PointsBet)
  • Salvador Perez to defeat Pete Alonso (+180 at BetMGM)
  • Salvador Perez to win the Home Run Derby (+1000 at PointsBet)

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