The slowest four days on the sports betting calendar in 2017 start Monday with Major League Baseball on its All-Star break and the regular season to resume Friday. You only have two major live events to wager on Monday night: the U.S. Open Cup between MLS teams San Jose and Los Angeles, and the annual Home Run Derby. We’re here to preview the latter.
This year’s All-Star festivities are at Marlins Park in Miami, the first time south Florida has hosted them. The Home Run Derby format has changed over the years but currently is an eight-player single elimination bracket-style event. Batters get four minutes to hit as many dingers as possible – they each pick who pitches to them.
Competitors can get bonus time depending on how far a certain homer travels (it was 30 seconds for each at least 440 feet in 2016).
The No. 1 overall seed, defending champion and the +165 betting chalk at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com is Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, who will clearly be the hometown favorite. Last year in San Diego, he set a Derby record with 61 homers to win – including the 10 longest of any competitor.
Yoenis Cespedes (2013-14 then with A’s and now with Mets) and Hall of Famer Ken Griffey Jr. (1998-99) are the only players to win the Derby in consecutive years. Griffey is the lone three-time winner.
Stanton has 26 homers overall this year and 13 in 145 home at-bats. He faces No. 8 seed Gary Sanchez (+1400) in the first round. In the same half of the bracket are No. 4 Mike Moustakas (+1400) of Kansas City and No. 5 Miguel Sano (+1000) from the Twins.
New York Yankees rookie Aaron Judge leads the majors in homers, is the No. 2 seed and second-favorite at +175. Judge is on pace to have perhaps the best offensive rookie season ever. He’s the clear AL MVP betting favorite and all but a lock to win AL Rookie of the Year. Only Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) have won the MVP and ROY in the same season.
Judge could win the AL Triple Crown as he leads in homers with 30 – already a Yankees rookie record for an entire season – and is second in average (that’s the one he’s the least likely to win) and RBI. Judge faces another Marlin, No. 7 Justin Bour (+1400), in Round 1.
It’s fair to say most viewers will be rooting for a Stanton-Judge final as they are clearly the two premier power hitters in baseball right now. The marquee semifinal matchup would be Judge against the expected NL Rookie of the Year, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger. He’s the No. 3 seed and +900 to win on the Home Run Derby odds.
Bellinger is third in the NL in homers and has six multi-homer games despite not being called up until late April. Bellinger is the third straight Dodgers rookie in this contest. Corey Seager lost in the first round last year, while Joc Pederson was the runner-up in 2015. Bellinger faces No. 6 seed Charlie Blackmon (+2000) of Colorado in the first round.