The Major League Baseball All-Star Break is a true dead spot on the sports-gambling calendar. For several days, no games of consequence are contested in a major sport. Fear not, exhibitions can be bet on, and Monday’s Home Run Derby (8:00 PM ET, Marlins Park, Miami) is a particularly interesting option with both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton, arguably the two biggest mashers in the game today … or ever, strapping on the batting gloves. That pair has short odds, as you’d expect. Are they the best options for bettors at the annual BP session?
There are good reasons to think Stanton will win. He’s the defending champion; he set a record for total homers last year (61); and this is his home park. He homered twice against the Giants on Sunday, and has five long balls in the last five games. He notched seven dingers in April, seven more in May, and another seven in June, too. Stanton’s 26 homers are tied for the most in the National League, and third in all of baseball.
The Yankees rookie from Fresno State University has been a revelation this year. He leads the sport with 30 homers, and already passed Joe DiMaggio for most homers by a first-year Yankee. He did not homer during his final two games before the All Star Break, but smoked deep balls in each of the previous three. Yes, 21 of his in-game home runs have come at Yankee Stadium, the second-easiest park in baseball to go long, but he’s also 6’7 and nearly 300 pounds of muscle. He routinely smashes balls 450-plus feet in batting practice without breaking a sweat. There’s no park in the bigs that can contain his raw power.
The Dodgers left-handed rookie is third in the NL with 25 homers. After connecting on nine homers in May, he notched 13 in June. However, in July Bellinger is five for 22 with just one dinger. Fifteen of his home runs have come at home at Dodger Stadium, which is the ninth-easiest park for dingers.
With 21 home runs, Sano is not among the top ten in long balls despite playing in the fifth-best park to go deep (Minnesota’s Target Field). Interestingly, only eight of his homers have come at home. Sano hit seven homers in April but has just one dinger in the last eight games.
The rest of the field is at 10/1 or longer.
Sanchez of the Yankees missed nearly a month of the season and has 13 dingers, but none in his last 13 games. The Marlins’ Justin Bour is also cold, with just two of his total 20 homers coming in during the last 19 games.
The Rockies Charlie Blackmon has 20 HR’s this year, including two in the last three games and four deep in his last 10, yet also gets to play in the rarefied air of Denver.
Finally, the Royals Mike Moustakas has 25 homers in a contract year, already setting a career high (previously 22). With six in his last 10 games, he’s as hot as anyone coming into the derby.
Stanton and Judge are the big favorites, and for good reason, but they don’t offer much value. I can’t justify a bet on Sano or Bellinger, either. Moustakas, on the other hand, is red hot and plays in the second-worst stadium for home runs in all of baseball. He also matches up with Miguel Sano in the first round of the bracket, which isn’t a bad matchup. My advice is to take a flier on the biggest price offered.
Photo Credit: Arturo Pardavila (Flickr) [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0]
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