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By Edward Egros
FOX Sports MLB Betting Analyst
Class is back in session!
Other schools get a Spring Break, we get an All-Star Break. But our assignment — before going on a road trip or to the beach — is to bet on the All-Star Game. I dug through the data and did the research for you, so let’s jump into my best bet for the festivities. And as always, all odds are courtesy of FOX Bet.
ALL-STAR GAME BEST BET
While the American League has dominated this exhibition over the past quarter-century, it’s the National League that’s a slight favorite on the moneyline (-118 at FOX Bet). Because of potential late roster changes and managerial decisions concerning when to play whom, it’s difficult to acquire statistics for who will do what and when.
One workaround is simply looking at Statcast numbers broken down by league. First, here are some key indicators for AL and NL pitching this season:
xFIP K% BB%
AL 4.02 22.2 7.9
NL 3.97 22.5 8.2
The NL has a slight advantage when it comes to strikeout rate, which results in a lower xFIP, which likely more than compensates for walking a few more hitters. However, if you look at the top of the entire list of MLB pitchers sorted by K%, there’s an even mix of NL and AL hurlers.
As for hitters:
xwOBA Avg EV
AL 0.331 88.5
NL 0.326 88
Here, the AL has an advantage thanks, in part, to a slightly higher average exit velocity. But this time, if you sort all of MLB by xwOBA, you see a few more American Leaguers, most notably Aaron Judge, Shohei Ohtani and Giancarlo Stanton.
Historically, what happens in the exhibition is one relief pitcher getting into a jam with an onslaught of hitters not letting up. Again, it’s near impossible to forecast who that pitcher might be. However, it’s also likelier that enough AL hitters will string together more than enough hits to continue dominating the Midsummer Classic.
Meaning if you are looking for a best bet, take the American League to win the All-Star Game. And if the NL gets out to an early lead, a live bet on the AL is another great approach.
ALL-STAR GAME PICK: American League (+100 moneyline at FOX Bet, bet $10 to win $20 total) to win All-Star Game
ALL-STAR GAME MVP BEST BET
The other major All-Star Game wager is the game’s MVP.
As with any MVP, you want someone from the winning team, someone who will play a lot (because they want to but also bring added defensive value) and someone who’s projected to have multiple hits.
Center fielder Byron Buxton of the Twins (+1400) fits this description, ranking in the top 20 in Outs Above Average and a hard hit rate of nearly 50%, which gives him a good chance of getting on base more than once.
PICK: Byron Buxton (+1400 at FOX Bet, bet $10 to win $150 total) to be named MVP
Edward Egros is a sports analytics broadcaster/writer, a sports betting analyst, a data scientist and an adjunct professor of statistics at Pepperdine University. These passions have led him to become a cold brew aficionado. Edward previously worked in local television, notably at the Fox affiliate in Dallas covering the Rangers, Cowboys and high school football. Follow him on Twitter @EdWithSports.
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