Another season of Major League Baseball is here. Let's rejoice and then gather ourselves before figuring out how to supplement our viewing fun with some gambling victories on 2023 Opening Day. Our quest toward a successful and, yes, lucrative season begins Thursday.
All lines courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook
Yankees cover -1.5 (+118); under 7.5 (-120)
I've got Gerrit Cole taking the AL Cy Young this season, so let's get things started off on the right foot.
The Giants struck out more than all but four other teams last season and the main newcomer to the lineup Thursday is Michael Conforto -- not a high-contact guy. The Giants haven't seen Cole since 2018 and unfamiliarity is a big advantage for the pitcher. In Yankee Stadium last season, Cole struck out 136 in 101 1/3 innings.
Plus, it'll be chilly (high of 47) and the ball won't be flying much. The only thing that really burned Cole last season was the longball.
We getting the picture yet? I think Cole is going to deal. If you can find a strikeout prop, I'd look at the over.
On the other side, the Giants send Logan Webb to the hill and the Yankees have never seen him. He's much lesser known than Cole, but he's a very capable No. 1 starter in his own right.
The Yankees have a much better offense, so I like them to win this one by multiple runs, but it'll be low scoring. Something like 4-2 Yankees gets us home for both the Yankees run line and the under. Let's take 'em both.
Mets to win (-125)
Did you know Max Scherzer never faced the Marlins last season? Quite the anomaly, huh? He faced the Phillies, Braves and Nationals 11 times combined, but the Fish never saw him. That's not good for a punchless offense. Reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara is a tall order for the Mets' offense, but the Amazins beat the Marlins both times they faced Alcantara in Miami last season. Plus, generally speaking, I trust the Mets offense over the Marlins by a mile.
It'll probably be low scoring, though that 6.5 total is too low for my tastes. We'll just go with the Mets. They'll take home the opener on the road.
Padres to cover -1.5 (+105)
It's a rain-delayed evening opener for the team I picked to win the NL West, NL and World Series. No, not the Rockies.
The Padres aren't yet full strength, as Fernando Tatis, Jr. remains suspended while Joe Musgrove and Robert Suarez open on the injured list. Still, this team is loaded and they are going to enter the season with some serious adrenaline.
The Padres swung the bats well against Rockies starter Germán Márquez last season (.298 with a .532 slugging in two starts) and the offense is a bit beefier with Juan Soto and Xander Bogaerts having been added since those Márquez outings.
Padres starter Blake Snell found himself down the stretch last year, putting up a 2.19 ERA in the second half. He also allowed just three runs in 12 innings (2.25 ERA) with 16 strikeouts in his two home outings against the Rockies last season.
More simple: The Padres are one of the best teams in baseball. The Rockies are one of the worst. It's the Padres' home opener in arguably their most-anticipated season in franchise history. No reason to get too cute. The Padres win by multiple runs.
Mariners to win (-120)
Speaking of heavily anticipated home openers, hello Mariners!
Luis Castillo gets the ball in front of what will be a raucous crowd in Seattle. In five starts in T-Mobile after the Mariners acquired him, Castillo pitched to a 1.42 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with 42 strikeouts against six walks in 31 2/3 innings. More succinct: He was The Terminator in Seattle. He dominated the Guardians in two starts, too (0.75 ERA).
The Guardians are a good team, probably the best in the AL Central, but it isn't a scary offense when facing a pitcher the caliber of Castillo. He'll hold them down and the bullpen behind him is plenty capable of two shutdown innings.
Guardians starter Shane Bieber is plenty capable in his own right, so expect a low-scoring affair (though, much like the Mets at Marlins game, the 6.5 total is too low for my liking). Bieber throws well on the road and was dominant the one time he faced the Mariners last season.
We've got a few items making me lean Mariners here. First off, the Mariners were 6-1 against the Guardians last season -- outscoring them 29-11 -- and while that's a small sample, it goes to the bigger picture: the Guardians' record last season was inflated due to their beating up on a weak division. There's also a gut feeling that the Mariners storm out of the gate here at home with the adrenaline, much like the Padres.
And speaking of gut feelings, I'm predicting Julio Rodríguez swings the game here somehow. Maybe it's an early homer to grab the momentum, a big stolen base in front of a run scored to take the lead, a momentum-killing defensive play or just multiple big hits to lead the way. This is Julio's game while Castillo dominates on the mound. Mariners win the opener.