MLB Opening Day Lines and Betting Picks: Yankees vs. Nats & Giants vs. Dodgers
Opening Day is here! If the weather allows it, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals will start things off tonight at 7:08 ET, followed by the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, both televised on ESPN. Here’s a look at MLB betting lines at online sportsbooks for the pair of Opening Day games.
MLB Opening Day Lines and Betting Picks
New York Yankees at Washington Nationals
Fluctuation between -128 and -140 favorites at online sports betting sites for the past two weeks, Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees will throw the first pitch to the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals. Cole hopes to get a small taste of revenge after losing the World Series as a Houston Astro to the Nationals less than a year ago.
In Game 1 of the World Series, Cole gave up five earned runs in his first loss since July, but the he was able to bounce back in Game 5, striking out nine hitters and allowing only one run to give his then-team a 3-2 lead in the series. As we know by now, the Nationals would win the next two games, including a Game 7 where Astros manager A.J. Hinch would infamously leave Cole warming up in the bullpen.
Cole was visibly upset he didn’t play in Game 7. His attitude and wardrobe (no Astros gear) following the game was a clear sign he was on his way out of Houston and into pinstripes.
That part played out as expected. After a long delay due to coronavirus, which included plenty back-and-forth between the owners and players, Cole is set to make his Yankees debut against none other than the Nats themselves.
However, this time things are a bit different between the two foes. The Rendon-less Nationals lost their third baseman in free agency, as Anthony Rendon moved to the West Coast to join the Los Angeles Angels.
Like his two-year stint in Houston, Cole has a lineup in New York that will provide plenty of run support. It’s why the Yankees are +175 favorites to win the American League pennant and sit behind only the Los Angeles Dodgers in World Series odds at +440.
At just 7.5 runs, oddsmakers expect a pitching duel to start the season. Pitching at the top of the inning will be Max Scherzer, who started and pitched five innings in Game 7 of the World Series. Dealing with a nagging back injury that first occurred earlier in the season, Scherzer’s status was questionable at the end of October, so much so that Scherzer was actually scratched form his scheduled Game 5 start. When asking which players the delayed 2020 season helps, that Nationals starting rotation is one that comes to mind.
So far, the Nationals have had three players opt out of the 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. Pitcher Joe Ross, 1B/DH Ryan Zimmerman, and veteran catcher Welington Castillo are all skipping the season. No Yankees have opted out yet.
Though we’re getting two of the best pitchers in the game, I like the Over in this Opening Day matchup. The Yankees led the MLB in runs scored with 943 in 2019, while the Nationals were good for second in the National League, bringing in 873 throughout the season. That Nationals might have lost Anthony Rendon, but the universal DH will be in play regardless of location. And of course, there may be some lingering difficulty for pitchers trying to adjust to the new conditions in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Rain is in the forecast for this one. Let’s hope things clear up so we don’t have to wait any longer for baseball season than we already have.
My MLB Pick: Over 7.5 Runs (+100)
MLB Opening Day Lines and Betting Picks
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
- San Francisco Giants ML +265 (open +235) at DraftKings
- Los Angeles Dodgers ML -300 (open -275) at PointsBet
- Over/Under 8 Runs
Opening Night will end with an NL West rivalry as Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers are slated to take on Johnny Cueto and the Giants. The Dodgers opened -275 favorites but oddsmakers have adjusted the line to -300 as money has poured in on the World Series favorites. The Over/Under has also moved by a half run after opening 7.5.
Thursday night will mark Kershaw’s ninth Opening Day start with the Los Angeles Dodgers, a franchise record. Kershaw missed Opening Day in 2019 after inflammation in his throwing shoulder put him on the injured list.
Like most outings for the lefty (excluding the playoffs), Kershaw usually has his way on Opening Day. He’s 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA when he gets the Opening Day call.
Johnny Cueto take the mound for Giants manager Gabe Kapler. Similar to Scherzer, the delayed and abbreviated season might help Cueto, who underwent Tommy John surgery 2018. Since then, the two-time All-Star has seen limited starts.
Cueto, who says he’s ready to go, recently signaled concern about adapting to new safety protocols.
“For us pitchers, it’s going to be difficult because we have our habits,” Cueto said. “We’re used to spitting, we’re used to putting our fingers in our mouth. It’s going to take time for us to get used to these new rules. Very hard,” Cueto told reporters.
Kershaw has been nearly flawless on Opening Day, but the Dodgers offense is loaded. They led the NL in runs scored in 2019 and look to do so again. In these early games, my angle is to bet the Over and hope the runs stack up. I was able to grab the Over 7.5 when this article was first published.
My MLB Pick: Over 7.5 Runs (-110)
MLB Betting Card
Yankees/Nats Over 7.5 Runs (+100), 1u to win 1u
Dodgers/Giants over 7.5 Runs (-110), 1.1u to win 1u.
Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images