As a sports bettor, you can look at the MLB All-Star Game in one of two ways. You can view it as an entertaining showcase for the best players in the game, or as a time when a player kicks off his spikes and rests.
You have the same choices. You bet on this showcase or simply take a break from what is a very long season. It’s up to you. But if you are considering placing some bets on the All-Star game, here are some things to consider.
The MLB All-Star Game is a mid-season showcase that features some of the best players in the game of baseball. The night before the game, there is the featured Home Run Derby competition, and the following day the game is held. For years the game was just that, a game that featured top-notch players. Over the years, it seemed to lose its luster. Many players appeared to be disinterested, and some premium players skipped the event altogether.
In 2002, the All-Star game went into extra innings. A controversy erupted when the baseball commissioner called the game after eleven full innings. The contest ended in a 7-7 tie. Commentators and fans were angry, and if you bet the money line you were not too happy either. There was a lot of talk about giving the game more meaning.
In order to increase its relevance, it was decided that the league that won the game in a given year would be awarded home field advantage in the World Series. This caused more controversy, but the rule is still in effect. Today, the MLB All-Star Game decides home field for the World Series.
Home Run Derby
The home run derby is comprised of two preliminary rounds and a final round. Eight players – four from each league – compete in the first two rounds. At the end of the first rounds, player totals are added up, and then the two leaders battle each other in the finals. The player who hits the most home runs in the final round wins the contest.
This is a fun showcase where sluggers get to throw lumber at meatball after meatball and crush homeruns into the stands – sometimes out of the ballpark. It’s a pretty thrilling thing to watch, as some baseballs soar well over 400 feet.
The question is: Is it worth betting on?
Here is the skinny on the Home Run Derby: the serious sports bettor only puts money on it for a laugh. This event does not offer the pro sports bettors a quality wagering opportunity. There are certainly enough props on which to bet, including who will win, who will make it to the finals, how many homers will be hit by the winner, over/under on homers, etc. However, none of the betting opportunities offer value, and all are crapshoots.
If you want a little distraction and you have some extra cash to burn, lay a few bucks on the derby. Just don’t expect to win much, if at all.
Handicapping the Game
The next question that has to be asked concerns the game itself. Is the All-Star Game worth your attention? Here’s the situation: There is a manager and coaches working with a bunch of guys who don’t normally play together, and utilizing a pitching staff that in no way wants to get worn down or injured. You know that players are going to be rotated out of the game to try to make sure that as many of those guys as possible will get a chance to play. There are thirty-four players on each roster.
Can you imagine handicapping this game in a logical fashion? There are so many unusual factors, so many variables, and so many unknowns that you might as well toss a coin in the air to determine which team you should bet. If you are going to bet on this game, do yourself a favor and spend very little time justifying your wager.
Look at each pitching staff. Consider the hitters they will face. Decide which pitchers are going to bring their good stuff with them, and which are going to sort of show up. Consider which hitters are looking to do some damage. Weigh pitching and hitting, and then place your bet.
What to Do Instead
Instead of betting on the game, sit back, relax, and enjoy it. Get some rest. Renew yourself and your energies. Take a break from the very hard work of handicapping baseball.
At some point, for a few hours, review how you’ve done up to this point and consider what adjustments you might make. For the serious sports bettor, this makes the most sense. If you want to feel connected to the game toss a unit on the money line, the run line and the totals. See if you hit your number.
Gearing Up for the Push
The Mid-Season Classic is your time, as a sports bettor, to get ready for the second half of the MLB season. Make good use of your time. You need to be ready for the next part of the season.
To be clear, the Mid-Season Classic does not occur in mid-season. The game is held in the middle of July, which is more than halfway through the 162-game regular season. So, although there are many betting opportunities left from mid-July to mid-October, more than half have been used up. Utilize those last few months well.