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Home Run Derby Odds

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This is the last week of MLB action before the All-Star game next week; a great time of rest and relaxation for the players and their families. The break also gives bettors time to recharge their own engines with very little going on elsewhere in the sporting world, but that doesn't mean they still can't get down on the Home Run Derby or All-Star game itself. Here's an early look at both of those lines:

HR Derby Odds

David Wright (+800) is the captain for the NL team and he named Bryce Harper (+450), Carlos Gonzalez (+600), and Michael Cuddyer (+800) as his teammates for the event. A NL player hasn't won the Derby since Prince Fielder did it back in 2009 when he was with the Brewers and only three winners since 2002 have come from the senior circuit. Given that Bryce Harper is the only one listed with odds that are lower than any AL player, oddsmakers believe that NL drought will continue. I have to say, it's tough to argue with them.

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Robinson Cano (+500)
is the AL captain and having won this event in 2011 he knows a bit about claiming the title. None of the NL guys have ever won this event and Cano and his team have got three victories under their belt with Prince Fielder (+350) having the other two. HR leader Chris Davis (+350) and a yet to be named player (+500) round out the AL team and I believe you are going to see one of these four take home the title on Monday night.

For one, that unnamed player is rumored to be Miguel Cabrera if his health (back) is well otherwise it will likely be Toronto's Jose Bautista. Either slugger is an excellent choice at the (+500) odds and given the uncertainty of the identity at the moment, I think you should jump on "the field" at +500 sooner than later. Don't be surprised to see those odds decrease a bit if that final player is one of those two guys.

For early picks I would suggest taking that "field" (+500) option in the AL as well as Cano (+500). I think it will be tough for Fielder to win it again as only one guy has ever won this thing back-to-back (Ken Griffey Jr (1998-99) and rarely does the league leader in HR's (Davis) walk away with the trophy.

In the NL I think the only option worth backing here is Carlos Gonzalez (+600) as his raw power and familiarity with the stadium will help him. He has tremendous opposite field power and as long as he is completely healthy when it starts, his experience in the event should allow him to make a strong run at it.

All-Star game odds

With both teams listed at -110 and the total set at 8 runs, you've got to wonder where the value is. The National League has won three straight ASG's and each of those wins has earned them home field advantage in the World Series which was subsequently parlayed into a championship. Of those three crowns, the biggest edge the NL got from having Games 6 and 7 at home was when St Louis won it all in 2011 and needed that miraculous comeback in Game 6 against Texas. This ASG means a lot to these players because of what's at stake and don't think the AL has forgotten about it.

The American League hadn't lost a single ASG from 1997-2009 and since home field in the World Series was on the line in 2003, the AL translated that all-star success into four wins in the seven years they won it. You've got to believe that getting shutout in last year's contest (8-0) and scoring only 1 run in the previous two has left a bit of a scar in that AL dugout and their sluggers come out aggressive in this one.

I expect the AL to find a way to get the job done this year and regain that home field advantage in October.

  
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