All-Star Game Preview
July 16, 2013
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For the longest time, the American League dominated MLB-All-Star Game betting to an almost laughable degree. They went 12-0-1 SU over a thirteen year period that stretched all the way back to 1997, and they usually won most games decisively. In the last three years, however, the National League has gone 3-0 SU winning the pivotal game by a combined score of 16-to-2. Is this shift in power for real?
Considering that the National League has also lifted the World Series championship for the last three years as well, I'd say that the answer to that rhetorical is a resounding "yes". Last year, the National League began a brilliant tone by ringing Justin Verlander's bell in the first inning and never letting up. This year they'll have to contend with his record setting teammate instead.
Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers is having the best season in the majors at 13-1 SU overall with a 3.19 ERA and a startling 0.98 WHIP. There's no doubt that the 28-year old pitcher is one of the best in the business, and until recently, he was making hand over fist for his backers. Overall, the Tigers are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games when Scherzer starts.
Battling Scherzer will be hometown hero Matt Harvey, who is having arguably the best year of any pitcher in the National League. He leads the league in strikeouts and ranks in the top-three when it comes to ERA, WHIP and opponent batting average. Harvey, who hails from Connecticut, is a sizzling starter for the Mets and is having an undeniably great season with a 7-2 SU record to boot. But is he starter worthy?
American League vs. National League
Tuesday, July 16th --- Citi Field, NY --- 8:15pm EST
All Star Game Betting Lines:
American: -104 / +1.5 -180
National: -106 /+1.5 +160
Don't ask Clayton Kershaw, the Dodgers' ace who has been vocal in his disapproval about Harvey being selected as the starter. Making the team is one thing, as we saw with Yasiel Puig, but it is slightly strange to have Harvey starting on the mound after just a few months of great baseball. It's even more intriguing when you realize that Harvey will be the first starter since Roger Clemens in 2004 to start an All-Star Game betting matchup in the city for which he plays. In fact, Harvey will become only the fifth pitcher to accomplish this feat since 1961. That's pretty awesome.
Kershaw, who has five years of experience and leads the National League in ERA and WHIP to go along with his 8-6 SU record as a starter, certainly has a bone to pick here. With guys like Puig being denied entry to the game, it's obvious that the All-Star Game is a privilege and not necessarily a reflection of the "best right now". In the American League there's no question that Scherzer deserves the start after a scintillating first half. Placing the All Star Game betting hopes of the NL on Harvey's inexperienced shoulders is a huge risk.
The key here is momentum and crowd backing. New York absolutely adores Harvey, and having him toe the rubber from the first inning will have the crowd lit on fire in what is usually not a heated affair between both sides.
Either batting order is worthy of your consideration with so many big names and heavy hitters donning the jerseys so I think this game is more even than most would believe. On paper, the American League has a "stronger" lineup but we've also said that for the last three years. If Harvey is able to use the crowd's ferocious excitement to his advantage, and set the National League up for a win in All Star Game betting, it's a move that is very well justified. If he somehow cripples the NL's ability to win home field advantage in the World Series, then it was the wrong one.
Sounds like a pretty big gamble right? Well that's the kind of ballsy decision I love in what amounts to more of a throwaway game on the schedule. You either go big or you go home…or you play the big gun at home and go for the glory. Either way, the NL seems all-in from the onset by selecting Harvey over Kershaw and while the Dodgers have another reason to be slightly miffed at the way the All-Star lineups are being managed, it's the right decision if it pays off.
The moneylines are tight in this one so the best bet might be the National League run line (-1.5 at +160). In a game that "doesn't really matter" for the most part, the National League tends to take things a bit more seriously which is why they're getting my vote in All-Star Game betting, and with a profitable runline I'm hoping that they continue to do what they've been doing for the past three years.