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2008 MLB All-Star Game Betting Odds, Picks and Predictions

July 15th, 2008
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After several nostalgic pre-game ceremonies take place on Tuesday night, featuring nearly 50 MLB Hall of Fame legends, the 2008 MLB All-Star game will get under way and figures to be another thrilling affair, though the National League hasn’t won the annual contest in 11 consecutive games, last winning the league ‘bragging rights’ contest back in 1996 by the score of 6-0.

The American League has won five straight since the two leagues played to an idiotic 7-7 tie that Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB powers that be insanely halted the game despite not having a winner.

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The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox lead the way for the American League with a whopping seven players getting selected to the game although beloved designated hitter David Ortiz will not play because of a wrist injury and catcher Jason Varitek probably shouldn’t have been voted in ahead of Chicago A.J. Pierzynski.

American League manager Terry Francona, (Boston Red Sox), will likely start commanding Yankees veteran closer Mariano Rivera while National League manager Clint Hurdle, (Colorado Rockies), is leaning toward starting Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs.

Rivera has 23 saves this season while Zambrano has the NL’s third best ERA and is pitching on five days’ rest as the game falls perfectly between starts for the Cubs’ staff ace.

“If he wants to start me for the All-Star Game, I would do it. It would be an honor for me,” said Zambrano who tossed one inning in the 2004 all-star game and was selected to the 2006 contest but did not appear.

Colorado Rockies outfielder Matt Holliday is a late switch for the National League team, replacing injured Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano.

Corey Hart of the Milwaukee Brewers and Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays were also added to each team from the fan’s vote for the All-Star game.’

The American League has gone an impressive 9-0-1 in the last ten all-star games, including the tie in 2002.

The game looks like a near ‘lock’ to go ‘Over’ the number of total runs as four of the last six all-star game have gone ‘Over’ the total as the teams combined to score 14 runs in 2002, 13 in 2003, 13 in 2004 and 12 in 2005. The 2006 game was a low-scoring affair that ended in a 3-2 game win for the American League, while the AL also added a one-run win last season, winning 5-4.

The NL has averaged just 3.8 runs per game while the AL has put up 6.2 per game during the last 11 matchups. The American League has also displayed much more power than their NL counterparts, bashing nine home runs in the last 11 all-star games compared to the NL’s three.

Here is a look at each team’s starting lineup and pitching staffs, followed by my analysis and Free MLB all-star game selection.

American League
Joe Mauer, C, MIN
Kevin Youkilis, 1B, BOS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B, BOS
Derek Jeter, SS, NYY
Alex Rodriguez, 3B, NYY
Josh Hamilton, OF, TEX
Manny Ramirez, OF, BOS
Ichiro Suzuki, OF, SEA
David Ortiz, DH, BOS

AL Pitchers: Justin Duchscherer (OAK), Roy Halladay (TOR), Scott Kazmir (TB), Cliff Lee (CLE), Joe Nathan (MIN), Jonathan Papelbon (BOS), Mariano Rivera (NYY), Francisco Rodriguez (LAA), Ervin Santana (LAA), Joe Saunders (LAA), George Sherrill (BAL), Joakim Soria (KC)

National League
Geovany Soto, C, CHC
Lance Berkman, 1B, HOU
Chase Utley, 2B, PHI
Hanley Ramirez, SS, FLA
Chipper Jones, 3B, ATL
Ryan Braun, OF, MIL
Kosuke Fukudome, OF, CHC
Alfonso Soriano, OF, CHC

NL Pitchers: Aaron Cook (COL), Ryan Dempster (CHC), Dan Haren (ARI), Brad Lidge (PHI), Tim Lincecum (SF), Ben Sheets (MIL), Edinson Volquez (CIN), Billy Wagner (NYM), Brandon Webb (ARI), Brian Wilson (SF), Kerry Wood (CHC), Carlos Zambrano (CHC)

Analysis: When I look at both team’s starting lineups and then their respective pitching staffs, I can see why the American League is favored to win tonight’s matchup. The fact of the matter is that the ‘junior’ circuit has a spectacular pitching staff and clearly more impressive and imposing batting order, led by the best player in all of baseball, New York Yankees’ third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

I like the AL to win this contest with their big bats, likely by smacking around some NL hurler in the late innings.

Despite the impressive collection of pitchers dotting both team’s respective rosters, I also like the Over in this matchup.

2008 MLB All-Star Game Free Betting Pick: American League and the ‘Over’