If you follow Major League Baseball in any way, you’re well aware of the Home Run Derby. The event, a summer fixture, takes place in conjunction with the MLB All-Star Game.
There’s something special about watching batters slug baseballs right out of the park. The sound of the bat cracking, the trajectory of the ball as it sails into the sky — for many baseball fans, there are few moments as fun as that. The Home Run Derby gives us an onslaught of dingers, and you, as a sports bettor, can get in on the action outside of just being a casual observer.
This short guide on how to bet on the Home Run Derby in Arizona will help you out with odds, tips and pertinent information.
Best AZ sportsbooks for Home Run Derby odds
Home Run Derby competitors
The full list of who will be competing remains in flux, but Los Angeles Angels standout Shohei Ohtani has already stated he will be swinging the bat in the 2021 Home Run Derby. Defending derby champ Pete Alonso has also said he is in, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has said he plans to miss the event to stay fresh. As more players make their decisions, we’ll update them here.
When is the Home Run Derby?
The MLB Home Run Derby takes place annually as part of the All-Star break festivities. First held in 1985, it has evolved into a must-see event on the summer sports calendar with broadcast coverage provided by ESPN.
The MLB All-Star Game is typically held on a Tuesday in early- to mid-July. The derby generally takes place the evening before. The start time is usually set for primetime hours on the East Coast.
The derby brings together the game’s best sluggers from both the AL and NL. For the most recent edition, there were eight of MLB’s top stars squaring off in a single-elimination bracket tournament with $2.5 million in prizes at stake and a cool $1 million to the winner.
What determines the Home Run Derby winner?
The Home Run Derby has been mostly the same since 2015. In the 30 years before that, leading back to the first derby in 1985, the rules changed quite a bit before settling on the current format.
Based on the seeds they receive, players face off head-to-head to determine who will advance. Each batter gets five minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner moves to the next round until just the champion remains.
If there is a tie between head-to-head players, then a series of tie-breakers occur. First, the players have a 90-second swing-off. If that doesn’t determine a winner, then they move to a best-of-three swing-off. Still not decided? Well, now a sudden death swing-off occurs until one or the other wins.
There are a couple of cool little twists to the derby, too. If a player hits two homers that travel 440 feet or longer in a single round, he receives 30 seconds of additional time in that round.
In the rounds leading up to the finals, each batter can take one timeout that lasts 45 seconds. In the final round, the players each receive two timeouts of 45 seconds and 30 seconds.
How to bet on the Home Run Derby in Arizona
If you’re interested in making some wagers on the Home Run Derby, you’re in luck because the majority of online betting sites in Arizona are going to have bets on the event.
However, this isn’t like usual betting on a baseball game. Whereas you can normally do all the research you need to dig deep into the potential outcome of a contest, the derby is a different beast altogether.
In fact, since the 2010 event, only two of the odds-on favorites have taken home the title. That was in 2016 when Giancarlo Stanton took the top spot, and again in 2019 with Bryce Harper.
All the batters who step up to the derby plate received an invite for one reason alone — they are darned good at knocking baseballs out of the park. As a bettor, you need to take into consideration any recent injuries, the most recent trends of each hitter, how well they do in creating long stretches of quality hits and how well the players do in the park where the derby is taking place, especially if one of the participants is on his home field.
You’ll want to closely examine each player to try to give yourself the best chance possible, but keep in mind that any one of these players can win the event on any given day.
Past home run derby winners
The Home Run Derby has been taking place as part of All-Star Game festivities since 1985, and in that time some of the biggest names in the game have taken home the title.
Here’s every player to win the MLB Home Run Derby since 1985:
|1985||Dave Parker||Cincinnati Reds||1986||Wally Joyner|
New York Mets
|1987||Andre Dawson||Chicago Cubs||1988||Canceled Due to Rain|
|1990||Ryne Sandberg||Chicago Cubs|
|1991||Cal Ripken Jr.||Baltimore Orioles||1992||Mark McGwire||Oakland Athletics|
|1993||Juan Ganzalez||Texas Rangers||1994||Ken Griffey Jr.||Seattle Mariners|
|1995||Frank Thomas||Chicago White Sox||1996||Barry Bonds||San Francisco Giants|
|1997||Tino Martinez||New York Yankees||1998||Ken Griffey Jr.||Seattle Mariners|
|1999||Ken Griffey Jr.||Seattle Mariners||2000||Sammy Sosa||Chicago Cubs|
|2001||Luis Gonzalez||Arizona Diamondbacks||2002||Jason Giambi||New York Yankees|
|2003||Garret Anderson||Anaheim Angels||2004||Miguel Tejada||Baltimore Orioles|
|2005||Bobby Abreu||Philadelphia Phillies||2006||Ryan Howard||Philadelphia Phillies|
|2007||Vladimir Guerrero||Los Angeles Angels||2008||Justin Morneau||Minnesota Twins|
|2009||Prince Fielder||Milwaukee Brewers||2010||David Ortiz||Boston Red Sox|
|2011||Robinson Cano||New York Yankees||2012||Prince Fielder||Detroit Tigers|
|2013||Yoenis Cespedes||Oakland Athletics||2014||Yoenis Cespedes||Oakland Athletics|
|2015||Todd Frazier||Cincinnati Reds||2016||Giancarlo Stanton||Miami Marlins|
|2017||Aaron Judge||New York Yankees||2018||Bryce Harper||Washington Nationals|
|2019||Pete Alonso||New York Mets||2020||Canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic|
Home Run Derby FAQ
Who chooses players to compete in the home run derby?
The defending champion receives an automatic invitation, and the remaining seven receive invites based on their home run performances throughout the season before the All-Star break.
Who pitches to the hitters at the home run derby?
Each batter who gets invited gets to choose his own pitcher. Some pick family members, others pick teammates and some pick coaches.
How fast are they throwing the ball?
In a regular game, batters face pitches that can reach and exceed 100 miles per hour. In the Home Run Derby, the pitches travel at a much slower pace, between 50 and 60 miles per hour on average.
How much are home run derby tickets?
Depending on where you are planning on sitting to watch the event, tickets typically range from just below $200 and up to nearly $2,000.
Who holds the home run derby record?
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. holds the record for the most home runs in a single derby, hitting 91 over four rounds in 2019. He lost in the championship round to Pete Alonso, 23-22. The previous record was by Giancarlo Stanton, who hit 61 in 2016.