After a thrilling, down-to-the-wire Home Run Derby, it’s officially time for the main event of All Star Weekend, the All Star Game itself. This edition of the Midsummer Classic features a ridiculous array of talent congregated in Seattle, so let’s take a look at the odds for this special matchup, where my prediction is for under 7.5 runs and an early edge for the National League.
MLB All Star Game Predictions
Amidst what appears in many ways to be his best season as a Yankee, Gerrit Cole is getting the ball for the American League. He’s starting the All Star Game for the first time in his career, a much-deserved honor he’s surely been waiting for. That being said, things aren’t quite as rosy as they might appear. He’s been sharp for sure, but he’s walking more batters than he did last year, giving up more hits, and racking up way fewer strikeouts. On top of it all, his FIP is way higher than his ERA and most of his statcast metrics are down, so the perceived improvement just might be unsustainable. Other than getting his horrendous home run problem in check, there’s no other positive trend that suggests that Cole is any better than he was a year ago.
Conversely, the NL Starter Zac Gallen is essentially the same pitcher he was a year ago by most measures. His ERA is up, but his FIP is down- it’s actually the best figure in the NL. Similarly, he has the best WHIP in the National League after pacing the league in that category a year ago- that continued excellence is no small feat. After he was excellent last year on a mediocre squad, it’s been great to watch him compete with a Diamondbacks club that has some legitimate aspirations, they should at least make the playoffs and maybe even win some games.
Unshockingly, both of these aces have some seriously talented hitters to square up against. There’s some pretty awesome storylines woven in too, like a rookie cracking the lineup in each league. One is Gallen’s teammate Corbin Carroll, while slugging third baseman Josh Jung is one of a staggering five Texas Rangers in the AL starting 9.
These teams are both obviously stacked, but the AL is definitely missing some of its top bats- this lineup is frankly incomplete without Aaron Judge, Mike Trout, and Yordan Alvarez. The Texas Rangers are an incredible offense, but it’s tough to have faith in them to take on the National League essentially alone. I also don’t trust Cole against these elite bats, so I’m going to pick the NL to win the first three innings. I’m also going with the under, as top-tier pitching usually tends to win out over elite hitting, and there’s been less than 8 runs in 5 of the past 6 All Star Games, including each of the past 3.
MLB All Star Game Prediction: NL 1st 3 innings 1×2 (+155), u7.5 (-120)
MLB All Star Game Odds
In this matchup between impossibly stacked squads, Vegas sees things as even with a -110 moneyline for both teams, although for the 1.5-run spread, the National League is -1.5 at +155 odds. The scoring total is set at 7.5, with the over at +100 and the under -120.
MLB All Star Game Best Bets
In addition to an NL victory and over 7.5 runs, here are some other best bets for Tuesday’s All Star game.
Freddie Freeman To Record First Hit (+350)
The tops of both lineups are absolutely loaded- investing in Shohei Ohtani is always tempting- but the smart move with this prop is to pick an NL hitter, as they will serve as the away squad and hit in the top of the first. As I’ve already stated, I wouldn’t be surprised if things were rocky for Cole early on, especially with the gauntlet of great on-base threats he has to face right out of the gate.
The favorite for this is Ronald Acuña, probably the NL MVP favorite right now, and second in the league in batting average after Luis Arráez. He’s leading off, so he’ll have the first shot, and obviously he’s a great bat, but I’m going with Freddie Freeman instead. I wouldn’t be stunned if Cole can’t find the zone and walks the leadoff man, and then grooves some pitches to Freeman. It’s also not a bad idea to invest in the lefty-on-righty matchup, so I like the value on Freeman, who is hitting second for the NL.
Over 0.5 Runs Scored in the First Inning (+100)
For a shorter-odds wager, we have the classic YRFI/NRFI prop- in this case, I’m taking YRFI. I’ve already talked about Cole and some of the top of the NL lineup, and it doesn’t get much easier beyond Freeman with his Dodger teammates Mookie Betts and JD Martinez up next. But even if the best version of Cole shows up and the top of the first ends up being a goose egg, the American League is perfectly capable of making something happen in their half of the frame.
As I alluded to earlier, it’s never a bad idea to invest in Shohei Ohtani. He’s upped the ante this year, and has been easily the best healthy bat in the league as well as a top-20 starting pitcher. After Ohtani, there’s the electrifying Randy Arozarena, then Corey Seager, who has been otherworldly at the plate this year, followed by Yandy Díaz, who is third in the Majors in batting average and sixth in OPS. I believe in the under in the long run for this game, but with the talent at the top of these lineups, the scoring should happen early.
MLB All Star Game Starting Lineups
National League Starting Lineup
RF R. Acuña Jr. R
1B F. Freeman L
CF M. Betts R
DH J. Martinez R
3B N. Arenado R
2B L. Arraez L
C S. Murphy R
LF C. Carroll L
SS O. Arcia R
American League Starting Lineup
2B M. Semien R
DH S. Ohtani L
LF R. Arozarena R
SS C. Seager L
1B Y. Díaz R
RF A. García R
CF A. Hays R
3B J. Jung R
C J. Heim S