Regardless of how many balls were flying out during the All-Star Home Run Derby on Monday night, Citi Field typically is a difficult place to score runs.
And it’s not just because the offensively challenged Mets play there.
The biggest sluggers in the world will take a crack at the stadium tonight when the All-Star Game hits Queens, but not a lot of fireworks are expected.
Oddsmakers have set the run total at 8 despite the loaded lineups on both sides.
The Mets’ shiny new home is ranked as the worst offensive stadium in the majors this season, according to ESPN’s Park Factor.
Longtime baseball handicapper Dave Cokin of Smokincokin.com does not handicap all-star games, but is well-versed on the general factors in the game through his work during the season.
“It’s still going to be a pitchers’ park, but if you yank it down the line it can be good for the hitters,” Cokin said. “And in the gaps, you’re talking about singles turning into doubles and triples sometimes because it’s pretty spacious out there. It’s only a pitcher’s park because these guys psyche themselves out.
“I don’t think it’s the ballpark that could keep the game under, I think it might be the pitching. It doesn’t matter what park you’re in, if the pitching is good, it’s going to be low-scoring. We’ve seen these games played in bandboxes, and nothing happens because the pitching dominates, which it probably will here. The thing is, the total is low enough that two bad innings and the game shoots over, and that American League lineup is ridiculous.”
Recent results also indicate the under could be the correct side. The National League won 8-0 last season, which would have pushed this total. Prior to that, four straight games and five of six had fewer than eight runs.
That shutout last season also represented the third straight win for the NL after the AL’s unprecedented 12-0-1 run.
The NL is a slight favorite (minus-125) to continue its run of recent success.
“More leaning toward the park,” said Jimmy Vaccaro, director of public relations for William Hill sports books, said of why the NL is favored. “We were talking in the office that the game should be around a pick ’em if you look position by position and pitcher vs. pitcher.”
Vaccaro said William Hill books will post a menu of prop bets this morning. That’s the way many choose to bet the All-Star Game.
“It’s a weekend-warrior-type game. We haven’t taken any serious bet on the (side or total) and I imagine we won’t only because it is what it is. It’s a something-to-do type of deal.”
Vaccaro feels Bryce Harper will be a popular choice on prop bets, but Dodgers star Yasiel Puig really could have attracted the most action had he been included on the roster.
Props were posted at the LVH sports book Monday afternoon. One prop is whether there will be over or under 1½ home runs, with a shade to the over.
In addition to head-to-head player matchups, the LVH has numbers on whether players like Chris Davis or Miguel Cabrera will hit a home run.
Numbers also are available on total number of players to throw a pitch (19.5), total strikeouts (15.5) and combined runs, hits and errors by both teams (26.5).
Some serious bettors, like Cokin, prefer to skip the hardcore analysis of the game and view this as a break from the monotony that is baseball season.
“I think if you really want to break it down, there’s probably good advantage opportunities,” he said. “I just choose not to myself because I want the four days off to be honest with you. When you’re handicapping 162 baseball games per year for each team, a four-day break is actually a very welcome thing.”
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.