MLB Picks, Props & Market Breakdown for Tonight's All-Star Showdown

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 12:48 PM GMT

Home-field advantage is again on the line for Tuesday night's Major League Baseball All-Star Game, this year from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. The AL takes a two-game winning streak into it, but the NL is a slight -120 favorite at Bovada.

What You Need To Know
It's the 86th All-Star Game with the National League leading all-time 43-40. There have been a couple of ties. Of course at the July 2002 All-Star Game, both sides ran out of pitchers and it finished a 7-7 tie (11 innings), a bit of an embarrassment to then-commissioner Bud Selig as the game was being played at Milwaukee's Miller Park, his former team. Thus Selig instituted the rule going forward where the winner got home-field advantage. Still not sure how they could potentially guard against one side using all its pitchers if the game goes past nine innings. Managers try to get every player in the game if possible. This year the managers are Ned Yost of the Kansas City  Royals and Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants -- last year's two World Series managers. It should be noted that 23 of the past 29 World Series winners had home-field advantage, although the Giants didn't last year.

One of the most popular bets for any All-Star Game -- literally, any league's -- is who will win MVP. Frankly this is a bit of a sucker bet because there are just too many variables. I do tend to favor hometown guys if possible. To little surprise, Washington's Bryce Harper is the +700 favorite this year. He's been the best player in baseball this season and is your NL MVP favorite as well. Reds third basemen Todd Frazier is the +750 second-favorite. He won the new-look Home Run Derby on Monday night, the first home-field winner since 1990. Frazier beat Dodgers rookie Joc Pederson 15-14 in the final. The All-Star MV{ vote is partially decided by the fans, so they might be influenced by how many cheers Frazier gets from the home fans and if he has a good game. Fans can log onto MLB.com or Tweet from the sixth inning through the end of the game to vote for the MVP. The fans' collective voice will represent 20 percent of the overall vote that determines the MVP.

Both sides are missing superstar players due to injury. For example, the American League is without an injured Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers, while the NL is sans Miami slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. Interestingly, the entire AL starting lineup is right-handed, the first time either league has had an all right-handed lineup since 1962. I'd probably give a slight edge to the AL lineup, which features guys like Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz and Adam Jones. Trout is the third-favorite for MVP at +800 and Pujols fourth at +900.

The total for the game is seven, with the 'over' a -135 favorite. The decade, two of the five Midsummer Classics have gone 'over' a total of 7.

 

Starting Pitchers
It's not a huge deal which guys are the starting pitchers because they are likely to only go two innings max and thus wouldn't be great value to win MVP. The last starting pitcher to win was Boston's Pedro Martinez in 1999 just because he put on a strikeout clinic in his short time. Astros ace lefty Dallas Keuchel will get the call for the AL and Dodgers ace Zack Greinke for the NL. Hard to argue against either of those guys deserving it, especially Greinke, who leads the majors with a 1.39 ERA and entered the break on a scoreless innings streak of 35.2, a career-best mark. Greinke will be fresh as he hasn't pitched since Thursday.

Predictably, the AL is the -140 favorite to score first considering it bats first. That there's a run scored in the first inning is +130 with no at -160. The total hits, runs and errors for the game is 24.5, with both options at -115. Last year the AL win 5-3 with Trout being named MVP. The teams combined for 15 hits and one error.

MLB Free Picks: AL wins 4-2; no first-inning runs. That league winning by two runs is +600. Pujols is my MVP choice as he's having a nice bounce-back season and is back in the All-Star Game for the first time in a few years.

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