The Home Run Derby is making a comeback after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As usual, the competition is very open and bettors are licking their chops with the odds of some of these powerful hitters.
Shohei Ohtani is the only competitor to be in the top five among MLB home run leaders as of this writing, but there is still a lot of pop on the derby field this year. Mets slugger Pete Alonso is back to defend his 2019 title and players like Joey Gallo, Matt Olson and Salvador Perez will also fight for the title.
Of course, Ohtani is the biggest draw as his 32 home runs led the majors through July 8. But after watching the No. 1 seed retire in three consecutive events, can you trust Ohtani to win this year’s derby? Or are there better value picks that bettors can focus on?
Here’s an in-depth look at the odds and best bets from Sporting News for the 2021 Home Run Derby.
MORE: Who Turned Down the 2021 Home Run Derby Invitations?
2021 Home Run Derby odds
All odds courtesy of Sportsbook DraftKings
Eight players participate in the 2021 Home Run Derby, and Shohei Ohtani (+380) he is the favorite to emerge as the victor. Ohtani led the MLB with 32 home runs and a .700 slugging percentage through July 8.
Joey Gallo (+475), Pete Alonso (+550), Matt Olson (+650) Y Salvador Perez (+650) all are recorded with medium-level probabilities. Alonso, the No. 5 seed, is the only favorite lower-seeded player in their first-round matchup; He will face Pérez, seed number 4.
Trevor’s Story (+800), Juan Soto (+800) Y Trey Mancini (+850) all are considered long shots to win the event.
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Expert picks from the 2021 Home Run Derby
Top picks to win the 2021 Home Run Derby
Joey Gallo (+475) Gallo is in a favorable position heading into the 2021 Home Run Derby. He is the No. 2 seed on the field and has landed on what appears to be the easier side of the bracket. The Rangers star will face Trevor Story in Round 1 before taking on battle winner Matt Olson vs. Trey Mancini. Gallo should have an advantage over those three hitters.
Gallo has hit 23 home runs this season and is tied for the league lead in home runs without a doubt at 16, by BaseballSavant.com. The other players to reach that mark are Shohei Ohtani, Fernando Tatis Jr. and Mike Zunino. More impressive still, Gallo’s 69.6 home run percentage is undoubtedly sixth among players with at least 15 home runs on the year.
So when Gallo hits home runs, he throws them. Additionally, he has hit 10 home runs in his last 10 games. It’s taking shape at the right time and if it stays hot, it should have a great chance to win its side of the support. The final would be a bit tough regardless of who Gallo plays, but he can compete with anyone in this arena.
Pete Alonso (+550). Picking Alonso over Ohtani on the left side of the bracket is a risk, but as good as Ohtani has been, the numbers suggest that the 2019 Home Run Derby champion could challenge him.
Alonso has hit just 15 home runs so far this season, but like Gallo, they have been convincing. Undoubtedly, eleven of his 15 long balls have been home runs. Without a doubt, his 73.3 home run percentage ranks second among players with at least 15 home runs in the year and first among the eight derby entrants.
Additionally, Alonso’s exit velocity topped 117.1 this season. That’s the sixth-highest maximum exit velocity among MLB players, and it’s only behind Ohtani (119) among derby entrants for the lead in that category.
Although Alonso’s road to the final is overwhelming, he will have to beat Salvador Pérez and the winner of the Ohtani vs Juan Soto battle to get there, he is a good choice to win. His power and strength paint a favorable picture for him. So does his previous derby experience, as he hit 57 home runs during the 2019 event.
The best prop bets for the 2021 Home Run Derby
The best prop bets will be posted as they become available.
How many home runs will be hit in the 2021 Home Run Derby?
There are no total home run over / under props bets yet for the 2021 Home Run Derby, but when available, bettors will likely want to lean on the on.
Since the Home Run Derby changed formats from an outs-based competition to a time-based competition, players have hit a growing number of home runs almost every year. In fact, home runs have risen year-over-year in all but one of the last five events under the new rules.
The 2019 derby number was inflated by the 79-homer battle between Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Joc Pederson that took three tiebreaks to resolve. It could be difficult for the 2021 derby to eclipse the 311 figure without similar luck in the tiebreaker.
Still, the event should produce quite a few home runs and could hit 300 if all goes well. Coors Field is one of the most hitter-friendly environments in the league and MLB could choose to use juicy baseballs to create more home runs.
Either way, viewers can once again expect to see many long balls fly through the thin Denver air.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.