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Preview: 2014 MLB All-Star Game


Tuesday night see’s the 85th installment of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game played at Target Field in Minneapolis.

Once considered an exhibition game bettors would be well-advised to stay away from, by placing home field advantage in the World Series up for grabs, the league offices have at least added a competitive edge to the game now.

That being said, there (rightfully so) aren’t too many players out there that play this game as hard as a regular season game, nor too many managers that would manage this game like it was a regular season game. That makes it a minefield for bettors.

The unpredictability of the game – nobody would have thought last year’s game at Citi Field in New York would have finished with just three runs on the board – may mean betting on the end result is something of a crapshoot, but that doesn’t mean there’s not some action to be enjoyed.

In fact, online sportsbook Bovada has a host of team and player prop bets, as well as in-play betting, that will make the game one worthy of a bettor’s attention, albeit not their undivided attention.

Here are some of the more intriguing props to look out for.

Who will record more strikeouts in the first inning?

American League starter Felix Hernandez (+150) is a very narrow favorite to come out on top in this category against National League starter Adam Wainwright (+160), with a draw (+175) featuring the longer odds.

Who will be the first player to hit a home run?

This is where there’s some serious cash to be won, if you can strike it lucky that is. Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreyu – the Major League leader in home runs with 29 – is considered the favorite with odds of 14/1.

After Abreyu you have Andrew McCutcheon (16/1), Giancarlo Stanton (16/1), Nelson Cruz (16/1), and Troy Tulowitzki (16/1) waiting in the wings. Of course, a veritable who’s who of heavy hitters follows in this quartet’s wake.

It’s worth remembering that no home runs were scored last season.

Who will have most hits, runs and RBIs?

Bovada is listing a veritable smorgasbord of intriguing player matchups.

In his last ever All-Star Game, can Derek Jeter (+110) outscore McCutcheon (-140)?

In a battle of young superstars, will Mike Trout (-140) get the better of Yasiel Puig (+110)?

Who will come out on top in a battle between Jose Bautista (-125) and Stanton (-110)?

There’s more matchups to choose from too.

Check out more player prop bets

Which team will score first?

Always a fun bet to consider, can the visiting NL All-Stars take advantage of batting first or will AL pitching give the offense a chance to score first?

Right now, the NL (-135) is favored over the AL (+105) as the bookies’ side with that opening batting advantage.

How many home runs will be hit by both teams combined?

Bovada has the line at 1 1/2 home runs, with the under (-130) favored ahead of the over (Even).

The previous two All-Star Games and four of the last five have seen one or fewer home runs.

A word to the wise: Target Field has yielded 70 home runs this season, the second fewest in the American League and eighth fewest in the majors. But then again, the ballpark hasn’t faced this many heavy hitters at once.

How many runs will the two teams combine for?

Bovada’s mainline has the over/under at 7 1/2 runs, although alternative lines give you the option to choose between 4 1/2 and 8/2.

Think the game is going to be a pitching master class a la New York City last year? Take the under (+325) on 4 1/2 runs.

Think the game is going to come complete with offensive fireworks? Take the over (+215) on 9 1/2 runs.

The average number of runs scored in All-Star games since 2003 – A.K.A. since the game “mattered” – is just a fraction under nine.

Check out more team prop bets

So there you have it. There’s plenty of action to be enjoyed in the serious game that’s not serious. If you’re intent on analyzing boxscores and studying previous results, Baseball-Reference.com has a comprehensive All-Star section for you to get your teeth into.

For the record, the American League (-110) is a narrow favorite to win over the National League (even).

First pitch in the game is scheduled for shortly after 8:00 p.m. ET.

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