MLB All-Star Game and Total Pick

Darin Zank

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 2:00 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014 2:00 PM UTC

A collection of the best bats and arms in baseball have gathered in Minneapolis for the annual Midsummer Classic that is Major League Baseball's All-Star game (Tuesday, 8 pm ET, Fox). Here's our guess as to how this game might shake out, with a free MLB pick on the 'over/under,' for those who might be interested in that sort of thing.

The All-Star Totals Betting Line
As of early Tuesday morning every book we visited was listing the MLB betting odds for the total on this All-Star game at 7.5 runs, with various degrees of grease. Bettors who liked the 'over' could get a price of +106 at 5Dimes, while those who liked the 'under' could play it at -115 at Bovada.

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A Little Background
Long, long ago, when player movement was limited, the leagues actually played this game for pride; remember Pete Rose crashing into Ray Fosse to win the 1970 All-Star game at Riverfront Stadium? But sometime after that the All-Star game devolved into little more than a glorified scrimmage; winning it was nice, but not a major concern. Managers were more inclined to make sure everyone played. What is this, Little League? And these games got very boring. Finally, an apocalypse hit, and the 2002 game in Milwaukee ended in a tie because both sides had used all their players and the game went into extra innings. A tie? In baseball? WTF?

As a remedy for sagging interest, da Commish – Bud Selig – pushed through a change; winning the All-Star game would earn a league home-field advantage for the World Series for that season. Now, say what one will about ol' Bud, but in this reporter's humble opinion it's turned out to be one of the best decisions he's made. Now this game actually means something, which in turn gives us more competitive All-Star games, as the teams give honest efforts.

What has this change meant, from a betting standpoint? More precisely, have All-Star games gone lower-scoring? Or have more runs been scored? What do the numbers say? Which is the smart betting pick in this case?

Well, the first three All-Star games after the change were decided by scores of 7-6, 9-4 and 7-5. But the last six games have all played 'under' the totals. In fact, the last two games have resulted in shutouts; the AL won last year 3-0 at Citi Field, while the NL won 8-0 at Kauffman Stadium two years ago. So its seems the new rule, generally speaking, has led to lower-scoring games, as managers use the deepest of bullpens to counter every situation.  


The Ballpark
Target Field seems to favor hitters over pitchers, at least slightly. This year Twins home games have tilted toward the 'overs' by a 23-17 margin, by averaging 9.3 runs per game. Last year games played at Target Field averaged 8.7 RPG; in 2012 they averaged 9.7 RPG.

The forecast for Tuesday night in Minneapolis calls for temps in the 60s, with a breeze blowing in from left field.


Free Pick on the Total
Look at the list of pitchers who will eat innings in this game; King Felix, Max Scherzer, Yu Darvish, Chris Sale, Koji Uehara, Adam Wainwright, Kershaw, Greinke, Aroldis Chapman, Craig Kimbrel. Regardless of who's standing in the box against those guys we can't help but think this game will continue the recent trend of low-scoring affairs. So we'll go with the 'under' for our free MLB pick on the total for this All-Star game.  

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