The National League All-Stars take on the American League All-Stars in New York for the 84th Annual MLB All-Star Game (Tuesday, July 16, 8pm ET), also known as the Midsummer Classic.
Represented by players voted in by the fans and some chosen via manager’s selection or the player ballot, some of the best and most talented from the 2013 season will descend upon Citi Field, which for one night will be home to the NL All-Star Team.
And while the game promises to be exciting, it does have significance as well. Because unlike the all-star games of the three other major U.S. sports (basketball, hockey, football), the MLB All-Star Game has practical meaning, as the winning team/league gets home-field advantage in the World Series.
The National League, who have won the past three All-Star games, are the moneyline favorites and best priced at -122 with BetOnline (-130 with Bovada). BetOnline has the runline currently NL -1.5 at odds of +160, meaning for bettors who place money on the NL to win, that league has to score two more runs than the American League. As for the over/under, it is set at 8 (-110 with BetOnline either way), which is the lowest opening total in over seven years.
All-Star Trends Favor the NL to Continue Its Winning Streak
Throughout the history of the All-Star Game, streaks have been the common and very evident pattern. Since 1945, the only year the game was not held due to a strike, there have only been eight years in which one of the leagues did not win at least back-to-back contests.
As of late, this pattern has emerged further and has truly become a trend that bettors should be aware of.
Since 1963, both leagues have enjoyed extended winning streaks and periods of success. The National League has twice won at least eight straight games and at one point were winners of 19 of 20 All-Star games. Of course, this was before the inception of the DH in the AL, which will play a part in this year’s contest for the first time.
While AL parks have used the DH since its inception, games played in NL parks, such as Citi Field, would follow National League rules, meaning the pitcher would bat in his place in the line-up. But often, because so many players were on the roster, managers would pull the pitchers before they could bat in favor of a pinch hitter.
However with two All-Star games in the past two decades going into extra innings and exhausting the supply of pitchers each team has, MLB has decided that each team will have the use of a DH.
In 1997, the American League began a stretch that including victories in 12 of 13 games. With a tie in 2002, the NL’s next win did not come until 2010. But as mentioned, they have won each of the last three and could likely win again.
Betting Trends Favor the Under
With pitching having become the forefront in the MLB over the past several years, there is no reason to believe that once again, the All-Star Game could come down to a pitcher’s duel.
Consider this: The National League will be sending Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35 ERA), a 24-year-old phenom of the NY Mets, to the mound to face off against the American League’s Max Scherzer (13-1, 3.19 ERA), a veteran hurler from the Detroit Tigers.
From the stats it is clear that both pitchers have been phenomenal this season. More than that however, each is backed up by an equally talented crop of starting and relief pitchers. There is no reason to believe that this couldn’t turn into a pitcher’s duel.
Of course, each team has also filled out with power hitters from Chris Davis (37 HR) and Miguel Cabrera (30 HR) for the American League to Carlos Gonzalez (25 HR) and Domonic Brown (23 HR) for the National League. Clearly the AL looks to be power favorites, especially considering the use of the DH. Additionally, this could greatly impact the over/under as well.
But ultimately this game is still one of trends and only once in the past eight seasons has the over, which seems to be the popular bet, been met. It should also be considered that only once in that same span did the over increase by the time bets closed.
Last year the NL won the All-Star Game 8-0 which was just one run away from matching the over. It was also the first time since 1996 that the game ended in a shut-out. The NL also won that game, by a score of 6-0.
And in the past, pitching has dominated the game, another difference between other All-Star games. Typically dominated by offense, the MLB All-Star Game has really, especially as of late, belonged to the pitchers. And with the men who will be on the mound Tuesday night, this is one trend you should expect to continue.
All Stars Betting Picks & Final Prediction
The National League’s roster is once again likely to be highlighted by the strong pitching on their side. While offensively, the American League is by far the stronger of the two, the success of the NL in its most recent three-game winning streak has been from the mound, yielding just two runs in the last three games.
Like I mentioned, the AL is highlighted by power, power and more power. However, also as mentioned, Citi Field is not always kind to power hitters, especially those like Cabrera and Davis, who tend to hit them to what will be the biggest part of the field.
- I do expect the game to be a little more competitive than it has been in recent years, but once again, the smart pick is to take the NL with the victory on the moneyline at -122 with BetOnline.
- Considering the trends and the fact that Citi Field with its large dimensions is known as a pitcher’s ballpark, the recommendation here is to select the under at 8 runs (best price of evens with Bovada but a little shorter at -110 with BetOnline). If the line happens to drop below this though, the smart pick would be to take the over as between two teams of all-stars, anything under eight is very doable.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.