Could National League break a spell tonight?

Sports

DENVER (KDVR) — The National League doesn’t have a great track record lately, but sportsbooks say maybe they could break a decade-long losing streak.

Draftkings lists the National League to win at -117 odds,- not a heavy favorite, but a favorite all the same. Draftkings Director of Race and Sportsbook, Johnny Avello, said starting pitcher Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals is the biggest tip in the scales.

“We don’t know how long Scherzer will go, but he’s a quality pitcher, one of the best the game has ever seen,” said Avello. “So if he goes one or two innings, you’d hope he shuts them down and gets them a little bit of an edge. After that the handicap is out the window.”

Bettors are still banking on Coors Field delivering some hits. Avello said bettors are predicting upwards of 11 runs this game – a little more action-packed that the league average of eight or so runs per game. Aside from the moneyline and game bets, people are wagering on more nuanced lines where they’re more likely to get paid: runs in the first inning, runs by league, first to score or who gets more runs first.

With Coors Fields’ thin-air dingers over 500 feet at last night’s Home Run Derby, fans are also banking on larger overall run totals.

“There was a (Coors Field) game back in ’98,” he said. “There weren’t any runs, but there was a lot of hitting going on in the first innings. The total on this game is 11. The average is eight, maybe 8.5. The feeling is there’s gonna be some runs scored here, and some of these runs are gonna be moon shots. That’s what others are thinking.”

It would only add to the excitement if National League pulled out of a historic slump.

Since 1933, both leagues have won nearly equal numbers of All-Star Games: 43 for American League, 45 for National League.

That isn’t a year-to-year pattern, though. The history of the All-Star Game is the history of decades-long lopsided dominance.

The first 25 years of the game were roughly equal in terms of winners, but between 1950 and 1982 the All-Star Game was almost entirely National League. American League teams only won four times during that stretch.

The script flipped, and and in the nearly 30 years since then the National League has only won nine games.

Schezer’s pitching matters more than any other factor, especially considering how little the actual location matters. Historically, there’s no connection between American League vs. National League venues. In the All-Star Game, there isn’t such a thing as homefield advantage.

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