Will NL youth be served?

July 9, 2019 12:26 AM

The 90th edition of the Midsummer Classic takes place tonight as Progressive Field in Cleveland will host the MLB All-Star Game for the first time since 1997. The recent history of the game has been one-way traffic for the American League as the AL has won six straight, including five games in National League parks. 

The AL, with a 44-43-2 all-time series lead, is currently offered as a small -115 favorite at New Jersey-based PointsBet. The betting market consensus nationwide has the AL as a small favorite in what is usually a coin-flip game. 

The total is set at 8.5 with slight juice to the over at -115. Eight runs or fewer have been scored in nine of the last 11 All-Star Games; however, it has to be taken into account that 3,691 home runs (1.37 per game) have been hit league wide heading into tonight’s game. Major League Baseball is well on its way to have the record of 6,105 (set in 2017) shattered in very short order. 

The AL will start the Astros’ Justin Verlander (10-4, 2.98 ERA) while the NL will trot out MLB ERA leader Hyun-Jin Ryu (10-2, 1.73 ERA) of the Dodgers. Both pitchers are currently the top two in all of baseball in WHIP (Walks and Hits per Innings Pitched). Ryu’s bad outing on June 28 in Colorado (4 IP, 7 ER, 9 H) seemingly is a blip on the radar screen as he responded throwing six scoreless innings in a win over San Diego on July 4. Meanwhile, Verlander, in his last two starts at home (vs. Seattle and LA Angels) has gone 0-1 with 12 IP and has given up 12 hits and 8 earned runs, including 5 long balls. 

The NL will present the youngest ever starting lineup in All-Star Game history with an average age of 25.8. While not exactly stacked with fossils, the AL lineup has an average age of 28.8 and is led by two-time game MVP Mike Trout, who is making his eighth straight All-Star appearance representing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Millville, N.J., native is currently the co-favorite, along with Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers, to win the game MVP award at 10/1 at Westgate SuperBook USA. PointsBet is leaning more on the Jersey boy to take home the hardware at plus 950, while Bellinger and the Brewers’ Christian Yelich, MLB’s current HR, slugging percentage, and OPS (on-base plus slugging) leader, are co-second choices at 15/1. 

In terms of the game betting, there doesn’t seem to be a particular lean to either side. “The action is all minimal at this point,” said Jeff Sherman, Vice President of Risk Management at Westgate SuperBook. “Over 90 percent of the All-Star Game bets will come today.” 

Sherman also anticipates they will see more volume on the Overs with the number of home runs we have already seen this season in addition to the proclivity of the general public to bet Overs like they do in every other sport.

PointsBet is offering the usual baseball betting menu that we see on a normal daily baseball card (sides, run lines, totals, full game, first five innings, team totals), but are also offering prices for betting in the first three innings and first seven innings respectively. In addition, there is a three-way line that we see most often in soccer wagering. The AL is even money and the NL is plus 111 while the Draw is plus 775, meaning you can bet that price on the game being tied through nine innings. 

If you are a believer in “the trend is your friend” betting mentality, then you ride the AL six-game win streak. On the other hand, you might buy into youth being king and side with the NL having three first-time All-Stars as starters. Younger players are generally more excited to go to the All-Star Game for their first or second time versus guys that have been regulars for years. This year’s meeting will have 30 combined All-Stars (16 NL, 14 AL) who make their first-ever appearances so we have a good chance at least see an exciting game with so many young players trying to make big impressions on the big stage.

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