Pick National League -101 in 2014 MLB All-Star Game

Darin Zank

Tuesday, July 15, 2014 1:23 PM GMT

Major League Baseball's elite are in Minneapolis for the 85th edition of the MLB All-Star game Tuesday night (8 pm ET, Fox). Here's our take on how this contest might play out, with a free MLB pick on the side thrown in. 

           

All-Star Game Betting Line
As of early Tuesday morning the best money-line price we could find on the American League was the -104 offered at BetOnline, while the National League could be gotten at MLB odds of +101 at Pinnacle.
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Game Set-Up
The National League had won three All-Star games in a row until last year, when the American League claimed a 3-0 victory at Citi Field.

The All-Star Game means a little more than it used to, after that debacle 12 years ago in Milwaukee. Since then the league that wins the All-Star game has claimed home-field advantage for the upcoming World Series. This change has caused some consternation, but has undoubtedly made for much better All-Star games. And from a sports betting standpoint at least we know both teams will give full, honest efforts.

On the Mound
The home-standing Americans will send Seattle ace Felix Hernandez (11-2, 2.12) to the mound to start this All-Star game, while the Nationals will counter with St. Louis stalwart Adam Wainwright (12-4, 1.83). But of course neither of these guys are likely to see the fourth inning.

After that the AL can go with guys like Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale. But the NL can counter with Clay Kershaw (one ER in his last five starts), Zack Greinke and Alfredo Simon. And on the back end, while the Americans can call on Fernando Rodney and Koji Uehara, the Nationals can go with flamethrower Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel. 

Top to bottom, we give the NL the edge in the arms battle.

At the Bat
The National League’s starting lineup goes like this: Andrew McCutchen, Yasiel Puig, Troy Tulowitzki, Paul Goldschmidt, Giancarlo Stanton, Aramis Ramirez, Chase Utley, Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Gomez. That top five is awfully tough; Lucroy is clutch; and Gomez can hit a homer or steal a base.

The American League's order goes Derek Jeter, Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Josh Donaldson and Salvador Perez. Jeter is at the top almost purely for sentimental reasons – he's hitting .272 this season with little power - but it would be just like him to come up with a couple of base hits.

Of course, only a few of these starters will bat more than twice. But overall, while many other observers are giving the Americans the edge in the starting lineups, to us it's closer than a first glance might indicate.

As for the bench the Americans can call on guys like ML hits leader Jose Altuve, slugger Jose Abreu, two-time Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes and Adrian Beltre. The Nationals, however, aren't quite that deep. It might be interesting to see how NL manager Mike Matheny handles his lineup later in the game, given that of the 12 guys on his bench, eight of them are on the All-Star team for the first time.

Free MLB Pick
This match-up involves the stereotypes of the two leagues; the American League has the better bats, but the National League owns the better arms. And in situations like this we almost always go with the better arms. So we'll go with the National League for our free MLB pick on the side for this All-Star game.