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BETTING

MLB All-Star Game Best Bet: American League Keeps the Streak Going

Mlb All-Star Game 2023 Logo
A detail of the All Star Game 2023 logo patch Ronald MartinezGetty ImagesAFP

Top MLB Pick

  • American League (-108) at WynnBet

Some baseball games are easier to project than others. The computers at OddsTrader aren’t even going to try figuring out Tuesday’s All-Star Game at T-Mobile Park in Seattle; the American League and National League lineups have been thrown together rather quickly, with several injury replacements being shuffled in over the weekend.

We can still make at least one sharp baseball pick for the Mid-Summer Classic. The American League is on a nine-game winning streak, and they’ve taken the senior circuit to the woodshed for most of the past 30 years.

The Under might belong in your MLB picks as well. Scoring tends to be lower at the Mid-Summer Classic because of all the pitching changes; it’s almost unheard of for an All-Star pitcher to go through the batting order a second time, let alone a third. Let’s take a closer look at Tuesday’s matchup and see if it fits our needs for both these wagers.


National League vs. American League

Tuesday, July 11, 2023 – 08:00 PM EDT at T-Mobile Park


What About Aaron Judge?

If the American League seems like a bargain as -108 “home” faves, it’s probably because they’re missing two of the biggest names in the sport: Aaron Judge (1.078 OPS) and Mike Trout (.862 OPS). Both former MVPs are unavailable this Tuesday because of injuries.

As much as the New York Yankees have struggled this year without Judge in the lineup, they don’t have outfielders like Adolis Garcia (.848 OPS) of the Texas Rangers to back him up. The junior circuit also isn’t losing much, with Houston OF Kyle Tucker (.835 OPS) stepping in for Trout.

The National League will have their entire starting lineup at bat, and almost all their reserves, too. But again, pitching is where it’s at when it comes to the All-Star Game, and while both teams will be missing some key players, you have to give the advantage to the junior circuit – for multiple reasons.

Does Home-Field Advantage Matter?

Generally speaking, no. A National League park has hosted seven of the nine games in their current losing streak – although technically, the American League was the designated “home” team for the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego, leaving the home team at 3-6 since 2012.

However, each All-Star Game is its own event, and Tuesday’s game happens to feature two very talented pitchers from the Seattle Mariners: Luis Castillo (3.69 xFIP) and George Kirby (3.68 xFIP). They’ll take their familiarity with T-Mobile Park and its dimensions to the mound, where they’ll have the support of a very boisterous M’s crowd.

Mariners OF Julio Rodriguez (.721 OPS) has also been named to the AL All-Star team as an injury replacement. Rodriguez is going through a classic sophomore slump, but he does know this park very well, and his defensive play has been solid this year.

These three gentlemen are just part of the reason T-Mobile Park sits at the bottom of the league this season with a park factor of 88 for runs, as per Baseball Savant. The overall climate on the West Coast is very pitcher-friendly; it should also be a reasonably cool evening at the park this Tuesday, with temperatures around 60 degrees and light winds blowing from third to first.

Does the Designated Hitter Matter?

This has been cited as one of the main reasons the American League has dominated the All-Star Game in recent decades. The National League did adopt the designated hitter rule last year, but their pitchers haven’t specialized in hitting for the past two generations like they have on the junior circuit.

It matters even less this year with Shohei Ohtani (1.050 OPS) expected to DH for the American League – although he probably won’t pitch Tuesday, as Ohtani continues to recover from a blister on his pitching hand.

The AL isn’t short of hurlers, mind you. Castillo and Kirby will support starter Gerrit Cole (3.87 xFIP), and the bullpen features the likes of Baltimore’s Felix Bautista (1.66 xFIP) and Toronto’s Jordan Romano (3.34 xFIP).

In sharp contrast, look at all the pitchers who are unavailable for the National League this Tuesday:

  • Clayton Kershaw
  • Spencer Strider
  • Marcus Stroman
  • Bryce Elder
  • Devin Williams

That’s a ton of talent on the hoof. Granted, the American League will also be without Shane McClanahan, Framber Valdez and Kevin Gausman among others – and all these missing arms give us enough reason to think twice about betting the Under. But the AL still has the arsenal they need to continue their All-Star winning streak, no computer projections required.


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