The best bets to make for MLB’s Home Run Derby

What’s up, everybody? Tyler Sullivan here and I’ll be filling in for our pal Tom Fornelli today in what is set to be one of the slower days on the sports calendar that we’ve seen in quite some time. I guess this was bound to happen after all the jam-packed action we’ve received over the last few weeks, especially this past weekend.

I’ll be honest, however. It was a conflicting couple of sports days for my heritage. While my fellow Irishman, Conor McGregor, fell in his bout with Dustin Poirier (I didn’t know ankles could bend that way 😬), the 25% Italian in me was beaming after Italy was able to knock off England and become UEFA Euro champions. Clearly, the fact that my family tree heads back to the old country, there’s no way I can be called a bandwagoner, right?

Anyways, with the sports world seemingly taking the day off alongside Fornelli, we’re going to dive into the MLB’s Home Run Derby that is set to be Monday’s main event. Before we start practicing our “Back, back, back, back” calls for tonight, however, let’s take a look at what’s making headlines. 

OK, now let’s see who has the best chance of going deep and taking home some hardware.

All times Eastern, and all odds via William Hill Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

Major League Baseball Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. | TV:  ESPN
The Pick: Joey Gallo to win
(+450): It’s no surprise that Shohei Ohtani (+300) is the betting favorite to win the derby on Monday night. After all, the Angels superstar is going to have himself quite the All-Star break. He’s not only set to compete in this competition, but he’s also going to bat leadoff and take the mound as the starting pitcher tomorrow night. Ohtani also leads the major in home runs, which is pretty much the name of the game here and why he’s the No. 1 seed in the derby.

That said, since this current bracket format has been adopted (2015), the top seed has yet to reach the finals. He’ll first square up against Juan Soto, who is no slouch at the plate. While many may flock to Ohtani, Joey Gallo is the most intriguing pick for my money. He’s not far off from Ohtani with 24 bombs at the break and is currently white-hot at the plate. In his previous 12 games heading into the break, Gallo has hit 11 home runs with a .378 average. So long as that play bleeds into this event, I expect Gallo — the No. 2 seed in this event — to set off some fireworks. 

Key Trend: The No. 2 seed has reached the Home Run Derby finals in four of the five years the bracket format has been in place. 

Here’s what SportsLine is saying about the game: Matt Severance is SportsLine’s top MLB expert and is a whopping 100-46-4 in his last 150 MLB picks. For this Home Run Derby, he’s identified someone who is “built for this event.”

⚾ Home Run Derby prop bet special

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Player to hit the longest home run at 2021 Home Run Derby: Shohei Ohtani (+400) — While Ohtani may not be my pick to win the entire competition, he’ll likely still make some headlines by hitting at least one homer that scratches the surface of the moon. The MLB’s current home run leader hits the ball harder than any one of the sluggers in this derby, giving him a great chance to send one further than anyone else, especially in the thin Denver air.

The longest Home Run Derby homer in the Statcast era is held by Aaron Judge in 2017 when he sent one 513 feet at Marlins Park. Given that Coors Field is known to be a launching pad, it wouldn’t shock me if Ohtani makes history at some point tonight, making the Over of 510.5 feet (-135) an interesting play as well.