The Home Run Derby is a yearly MLB home run-hitting competition that takes place the day before the MLB All-Star Game. The venue changes each year, but you can always count on a ton of skyscraping, 400+ foot home runs.
Now that legal sportsbooks have arrived in Ohio, you can also bet on it directly from your couch. Here’s how to bet on the Home Run Derby at legal Ohio sportsbooks.
Odds to win Home Run Derby
When the participants have been announced, you’ll see odds for the upcoming Home Run Derby below:
How to bet on the Home Run Derby in Ohio
Putting all the stats aside, you may be wondering what your Home Run Derby betting options are. The good news is that there tend to be multiple bets you can place, and with the availability of prop bets, some books will give you the freedom to choose and create your own bets. Here are two books that tend to offer several options:
- DraftKings Sportsbook OH: DraftKings offers a variety of baseball bets on its state-of-the-art app. Aside from the Home Run Derby, you can bet on other All-Star events and MLB futures.
- Caesars Sportsbook OH: Caesars has been in the gambling business for years, and its sportsbook has all the top sports and leagues, including a variety of popular MLB bets.
Here are some examples of Home Run Derby bets that are usually available. These can fill the void created by the All-star break and not being able to bet on the Cincinnati Reds. You can place most of the above Home Run Derby prop bets at DraftKings, Caesars, and likely other sportsbooks, as well. To do so, just open the app and navigate to the Home Run Derby prop section:
The most obvious bet that you can place is on the competition’s outright winner. This is a straightforward wager. You just need to pick the player who you think is going to win. For example, Pete Alonso’s odds of winning the 2021 competition were +500 on DraftKings. So if you had placed a $100 wager on him, you would have won $500.
To make the finals
For this bet, your pick doesn’t need to win the competition; he just needs to make the finals. If that happens, you’ve won your bet, regardless of how your pick does in the finals.
Length of longest home run
For this over/under bet, the sportsbook will set a specific length, and it’s up to you to decide whether the derby’s longest homer will be over or under that line. Here’s how the betting odds and lines for 2021’s longest home run may have looked heading into the competition:
Longest home run:
|Over 519.5 feet||(-110)|
|Under 519.5 feet||(-110)|
Juan Soto hit the derby’s longest homer at 520 feet. So if you had bet on the over at those numbers, you would have won your bet. You can also back a specific player to hit the longest home run.
League of winning player
Will the winner of the derby be from the American League or the National League? This can be a good betting option if you fancy several players from a certain league. Your focus isn’t necessarily on a specific player to win the competition, but whether the winner is from the league that you’ve chosen.
Left-handed or right-handed winner?
Instead of choosing a player’s league, you can choose to bet on the handedness of the winner. DraftKings is one such sportsbook that offers this prop.
Home Run Derby hopefuls
Based on past home run-hitting prowess — both in derbies and in the regular season — here are a few Home Run Derby hopefuls who may be worth keeping an eye on:
- Pete Alonso: Alonso is a two-time derby champ, winning the contest both of the years that he’s been in the league and the derby has taken place. His 53 regular-season homers in 2019 broke the MLB rookie record.
- Shohei Ohtani: Ohtani is not only a fan favorite, but he also can hit his homers hard, which is a pretty handy trait in the derby. He entered his first derby in 2021 as the undisputed favorite but was eliminated in the first round. However, given his popularity and skill, he’s likely to compete in a few more derbies in his career.
- Aaron Judge: Judge won the derby in 2017, his rookie year. He was so good in his debut season that he almost won the AL MVP award, as well.
Recent Home Run Derby winners
Here are the winners of the past five derbies. Note that the derby did not take place in 2020 due to the pandemic:
|Year||Winner||Total Home Runs||Team||League|
|2021||Pete Alonso||74||New York Mets||National|
|2019||Pete Alonso||57||New York Mets||National|
|2018||Bryce Harper||45||Washington Nationals||National|
|2017||Aaron Judge||47||New York Yankees||American|
|2016||Giancarlo Stanton||61||Miami Marlins||National|
Home Run Derby history
Like many things in American culture, the Home Run Derby was actually inspired by a television show. The competition’s muse was a show called “Home Run Derby” that aired in the ’60s. However, an actual MLB derby didn’t take place until the mid-1980s.
The first-ever All-Star Home Run Derby took place in 1985, but it barely gained any recognition or TV coverage. The event took place at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, which at the time was the shared home of the Minnesota Twins and the Minnesota Vikings. Dave Parker of the Cincinnati Reds won that inaugural derby.
From that humble start, the derby began evolving. With a change in format in the early ’90s, it began drawing more interest, but the competition still wasn’t televised until 1993 when ESPN got involved. That year was a crucial one for the Home Run Derby. Though ESPN taped the event and didn’t broadcast it live, the actual contest had a lot of drama. That helped to spread awareness and pull more fans and viewers in.
Other significant derbies in the 1990s, such as Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds’ duel in 1996, helped to raise the competition’s profile and bring in more viewers. Finally, in 1998, it became a live event. The Home Run Derby has undergone other changes in the years since, but it’s remained a staple of summer sports viewing.
Home Run Derby stats
While the Home Run Derby has a relaxed and fun atmosphere, it is still a contest that the participants are trying to win, and past history and results may help indicate who has a better chance of doing so. Obviously, if a player has performed well in recent Home Run Derbies, that can be someone to keep an eye on.
Hard hitters have also tended to excel, which we can see now that we have numbers to quantify which players hit the ball the hardest. From 2015 to 2019, a player with the hardest-hit home runs before the All-Star break went all the way to the finals of the Home Run Derby.
Out of those five finals, a league’s hardest hitter emerged victorious on three occasions: Giancarlo Stanton in 2016, Aaron Judge in 2017, and Pete Alonso in 2019. So keeping an eye on players with high hard-hit rates during the first half of the season could be helpful.
Another thing to consider is how a player is performing heading into the break. Sometimes the hot hand can carry that momentum through to the derby. And on the flip side, even if a player has a large number of dingers on the season, if he hasn’t hit many lately, that may be something to keep an eye on.
Location matters, of course. Some parks favor either left-handed or right-handed hitters. There are other biases that certain ballparks offer, as well, so studying up on where the game (and the derby) will take place could give you an edge.
Hitters choose their own pitchers, and this may also be something to take into consideration. Many players usually go for the safe route and choose a coach from their team who regularly pitches batting practice to them. Others, though, may opt for more sentimental picks.
In 2008, Josh Hamilton chose his former American Legion coach, 71-year-old Clay Council, to pitch to him, which was an obviously emotional pick. If anything, though, it helped him out as Hamilton hit a memorable 28 homers in the first round on route to an appearance in the finals.