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MLB Opening Day Odds, Trends, Best Bets

Baseball fans rejoice because Opening Day is here! Fans were given a small taste of the 2019 season with the two-game set in Japan last week featuring the Oakland A’s and Seattle Mariners. Opening Day is special though, with every fan’s team playing. There can be hope found for every fan base regardless of what the expectation is. I will be binge watching baseball all day today and I know that plenty of you will too! Opening Day can create some irresistible pitching matchups with plenty of aces ready to roll. This year is quite rare, as it’s the first time in 40 years that the 1-2 finishers in Cy Young Award voting will face each other — and it’s happening in both leagues! Let’s look at some of these matchups that kick off 2019.

 

New York Mets @ Washington Nationals 1:00PM/EST

Jacob deGrom vs. Max Scherzer

Moneyline: Mets +115/Nationals -135

Spread: Mets +1.5 (-200)/Nationals -1.5 (+170)

Total Runs: Over 6.5 (-110)/Under 6.5 (-110)

 

Here’s one of the Cy Young matches that I referred to above. Jacob deGrom earned the award after a remarkable season. Max Scherzer’s attempt at three straight Cy Young awards was cut short. Scherzer would enjoy defeating deGrom in the opener, attempting to ease the D.C. fanbase’s disappointment of losing Bryce Harper in the offseason. The Nationals have the edge with their offense in this one. The Mets did improve their offense since last season with the addition of Jed Lowrie, but Yoenis Cespedes continues to recover from heel surgeries (as if he has been much of a factor at all since 2016).

Early on in the season managers like to spare their pitchers from long outings. This could be a higher scoring game because the bullpen might get more action. The over on runs seems like a good bet. This is projected to be a tight game, and the spread is worthwhile if you choose the Nationals to win by 2 or more. Scherzer went 1-1 in his two matches with the Mets last season with an ERA of 3.86. He allowed 4 homers in those 14 innings. DeGrom went 2-0 in three matches with the Nationals last season (two on the road) with an ERA of 2.21. Something else that bodes well for deGrom is that Bryce Harper is no longer in the Washington lineup. Harper owned him in his career going 10-31 (.323). It’s hard to bet against Scherzer at home, but this matchup could go either way. The Mets’ moneyline is intriguing.

 

St. Louis Cardinals @ Milwaukee Brewers 2:10PM/EST

Miles Mikolas vs. Jhoulys Chacin

Moneyline: Cardinals -110/Brewers -110

Spread: Cardinals +1.5 (-225)/Brewers -1.5 (+185)

Total Runs: Over 8.5 (-110)/Under 8.5 (-110)

 

The Brewers are fresh off winning the NL Central as they look to make a deeper run in the playoffs in 2019. The Cardinals made a huge move in the offseason to acquire MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt and they signed him to a contract extension soon after. Both Mikolas and Chacin had great 2018 seasons, but neither can be considered a true ace.

Double digit runs seem very possible in this one. Last season the Cardinals and Brewers finished 11th and 12th respectively in runs scored. Chacin had an ERA of 5.96 in 5 starts (25.2 innings) against St. Louis. Mikolas went 3-0 in 4 starts against Milwaukee last season and two of those wins were on the road. Milwaukee has a fine bullpen filled with arms that dominate, but they may be without Corey Knebel and Jeremy Jeffress to open the season. The Cardinals added to their marginal 2018 bullpen by signing Andrew Miller. The spread is set fairly with this starting pitching matchup and I would support betting on either.

 

 

Atlanta Braves @ Philadelphia Phillies 3:05PM/EST

Julio Teheran vs. Aaron Nola

Moneyline: Braves +170/Phillies -200

Spread: Braves +1.5 (-125)/Phillies -1.5 (+105)

Total Runs: Over 8 (-115)/Under 8 (-105)

 

Julio Teheran will make his 6th consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves, but the tomahawk chops in Atlanta will all be from home for this one. Phillies fans can’t wait to erupt for the 2019 home opener after adding Bryce Harper in free agency. They also acquired Jean Segura in a trade. The club continues to grow from within and ace arm Aaron Nola is legitimate. Nola is the reason the Phillies are favored in this one, owning a 2.3 ERA in 5 starts against Atlanta last season.

The Phillies are clear favorites in this one. Atlanta has a young budding team as well, with youngsters Ronald Acuna and Ozzie Albies set to get on base for Freddie Freeman. Josh Donaldson was added on a lucrative one year deal to provide Freeman with protection and overall depth. The offenses are great in this matchup and so are the defenses. The struggle in this one could be Teheran who posted a 5.14 ERA against Philly last season. I most like the over in this one.

 

Houston Astros @ Tampa Bay Rays 4:00PM/EST

Justin Verlander vs. Blake Snell

Moneyline: Astros -140/Rays +120

Spread: Astros -1.5 (+130)/Rays +1.5 (-150)

Total Runs: Over 6.5 (-115)/Under 6.5 (-105)

 

Here’s Cy match number two! Blake Snell had a ridiculous season in one of the toughest divisions in baseball in 2018 earning himself his first Cy Young Award. Justin Verlander finished 2nd in the voting, polishing off a fantastic season for anyone his age. The Houston offense ranked 6th overall last season and Tampa’s finished 16th. Snell was able to win more games than Verlander, somehow.

Snell had a 1.27 ERA at home last season, and he also had a 1.26 ERA in 2 starts against the Astros overall in 2018. Verlander was surprisingly bad against Tampa last season sporting a 4.63 ERA in two outings. The Rays are very tough to beat with Snell on the bump. Starting pitchers don’t throw very deep in games this early in the season and that makes for the over bets being nice.

 

Cleveland Indians @ Minnesota Twins 4:10PM/EST

Corey Kluber vs. Jose Berrios

Moneyline: Indians -115/Twins -105

Spread: Indians -1.5 (+145)/Twins +1.5 (-170)

Total Runs: Over 7.5 (+100)/Under 7.5 (-120)

 

Here we have another wonderful pitching matchup. Corey Kluber has been one of the game’s best in recent years and Jose Berrios is one of the new up comers that’s expected to have a breakout season. Kluber wasn’t amazing on the road last season, posting a 3.8 ERA in 16 starts. He still managed a 9-4 record thanks to the Indians strong offense. The Twins are clear underdogs in this one, and I would take the Indians regularly in this spot, but Kluber was also roughed up by the Twins dismal offense last season. In 3 starts vs. the Twins last season Kluber had a 4.34 ERA. Berrios wasn’t much better against Cleveland, posting a 4.24 ERA in 3 games against the tribe. The Indians should power through this one, and the over seems like a good bet considering the payout and considering both pitchers’ negative attributes from 2018 against each other. For what it’s worth, the Indians also lost valuable relief arms Andrew Miller and Cody Allen.

 

 

Arizona Diamondbacks @ Los Angeles Dodgers 4:10PM/EST

Zack Greinke vs. Hyun-jin Ryu

Moneyline: Diamondbacks +140/Dodgers -165

Spread: Diamondbacks +1.5 (-160)/Dodgers -1.5 (+135)

Total Runs: Over 7.5 (+105)/Under 7.5 (-125)

 

Here’s a bit of a lop sided match. The Dodgers are far ahead of the rebuilding Diamondbacks. Arizona lost A.J. Pollock and Patrick Corbin in free agency this offseason and also traded away their best player in Paul Goldschmidt. The Dodgers are back as division favorites. Clayton Kershaw isn’t quite ready to go this season, so Hyun-jin Ryu will take the ball for game one of 2019. Ryu was very good last season in his 82.1 innings posting a 1.97 ERA. He wasn’t amazing vs. Arizona last season, but like I mentioned earlier, their offense is depleted. I like the spread bet for the Dodgers in this one. The Dodgers should handle this one easily, even if Zack Greinke lasts 5 or 6 innings and does well. Greinke had a 3.86 ERA against the Dodgers last season and Arizona won 3 of the 4 games. This stat seems a bit like false hope at this point.

 

 

Colorado Rockies @ Miami Marlins 4:10PM/EST

Kyle Freeland vs. Jose Urena

Moneyline: Rockies -145/Marlins +125

Spread: Rockies -1.5 (+110)/Marlins +1.5 (-130)

Total Runs: Over 7.5 (-115)/Under 7.5 (-105)

 

Miami finished last in offensive production in 2019. They are fully rebuilding since the new ownership recently took over. It’s hard to imagine them winning many games this season. Fans should look forward to more losing while their prospects mature, and that’s okay! Jose Urena was surprisingly great in his one outing against Colorado last season, allowing 1 run in 7 innings. The Marlins still blew the game, as was the case for most of 2018. The Rockies had the 7th best offense in baseball last season, and they could produce above the over on their own. I like the Rockies odds of covering the spread here too. D.J. LeMahieu has moved on from the Rockies and they replaced him by signing Daniel Murphy. This offense will continue to mash behind Charlie Blackmon and Nolan Arenado. Kyle Freeland throws in this one, and he was fantastic last season. Freeland posted a 2.85 ERA in 2018 which was the second lowest ERA in Rockies history. His ERA was actually better at home. It’s hard to bet against the Rockies in this one.

 

 

Boston Red Sox @ Seattle Mariners 7:10PM/EST

Chris Sale vs. Marco Gonzales

Moneyline: Red Sox -210/Mariners +175

Spread: Red Sox -1.5 (-120)/Mariners +1.5 (+100)

Total Runs: Over 7 (-110)/Under 7 (-110)

 

Marco Gonzales arrives on opening day already with a win under his belt from the Japan series. He had a 3.66 ERA at home last season as opposed to 4.33 on the road. He had one outing against Boston last season and it was ugly. He allowed 5 runs in 6 innings. The Mariners are rebuilding now too, having traded away James Paxton, Jean Segura, and Robinson Cano. They didn’t re-sign Nelson Cruz either. Seattle is a clear underdog here. The Red Sox were one of the best clubs in baseball last season, obviously having won a championship. They are one of the best offenses in baseball, and that over bet is glaring right now. Chris Sale is deadly when healthy. In his lone start against Seattle in 2018 he went 7 shut out innings. Anything can happen any given game, and that’s the beauty in baseball, but odd things happen early in the season when players are still trying to find their rhythm.

 

 

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