The annual Home Run Derby held the night before Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, draws solid TV ratings and is your only betting option for Monday night. This year’s contest is at Marlins Park in Miami. Here are the Sports Interaction MLB odds for each of the eight competitors.
MLB Home Run Derby Odds
To keep things fresh, MLB has changed the format for the Home Run Derby a few times over the years. These days, it’s an eight-player single-elimination bracket competition. Batters will have four minutes in each round to hit as many homers as they can. They can get time added to their clock based on home run distance. Potential ties are broken by a 60-second “swing-off.”
All eyes are going to be on massive Yankees rookie outfielder Aaron Judge, who is the -275 Sports Interaction betting odds favourite to win AL MVP. Barring an injury or terrible second half, Judge is in line to become only the third player in baseball history to win league MVP and Rookie of the Year honours in the same season. The other two to do it also were in the AL: Fred Lynn of the Red Sox in 1975 and Ichiro Suzuki of the Mariners in 2001.
The 6-foot-7, 282-pound Judge leads the majors with 30 home runs, which already is a Yankees rookie record for a SEASON. The previous mark of 29 was set by some guy named Joe DiMaggio in 1936. The only other rookie in MLB history to hit at least 30 homers before the All-Star break was Mark McGwire in 1987 (33). McGwire set the rookie season mark of 49 in ’87. Judge is +175 and the No. 2 seed in the Derby, facing the Marlins’ seventh seed Justin Bour (+1600). It’s Bour’s first time in the Derby.
Should Judge advance, he would face either No. 3 seed Cody Bellinger (+500) of the Dodgers or No. 6 Charlie Blackmon (+2000) of the Rockies in the semifinals. Bellinger is going to win NL Rookie of the Year and became the fastest player in league history to hit 21 career home runs. He did it in 51 games. Bellinger has had six multi-homer games this season – not bad for a guy who wasn’t called up until late April. McGwire holds the rookie record with seven. Blackmon, meanwhile, is a rare leadoff hitter in this competition.
Stanton Looks For Repeat
The defending champion and hometown favourite is Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton. The No. 1 overall seed is +200 and set a Derby record with 61 bombs last year in San Diego. Stanton’s average home run distance on the night was 446 feet and the 10 longest of that Derby all came off his bat. Stanton won with 20 dingers in the final, defeating 2015 champion Todd Frazier, who hit 13. Yoenis Cespedes (2013-14) and Ken Griffey (1998-99) are the only players to repeat.
Stanton will face Yankees catcher and No. 8 seed Gary Sanchez (+1600). Last year, Sanchez tied the MLB record for fastest rookie to 20 homers, doing so in his 51st career game (Bellinger then broke that tie with No. 21 in his 51st). Sanchez and Judge are the fifth and sixth different Yankees to compete in the Derby. Three have won: Robinson Cano (now with Mariners) in 2011, Jason Giambi in 2002 and Tino Martinez in 1997.
The Stanton/Sanchez winner will face either fourth-seeded Mike Moustakas (+1400) of the Royals or No. 5 Miguel Sano (+600) of the Twins. Moustakas has already eclipsed a single-season career-high total in home runs with 25 and set a Royals record for dingers before the All-Star break. He’s on pace to shatter the franchise mark of 36 homers in a season set by Steve Balboni in 1985.
Sano, in his third season, is already approaching his career high of homers (25) with 21 and is a big reason the Twins are one of the AL’s surprises in 2017 after leading the majors in losses in 2016.
Home Run Derby Predictions
MLB would kill to see Judge and Bellinger face off in an all-rookie battle in the semifinals and Stanton against whomever on the other side. Then a Judge/Stanton final would be potentially epic. It does help to have some experience in this competition. Stanton has the clear edge there – not to mention hitting in his home park. It will be the fifth year in a row that a member of a host team has participated. Frazier was still with the Reds when he won it in Cincinnati two years ago.
Stanton is the pick, beating his teammate Bour in the final.