Home Run Derby 2018 odds and players: Acclaimed MLB guru makes surprising picks

It's Home Run Derby day in the nation's capital. Eight sluggers will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, which starts at 8 p.m. ET on Monday at Nationals Park. The head-to-head format has batters face off against each other in timed competitions to see who can hit the most number of shots over the wall. Bryce Harper enters the Home Run Derby 2018 as the Vegas favorite at 11-4. Jesus Aguilar, Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman and Kyle Schwarber are all close behind at 6-1 Home Run Derby odds. Before you lock in any of your 2018 Home Run Derby picks, you'll want to see who SportsLine data engineer Mike McClure is backing.

And when it comes to MLB, McClure is at his best. He was recognized in the book "Fantasy Football (and Baseball) for Smart People: How to Turn Your Hobby into a Fortune" as a top MLB DFS player.

McClure has analyzed the Home Run Derby 2018 participants and locked in his picks, which he is sharing over at SportsLine.

We can tell you McClure isn't backing Brewers first baseman Jesus Aguilar, the Home Run Derby's top seed. Aguilar is tops in the NL with 24 home runs this season, including a whopping 10 in June alone. However, he has cooled off since, hitting just one dinger in his last seven games entering the All-Star break. The Brewers' first baseman had knocked 16 home runs in his entire MLB career entering this season. McClure sees much better value among the 2018 Home Run Derby participants than the 6-1 odds 2018 he's getting. 

Aguilar faces No. 8 seed Rhys Hoskins (11-2 Home Run Derby odds) of the Phillies in the first round on the left side of the Home Run Derby bracket. The winner will face whomever emerges from the battle between Houston's Alex Bregman (9-1), the No. 4 seed, and fifth-seeded and fellow longshot Kyle Schwarber (9-1) of the Cubs.

Harper, who finished second to Yoenis Cespedes in the 2013 Home Run Derby, is the No. 2 seed. He squares off against Freddie Freeman (11-2) of the Braves in the first round on the right side of the bracket. The winner of this match will face either third-seed Max Muncy (5-1) of the Dodgers or No. 6-seeded Javier Baez (6-1) of the Cubs, who meet in the other first-round match. 

McClure has locked in his pick to win as well as two long shots you need to jump on. One gets a dream hitting scenario at Nationals Park.

So who does McClure see smashing the most dingers and hoisting the trophy Monday night? Visit SportsLine now to see who to back for the Home Run Derby, and see what long shots stun MLB, all from an acclaimed MLB and DFS expert.

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