Betting the MLB All-Star Game: Finding Value in the Total
© Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: NL starter Max Scherzer, NL manager Dave Roberts, AL manager A.J. Hinch and AL starter Chris Sale
- When you think MLB All-Star Game, you might think high run totals.
- But in the post-steroid era, runs have been down in the Midsummer Classic.
- That means there could be value in betting under 7 runs in Tuesday's contest.
Many will focus on the fact that Tuesday’s All-Star Game will break an all-time tie between the American League and National League, as both are 43-43-2 in the Midsummer Classic. (Well, unless Bud Selig somehow shows up and finds a way to declare another tie.)
Others will focus on recent AL domination, as the NL has only won three of the past 21 meetings.
I’d rather focus on the over/under, which I think holds more value if you want to bet the All-Star Game. Let’s take a closer look at a recent total trend that I think could continue Tuesday night.
National League vs. American League -130 | O/U: 7
Ironically, in the current post-steroid era of baseball, batters are as hungry for home runs as ever. They have a newfound obsession for exit velocity and launch angles, which has caused a record-low number of balls in play and great success for under bettors.
MLB is on pace for fewer than 50 balls in play per game for the first time ever.
— Paul Hembekides (@PaulHembo) July 11, 2018
Situational hitting has never been worse, and strikeouts continue to rise — which we’ve recently seen play out in the All-Star Game.
In the past 10 seasons, the All-Star Game has had more than eight runs only one time — at the bandbox in Cincinnati in 2015. Even then, the two teams combined for only nine.
In contrast, we saw more than eight total runs in seven of the 10 All-Star Games from 1998-2007. And five of those 10 games featured double-digit runs, which hasn’t happened since 2005.
To highlight the difference even more, the All-Star Game has averaged only 6.1 runs per game over the past 10 seasons — more than four runs per game less than the average (10.6) between 1998-2007.
In today’s era, great pitchers can dominate great hitters — especially when not having to go through a lineup multiple times. Just look at what the Rays are doing this season with their “opener.” It takes only one blowup inning to ruin an under 7, but I think this game goes under more times than not. It also doesn’t hurt that you can find +110 in the market on the under.