For baseball fans, it is the most wonderful time of the year. The weather is getting warmer, the sun is staying up longer and MLB starts on April 7.
With the season set for Thursday afternoon, first game at 1:05 p.m. EST, there are nine games to dissect. Here at sportsbetting3.com, we break down each game, give the favorites and advise what to pick for these games.
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Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
The season begins with arguably the most notorious rivalry in sports, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
With the game being in the small Yankee Stadium, this could be a high-scoring contest between two of the better offenses.
Despite a team batting average (BA) of .237, New York placed ninth in on base percentage (OBP) with .322. But the Red Sox bested its’ rival in BA and OBP with .261 and .328 respectively.
On paper, Boston possesses a more solid lineup that does not strike out nearly as much as the opposition. Ranked No. 11 in 2021, Boston whiffed a lot less than New York who ranked 25.
Nathan Eovaldi is starting for Boston, and the only hitters with success against him is Aaron Judge and DJ LeMahieu. Both combined for 16-for-29. As these are the Yankees’ top hitters, it could mean almost instant offense.
Take the over on runs and bet Boston to win outright.
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
The starting pitchers have yet to be decided, but the Brewers can roll out Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes or Freddy Peralta. All of these pitchers are clear favorites over anyone Chicago puts on the mound.
Another factor is the wind,and how this changes Wrigley Field from a hitter-friendly park to pitcher-friendly. Obviously, wind blowing out favors hitters, wind blowing in favors pitchers.
With a team gutted at the 2021 trade deadline, Chicago’s offense is depleted of a ton of power, and it will be interesting to see how this Cubs team plays.
The Brewers offense hinges on the health and success of Christian Yelich. If the outfielder performs like he did in 2018 and 19, then this could propel Milwaukee. If not it may be a struggle for Milwaukee to get runs. The Brew Crew added Hunter Renfroe as a solid hitter. Also, Willy Adames hit .285 with 20 home runs and 58 RBIs in his 99 games with the Brewers.
Play this by the wind, if it’s out then go for the over, if no wind or wind blowing in, go under and bet Milwaukee because Woodruff, Burns or Peralta should carve this Cubs team up.
New York Mets at Washington Nationals
This analysis is simple. The Mets have Jacob deGrom pitching and no one ever expects an offense to score a lot off him.
Juan Soto and Nelson Cruz are the only offensive threats deGrom should be slightly concerned about. But if he dominates like usual and like he is in Spring Training, then the New York ace should cruise.
With no real offense to speak of in this game, under on runs and favor the Mets because deGrom.
Cleveland Guardians at Kansas City Royals
The Guardians are expected to use Shane Bieber for Opening Day. It is worth monitoring how Bieber performs after a right shoulder strain caused him to miss most of the 2021 season.
While Kansas City is not the most fearsome lineup, it does not strike out a ton with the third fewest in the league. The .249 BA is respectable, but the .309 OBP ranked KC near the bottom of the league in that category.
This games feels like a low-scoring affair, and being Kauffman Stadium, it will favor the pitching more. Go with the under and pick the Guardians.
Seattle Mariners at Minnesota Twins
Carolos Correa is a Twin, Jesse Winker is a Mariner and Eugenio Suarez also joins Seattle, but this makes the offense harder to break down because of these additions.
Seattle ranked last in team BA with .226, and Minnesota posted a little below average with .241, but these new players may boost both offenses in this contest.
Target Field, home of the Twins, is considered more pitcher-friendly and because of that a low scoring game may be the safer bet. The new players on both ball clubs are welcome additions, but it may take a few games for the offenses to click around them.
For a game that is a toss up on who will win, generally the home team is better because of a guaranteed last at-bat. Bet on the Twins and under on runs.
Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis Cardinals
Nothing about Pittsburgh makes them a favorite to win this game.
For the Pirates, the .236 team BA in 2021 ranked 25th, and the horrid pitching ERA of 5.08 puts it in the bottom of the league. An offense that scored the least amount of runs in 2021 and a defense that gives up almost six a game means St. Louis is the easy favorite.
Probable starters for the Cards will be either Jack Flaherty or Adam Wainwright, both pitched well against the Pirates in the past, and Opening Day should be no different.
Nolan Arenado, Dylan Carlson and the rest of the St.Louis offense should be able to score runs almost at will. Take St.Louis as easy favorites and bet the over on runs because St. Louis could easily tally six or more.
Cincinnati Reds at Atlanta Braves
This game remains an enigma.
Atlanta without Freddie Freeman is almost surreal. Matt Olson replaced Freeman at first and probably in the lineup. Ronald Acuna Jr. returns, and before his 2021 season was cut short due to a torn ACL, he posted MVP-like numbers. Some of the cog players for Atlanta in that playoff run like Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson also departed this offfseason.
Cincy traded some key pieces too like Winker and Suarez mentioned earlier. Tyler Mahle is is the projected Opening Day starter for the Reds. With a 13-6 record and 3.75 ERA in 2021 Mahle posted a solid season. The glaring home and road splits are crucial because in away games a 2.30 ERA is solid for any pitcher, but a 5.63 home ERA is disastrous.
Charlie Morton or Max Fried can be the starter on Thursday, and both are solid pitchers that proved more than capable of going deep in games and being an ace. After a fibula fracture in the World Series, Morton may not be the same pitcher, and it would add another question mark to this game of what could happen whereas Fried would not.
With a few hypothetical parts in this game to answer, this game could be a 12-10 final or 3-1, but either way the Braves feel like favorites. Whatever narrative the bettor wants to believe in over or under, cannot be faulted for either because of the factors above.
Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels
2021 American League MVP, Shohei Ohtani is the Opening Day starter for the Halos and he proved to be a remarkable pitcher, as well as, hitter last season.
Ohtani’s pitching stats were a 9-2 record, 3.18 ERA and opponent BA of .207. But the Astros are one of the best offenses in the league and perennial World Series favorites, so it would not be the easiest matchup for Ohtani.
The Angels offense may see a boost as well because both Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon will be in the lineup. Injuries marred both players seasons as they only combined for 94 games in 2021. Each player individually sparks an offense, but if they are healthy together with Ohtani, the Angels can score some runs in this contest to make it interesting.
This feels like an Angels game to win. Take the over on runs because these can put up a lot of them and bet the Halos.
San Diego Padres at Arizona Diamondbacks
The pitchers are not set in this game, but San Diego feels like the favorite, if not a clear one.
The Padres will be without Fernando Tatis Jr., but the Friars offense may feast on the weak bullpen of Arizona.
San Diego possesses star power, and with an OBP of .321 ranked 10th in 2021, but the team BA was a low .242 last season as well. The Padres also collapsed later in the ’21 campaign as it went from playoff hopefuls to under .500. The D-backs on the other hand posted one of the worst OBP in ’21 with .309 and a .236 BA. Arizona also struck out the seventh most of any offense last season too.
The Padres have a solid pitching staff that allowed a collective 4.10 ERA last season, but the D-backs’ 5.11 ERA ranked it as second to worst in the league.
In a hitter-friendly park like Chase Field and an abysmal bullpen for AZ, San Diego may put up a lot of runs. The under seems more appealing because Arizona may get shut out. Padres as favorites and under on runs.
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