MLB Opening Day Picks
Opening Day is finally here! Just one more day until regular season baseball is officially underway and it feels a little like Christmas Eve for most die-hard baseball fans. I’m glad they got to have a season last year, but a 60-game schedule left a bit to be desired. We’re back to the full 162-game season which gets underway on Thursday. I’ve got a few games that I’m backing and I think give good value.
Full disclosure. I’m a lifelong Phillies fan and generally a massive homer. But I do also love the Phillies on Opening Day. Make no mistake. The Atlanta Braves are the far superior team. They have one of the best lineups in all of baseball, made even better with the arrival of Christian Pache, and they have tons of young arms throughout their rotation. But, I think Aaron Nola will be the X-factor on Opening Day.
In his 20 career starts against their NL East rival, Nola is 11-6 with a 3.05 ERA. Pitching wins are largely a useless stat, except in betting when you’re picking who will win the game. I’m expecting the Phillies ace to pick up where he left off last season and look more like the 2018 version than the inconsistent version we got in 2019.
Both Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto have had good success against Atlanta ace Max Fried, but I do expect him to look good against an inferior Philadelphia lineup. I’m betting this game two ways as I like the Phillies to win in a low-scoring game.
Pick: Phillies ML @ -105
Pick: Under 7 @ -104
Let’s get this out of the way early. Both these teams absolutely stink. They’ll spend the majority of the year as bottom dwellers and struggle to get much of anything going. But, the Red Sox have infinitely more talent throughout their lineup and should be able to chase Baltimore starter John Means on Opening Day.
In 34.1 innings against the Red Sox in his career, Means has given up 17 runs, good for a 4.46 ERA. Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez give the Red Sox a nice punch at the top of their lineup. Bogaerts has mashed Means throughout his career. He’s 6-14 with two homers and 5 RBIs against the Baltimore starter. Martinez has had similar success against him with three home runs and six RBIs in 14 at-bats.
I don’t love Nathan Eovaldi as the Red Sox starter, their rotation may be the worst in the entire league 1-through-5, but I think the Red Sox have enough pop in their lineup to get the win against the O’s on Opening Day.
Pick: Red Sox ML @ -165
This is the best pitching matchup of the day, featuring Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer going head to head. DeGrom is the best pitcher in baseball and has been for the past 2-3 years, so there’s no way I’m going to bet against him on Opening Day.
The Mets’ addition of Francisco Lindor is going to be massive all year long. He gives them pop, consistency and great defense to help improve on where they left off last season.
Nationals All-Star outfielder Juan Soto has basically crushed every pitcher he faces, with the exception of deGrom. DeGrom is 8-4 with a 2.61 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP in his career against the Nationals.
It’ll be interesting to see the Nats with Josh Bell and Kyle Schwarber in the lineup, two players I like to have big years, but we’re riding with the best pitcher in baseball here.
Pick: Mets ML @ -140
MLB Expert Picks
Phillies ML @ -105 (Click to bet)
Phillies/Braves Under 7 @ -104 (Click to bet)
Red Sox ML @ -165 (Click to bet)
Mets ML @ -140 (Click to bet)
MLB Opening Day 2021 Schedule
Thursday, April 1
Toronto Blue Jays at New York Yankees, 1:05 p.m. ET
Cleveland at Detroit Tigers, 1:10 p.m. ET
Minnesota Twins at Milwaukee Brewers, 2:10 p.m. ET
Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox, 2:10 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET
Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies, 3:05 p.m. ET
Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres, 4:10 p.m. ET
Texas Rangers at Kansas City Royals, 4:10 p.m. ET
Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies, 4:10 p.m. ET
St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds, 4:10 p.m. ET
Tampa Bay Rays at Miami Marlins, 4:10 p.m. ET
New York Mets at Washington Nationals, 7:09 p.m. ET
Chicago White Sox at Los Angeles Angels, 10:05 p.m. ET
Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics, 10:07 p.m. ET
San Francisco Giants at Seattle Mariners, 10:10 p.m. ET