MLB Home Run Derby Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 7/11/2011
Frankly, today might be the worst sports day of the year. There is not one true live event going on in major North American sports. Not even the CFL. But you do have one watching/betting option, albeit an exhibition event: the annual Home Run Derby. This year the all-star festivities are in Phoenix, so expect more than a few dingers to land in the swimming pool in right field. We will offer some Home Run Derby predictions for betting on the event.
The favorite on WagerWeb, according to MLB Home Run Derby odds, is Blue Jays third baseman/outfielder Jose Bautista (+275), who has suddenly morphed into the best player in baseball after being a nobody for years. In fact, he is making a run for the Triple Crown with a .334 average, a major league-leading 31 homers as well as 65 RBI. If Adrian Gonzalez were back in the National League, Bautista might actually pull that off. He leads the majors by a ridiculous six homers this season after being the only player to hit at least 50 – 54, to be exact, besting the next-best player by 12 in 2010.
Bautista was one of three “captains” selections by Boston’s David Ortiz, who apparently doesn’t know there are divisions outside the American League East. MLB changed things up this year, allowing captains Ortiz and Prince Fielder of the Brewers to pick the three players each on their league’s team. Ortiz and Fielder are captains because Big Papi was the Derby champion last season and Fielder won in 2009. Ortiz chose Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Red Sox first baseman Gonzalez, and Bautista. Fielder, meanwhile, chose Brewers teammate and second baseman Rickie Weeks, Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday, and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. This will be Ortiz’s fifth Derby. It’s a third for Fielder and Holliday and a second for Gonzalez. Bautista, Cano, Kemp and Weeks are first-timers. Not really sure why Fielder chose Holliday, who has 14 homers, over his Cardinals teammate Lance Berkman, who leads the NL with 24.
Fielder is the second-favorite at +285. If you are a regular to Doc’s Sports you know I am already partial to Fielder, whom I projected as the home run king in baseball this year (of course I also wrote there was no chance Bautista came close to 50 again). Fielder won in 2009 at Busch Stadium with a total of 23 homers, besting Texas’ Nelson Cruz in the finals. Fielder, who is making himself millions of dollars because he will be a free agent after this season, is my choice here. Only Ken Griffey Jr. has won this event multiple times, but that doesn’t mean much because most stars choose not to compete more than once.
The other participants and their odds: Ortiz (+300), Cano (+650), Gonzalez (+500), Holliday (+350), Kemp (+600), Weeks (+1000).
There are also some interesting prop options available on the site for this contest. You can bet on which league the winning player comes from, with the AL a -165 favorite -- and really that league should win. You can bet on which player hits the most homers in the first round – Bautista and Fielder are co-favorites at +250. Certainly no one will approach the record of the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, who hit 28 in Round 1 at Yankee Stadium back in 2008, but then was clearly so winded he didn’t even win the Derby – Minnesota’s Justin Morneau did. You can also bet on the longest homer in Round 1 and even the player to hit the most gold ball homers in the first round. The special balls are put into play once a batter is down to his final out in each round of the derby.
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