Betting the MLB All-Star Game: Finding Value in the Total

Betting the MLB All-Star Game: Finding Value in the Total article feature image

© 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.

2018: 49.7
2008: 54.3
1998: 54.8
1988: 56.6
1978: 58.0
1968: 55.2
1958: 57.5
1948: 60.9
1938: 62.6
1928: 64.5
1918: 62.6
1908: 60.1
1898: 64.6
1888: 61.1
1878: 68.2

— 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.

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