The 2023 MLB Home Run Derby is upon us in Seattle, with Julio Rodriguez coming in as the defending champion in his home ballpark. In what is going to be an exciting night, two-time Derby champion Pete Alonso is the favorite at +320. Here are our favorite picks to give you nonstop action throughout the night.
- Favorite Round 1 Upset: Adley Rutschman (+198)
On its face, this upset is hard to get behind. Luis Robert Jr. has been a monster for the White Sox this season. Belting 26 homers, Robert is the deserving No. 1 overall seed in this tournament, and obviously, that comes with lofty expectations. In the past five home run derbys, the eighth seed has defeated the number one seed in the opening round each year. Yes, arguments can be made why Adley Rutschman, a switch-hitting catcher that has only hit 12 homer runs, doesn’t stand a chance against Robert, but sometimes you have to read the trends for what they are. History shows that backing Adley is an incredible value at nearly 2-1 odds.
- Round 1 Parlay: Pete Alonso + Vlad Guerrero Jr. (+135)
Pete Alonso is up first as he’ll go up against Julio Rodriguez, who knocked him out in the second round of last season’s Home Run Derby. Alonso, who is raking as is with 26 homers on the season, has shown in recent years that he’s built for this contest. While Rodriguez will be a fun show in his home ballpark, he’s struggled this season. Only launching 13 homers this year, while he has shown to be successful in this contest, Alonso is the better slugger, a proven commodity, and seeking revenge.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has struggled this year like Rodriguez, but Vlad Jr. is a clear -215 round-one favorite over Mookie Betts, who is tied for second in the NL for home runs this season. Sometimes, you just got to read the line for what it is, and comparing how the books price Guerrero Jr in comparison to Rodriguez shows you all you need to know about their opponents. Vlad has the stature and builds to excel in this format, while Mookie’s small frame and lack of effortless power make sustainable endurance a question mark around him. Back Vlad here.
- Total Home Runs Hit: OVER 276.5 (-106)
It doesn’t need to be stated that this field is full of guys who can absolutely hit baseballs for miles, so we’re going to ride with the number of home runs in the entire tournament to go over the projected total of 276.5. Last season, we saw a total of 292 homers. In 2021, despite the festivities being held in Coors Field, there were 309 long balls. In 2019, with the derby not being held in 2020, contestants mashed 311 homers. Back the history, and back a bet that surely will be fun to root for.
- Favorite Longshot: Adolis Garcia (+700)
The four-five matchup between Adolis Garcia and Randy Arozarena could be the best matchup of the opening round, but it seems to be forgotten in the discussions. Both guys can mash, but I have more confidence in Garcia here, given his advantage in regular-season production. After that, I expect Garcia to take down the winner between Luis Robert Jr. and Adley Rutschman, as No. 1 seeds have struggled in recent years, and Adley is not considered a power hitter. Then, once you’re in the final round, anything can happen.
- Winner: Pete Alonso (+320)
Pete Alonso is the favorite here, and given his track record in this contest, it’s hard not to back him. At only +320 odds, the value is there, with an advantageous path. After he likely takes down Julio Rodriguez in the opening round, I expect Pete to defeat the winner of Betts and Guerrero, given the lack of confidence in Betts’s endurance and Guerrero’s regular season production, and make him a three-time Home Run Derby champion.
For added value, back the exact final outcome to be Pete Alonso over Adolis Garcia at +1300.
Stay ahead of the game and elevate your sports betting experience with SportsGrid.