- The 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) All Star Game will take place on Tuesday, July 13 at Coors Field in Denver, Colorado.
- The game was originally scheduled for Atlanta but moved due to ‘political correctness’.
- The MLB Draft is also taking place in Denver this week.
The MLB All Star Game isn’t what it used to be. Simply put, the players just don’t care much anymore despite the fact that the winning league gets home field advantage for the World Series. Maybe we don’t need to go back to the days of Pete Rose–who played hard every time he took the field–nearly killing Ray Fosse in a home plate collision in the 1970 All Star Game. There is likely a ‘happy medium’ that could produce a competitive game but the way it stands what was once known as the ‘Midsummer Classic’ is downright forgettable.
The 2021 All Star Game is the first since 2019 as the 2020 game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was originally scheduled for Atlanta but political correctness dictated its relocation to the new sports betting capital of the United States, Colorado. More specifically–the game will take place at Coors Field starting at 8 PM Eastern/5 Pacific on Tuesday, July 13 with live coverage on FOX-TV in the US. In the ‘things I never thought I’d live to see’ department–fans in attendance at the All Star Game can watch the TV feed on Fox via their cellphones and bet at a Fox Sports branded sportsbook from the same device.
Not that the All Star Game is–or has ever been–a particularly intriguing betting event. In theory, it’s a game that lends itself to ‘live dogs’ but in reality the game has been defined by long winning runs for one league or the other. The overall tally is close–the AL has won 45, the NL has won 43 with 2 ending in a tie or ‘no decision’. The first tie came in 1961, a 1-1 deadlock at Boston’s Fenway Park. The second tie has been recent enough for many of you to remember–it game in 2002 at Miller Park in Milwaukee as then-comissioner Bud Selig waved off the game after 11 innings amid chants of ‘Refund!’ and ‘Bud Must Go’.
The National League dominated the ASG in the second half of the 20th century. Between 1960 and 1985, the NL won all but four. There was the tie in 1961 along with AL wins in 1962, 1971 and 1983. This included a streak of 11 straight NL victories beginning in 1972 and ending in 1982. The leagues traded victories for a few seasons before the American League took over. Starting in 1988, the AL has won 25 of the next 32 games. There was the 2002 tie and a pair of three year winning runs by the NL–1994 through 1996 and 2010 through 2012. The AL hasn’t had a winning streak as dominant as the NL’s 11 game run but the Junior Circuit does enter this year’s contest having won the last 7 All Star Games.
The 2021 game is already historically significant thanks to Japanese force of nature Shohei Ohtani. Ohtani has spent the 2021 season redefining what is possible for a Major League Baseball player and is the first player in history to be selected due to his hitting *and* his pitching. Ohtani is–for lack of a better term–unreal. His manager, Joe Maddon of the LA Angels, summed it up nicely:
“The guy’s going to participate in Home Run Derby, pitch in the game and hit in the game. That doesn’t happen like, ever. So this is the one time … even the non-baseball fan can really latch onto this and become interested.”
Ohtani isn’t just going to *participate* in the Home Run Derby–he’s favored to win. Here’s the odds for the contest from BetOnline.ag:
TO WIN 2021 MLB HOME RUN DERBY
Shohei Ohtani +215 Joey Gallo +375 Pete Alonso +500 Matt Olson +700 Trevor Story +750 Juan Soto +950 Salvador Perez +950 Trey Mancini +1200
BetOnline.ag has a number of Home Run Derby props that we’ll look at in a subsequent article.
Ohtani is hitting .278 with 31 home runs (tops in the majors) and 67 RBIs. He is 3-1 with a 3.60 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 60 innings in 12 starts as a pitcher. Ohtani was one of the first players in the Majors to declare for the Home Run Derby in a year where many players have ‘opted out’ of the game and/or the longball contest. He’s a breath of fresh air and his willingness to play hasn’t gone unnoticed by the media including Joel Sherman in the New York Post:
Kudos to Ohtani for seeing the big picture and agreeing to be in the Home Run Derby and the All-Star Game. If Ohtani is doing any less than leading off as the starting pitcher Tuesday — showcasing his unique two-way skill set for the world — than it is a demerit for an industry trying so hard to prove it is not just a local sport. Today Ohtani could walk down most streets in America without notice. That can’t be true after Monday and Tuesday.
Ohtani is almost ridiculously humble for a guy with otherworldly skills as is evidenced by this statement released by his team, the LA Angels:
“It’s my first time so I just want to enjoy everything. There’s also the Home Run Derby, so I’m looking forward to taking it all in and enjoy everything.”
As far as the side, total and runline for the game–the National League is a small favorite. Here’s the current prices at BetOnline.ag:
AMERICAN LEAGUE +1.5 -190
NATIONAL LEAGUE -1.5 +165
AMERICAN LEAGUE -101
NATIONAL LEAGUE -109
OVER 10.5 RUNS -113
UNDER 10.5 RUNS -107
Not a lot of variation from one book to another. For example, Betfred in Colorado has the NL and AL both priced at -110, the total at 10.5 OV -115 and the runline at AL +1.5 -190/NL -1.5 +160. Betway in Colorado has the same moneyline and total with the runline at AL +1.5 -180/NL -1.5 +155. Elite Sportsbook (Iowa and Colorado) has the money line at -110, the total at 10.5 OV -120 and the runline at AL +1.5 -190/NL -1.5 +160. Some books are offering alternate run lines, totals and other props–we’ll look at those in a subsequent article.