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MLB Home Run Derby roundtable and betting tips

The All-Star break is upon us and while many people will be tuning in for the All-Star Game itself on Tuesday, if history is any indication, the biggest draw of the week’s activities will likely be the T-Mobile Home Run Derby, held at Dodger Stadium on Monday night at 8 ET on ESPN.

Where is the betting value? Will the favorites prevail? Our betting experts take their best swings at breaking down the field.

All odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook.


Odds to win Derby

Pete Alonso (+190), Kyle Schwarber (+330), Juan Soto (+650), Julio Rodriguez (+700), Ronald Acuna Jr. (+750), Corey Seager (+1200), Jose Ramirez (+1800), Albert Pujols (+2400)

Odds for each first-round matchup

No. 1 seed Kyle Schwarber (-350) vs. No. 8 seed Albert Pujols (+270)

No. 2 seed Pete Alonso (-200) vs. No. 7 seed Ronald Acuna Jr. (+170)

No. 3 seed Corey Seager (+140) vs. No. 6 seed Julio Rodriguez (-170)

No. 4 seed Juan Soto (-180) vs. No. 5 seed Jose Ramirez (+150)

Betting tips

Pick: Schwarber to make the finals (+130)

Schwarber has hit 29 homers on the season, the second-best mark in the league behind Aaron Judge. The Phillies signed him to a four-year, $79 million contract as a free agent for one specific reason: Schwarber can crush the ball. He has been impeccable. This is his second appearance in this contest after he made a run in 2018 with 55 total homers but lost to Bryce Harper in the final round. I think he will do well, getting past Pujols in the first round … and then past the winner of Soto/Ramirez, making it to the finals. — Erin Dolan

Pick: Soto to win (+650)

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I’m not going to pretend like I’ve dedicated an extensive amount of time handicapping this event. Plain and simple, betting on the Derby is an entertainment wager and nothing more. So with that in mind, I’ll take a shot with Soto.

I like his opening-round draw against Ramirez, who has hit just six home runs since June 1 and is a switch-hitter. Take note that switch-hitters fare poorly in this event, as only one switch-hitter has ever won the Derby (Ruben Sierra was co-winner in 1989). Soto has Derby experience after losing to Alonso (the eventual champion) by one dinger in the second round last year. The +650 implies a 13.3% chance of success, which I’m comfortable betting. — Joe Fortenbaugh

Pick: Ramirez to win (+1800)

While there are a ton of unknown factors when it comes to the Home Run Derby, in terms of raw power and how each hitter matches up with the park and weather, THE BAT X (my projection system that uses advanced methods like those used in MLB front offices, accounting for a variety of factors) predicts Ramirez ought to be priced in the middle of the pack rather than at the back. For his talent level, these are strong odds. — Derek Carty

Pick: Alonso to win (+190)

While many people zig and zag for the best value plays of the HR Derby, I am just going to take the guy who has won it the past two times it was played. Yes, Alonso is the favorite and yes, maybe I am biased as we are both Florida alums, but the guy knows how to win this event. He has taken down some of the best HR hitters during his two-year run, beating Acuna, Soto (both returning this year) and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

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The format has had many changes over the years, but the head-to-head bracket format favors Alonso, who has hit 32 more homers than anyone else in the history of the event. He will join Ken Griffey Jr. as the only three-time winner. — David Bearman

Pick: Pujols over 17.5 HR (-115)

Pujols is obviously the oldest and most likely to get tired, but at this point in his career, all he does is swing a bat. I actually think there is decent value on him to knock off Schwarber in the first round, but I won’t go that far. Bottom line, this is a really low threshold for Pujols to clear. He has participated in this event three times before, Dodger Stadium is more friendly to right-handed hitters, and Pujols played for Los Angeles last season, so he is familiar taking BP at this venue.

Pujols and the Cardinals did not play Sunday because of a rainout so he is about as well-rested as a 42-year-old can be at the break. Plus, with this being his swan song season, you know he’s going to want to put on a show. He has nothing to lose but to let it fly. — Tyler Fulghum

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