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MLB Opening Day Betting in 2019 – What to Expect

| March 5, 2019 12:00 am PDT
MLB Opening Day 2019 Betting Preview

Page updated on March 27

Clear the schedule on Thursday, March 28th. Tell your boss you have a prior engagement. Heck, call in sick if you have to.

It’s Opening Day in Major League Baseball, and all 30 MLB teams will be in action. There’s a triple-header featured on ESPN, and any of the other 12 games can be live streamed at the tip of your fingers.

Don’t you want to see what Manny Machado looks like in a Padres uniform? What about Bryce in red and white pinstripes? Aren’t you interested in seeing Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer duel it out?

Between the terrific matchups on the slate and all the MLB betting opportunities that will be available, I can’t imagine not immersing myself into baseball when the season officially gets underway.

Technically, the Mariners and A’s will play a couple of games in Tokyo on March 20th and 21st to kick off the year, but the 28th is the day that we get a full taste of Major League Baseball.

Let’s dive into all 15 games and begin looking at what we can expect to see. Once the lines are released, I’ll be updating this page with the odds and my picks for each of the matchups. (Now updated)

Opening Day Odds, Lines, and Picks – Updated on 3/27

Spring training was fun while it lasted, but now the waiting game is over. All 30 MLB teams are in action for the official Opening Day, and I can’t wait to see how everything unfolds.

Let’s take a look at the lines for all 15 games on the Thursday slate and, of course, find out where the betting value lies.

Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

Over 9 Runs+100
Under 9 Runs-120

Pitching Matchup

  • BAL – Andrew Cashner
  • NYY – Masahiro Tanaka

Andrew Cashner arrives in the Big Apple coming off a 2018 campaign in which he sported a 5.29 ERA. The 2018 Yankees hit more homers than any team in single-season history, and I’d argue their lineup is even better in 2019.

As long as the Orioles can chip in with a few runs, I think taking the over at +100 makes the most sense.

PICKOver 9+100

New York Mets at Washington Nationals

Over 7 Runs+100
Under 7 Runs-120

Pitching Matchup

  • NYM – Jacob deGrom
  • WASH – Max Scherzer

I’m well aware of how good Jacob deGrom was last year. However, Max Scherzer went 10-3 with a 2.51 ERA across 19 home starts in 2018. The general public will likely side with the dueling aces and pounce on under, but not me.

I’m really high on the Nationals’ entire squad in 2019 and think they hit the ground running in game one of the year.


St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

Over 8.5-110
Under 8.5-110

Pitching Matchup

  • STL – Miles Mikolas
  • MIL – Jhoulys Chacin

Miles Mikolas takes the hill after an ultra-successful 2018 campaign in which he sported a 2.83 ERA and won an NL-high 18 games. It might seem smart to invest in St. Louis and take the plus-money that’s being offered, but that would mean we have to bet against the Brewers.

I’m pegging Craig Counsell’s team to win somewhere in the range of 100 games this year, so it seems logical they can win their home opener. Jhoulys Chacin might not shut Paul Goldschmidt and company down completely, but I presume that Josh Hader and the Milwaukee bullpen will.


Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Over 7.5 Runs-125
Under 7.5 Runs+105

Pitching Matchup

  • ATL – Julio Teheran
  • PHI – Aaron Nola

I’d give the edge to Philadelphia in this game simply because Aaron Nola will be on the mound. But that doesn’t mean I think it’s worth laying -180 to find out. As much as I like multiple hitters on both of these teams, I know how hard it is to make money laying -125 all the time.

On the flip side, I have enough faith that Nola can hurl a gem and hold the Braves to under 3 runs. That makes me want to snag the +105 number that the game stays under 8 runs.

PICKUnder 7.5+105

Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays-160
Over 8.5 Runs-110
Under 8.5 Runs-110

Pitching Matchup

  • DET – Jordan Zimmermann
  • TOR – Marcus Stroman

There’s no way we can trust the Tigers to win on the road, but there’s no way we can lay -160 on the Blue Jays either. I’m certainly not in love with Jordan Zimmermann and Marcus Stroman, but at the same time, the batting orders in Detroit and Toronto are looking a bit scarce, to say the least.

PICKUnder 8.5-110

Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays

Over 6.5 Runs-125
Under 6.5 Runs+105

Pitching Matchup

  • HOU – Justin Verlander
  • TBR – Blake Snell

Why is the total set way down at 6.5? It’s because this matchup features a battle between the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner and the dude who finished second in the voting.

I can’t imagine we’ll get many opportunities to back the Rays with plus money at home when Blake Snell is pitching, so let’s not pass this one up.


Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers

Over 9.5 Runs-110
Under 9.5 Runs-110

Pitching Matchup

  • CHC – Jon Lester
  • TEX – Mike Minor

Jon Lester went 11-2 with a 2.87 ERA on the road in 2018, proving that he pitches better when playing outside of Wrigley Field.

The Texas Rangers have loads of question marks, and I’m not ready to put stock in Mike Minor being a legitimate Opening Day starter.


Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Over 9 Runs-125
Under 9 Runs+105

Pitching Matchup

  • LAA – Trevor Cahill
  • OAK – Mike Fiers

After losing a pair of AL West games in Tokyo to begin the season, the Athletics are hoping that playing a game in Oakland can help turn the tide. Matt Olson fractured his hand and will miss several weeks, and Thursday’s starting pitcher (Mike Fiers) gave up five runs in just 3 innings against the Mariners.

I prefer Cahill to Fiers, and the Angels have some guy named Mike Trout. Let’s roll with the Halos here.


Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds

Over 8.5 Runs+100
Under 8.5 Runs-120

Pitching Matchup

  • PIT – Jameson Taillon
  • CIN – Luis Castillo

Fans in Cincinnati are eagerly looking forward to how good the Reds can be in 2019. I think they’ll be amped up from the get-go and should be able to score at least a few runs off Jameson Taillon. At the same time, Luis Castillo boasted an ugly 12.46 ERA in four spring training appearances and is clearly not firing on all cylinders.

I like the over 8.5 here, and I like it even better considering I’m getting even money on the bet.

PICKOver 8.5+100

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

Over 7.5 Runs-110
Under 7.5 Runs-110

Pitching Matchup

  • AZ – Zack Greinke
  • LAD – Hyun-jin Ryu

I know both of these pitchers threw the ball great in 2018, but 7.5 runs just seems a little low for Opening Day in La La Land. Zack Greinke accumulated a 4.61 ERA in two starts at Dodger Stadium in 2018, not to mention Arizona just recently named a guy with a 12.27 spring ERA as their closer (Greg Holland).

I’m hoping we’ll see some fireworks from both offenses, so I have no problem booking the over.

PICKOver 7.5-110

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

Over 8 Runs+105
Under 8 Runs-125

Pitching Matchup

  • SF – Madison Bumgarner
  • SD – Eric Lauer

At first glance, this seemed like a bit of a trap game for potential bettors. Initially, one might assume that Madison Bumgarner on the mound with plus money against the Padres screams out value.

However, is Bumgarner still the reliable ace he once was? Didn’t the Padres get a lot better during the offseason?

I think Manny Machado and his teammates give the fan base in San Diego plenty to cheer about on Opening Day and start the season 1-0.


Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins

Over 8 Runs+105
Under 8 Runs-125

Pitching Matchup

  • COL – Kyle Freeland
  • MIA – Jose Urena

As terrific as Kyle Freeland was in 2018, he was surprisingly better at Coors Field than he was on the road. I figure the Marlins should be able to score a few runs in their home opener, but I can’t imagine Jose Urena slows down what is arguably the most potent lineup in the National League.

PICKOver 8+105

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

Over 7.5 Runs-120
Under 7.5 Runs+100

Pitching Matchup

  • CLE – Corey Kluber
  • MIN – Jose Berrios

It’s clear to me that the Indians’ batting order heading into 2019 isn’t nearly as complete as it was last year. Not only have Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion been removed from this lineup, but Francisco Lindor will begin the season on the Injured List.

You won’t see Jose Berrios pitching at home at +125 too often (if at all the rest of the year), so grab the Twins at this price while you still can.


Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

White Sox-101
Over 8.5 Runs-115
Under 8.5 Runs-105

Pitching Matchup

  • CHI – Carlos Rodon
  • KAN – Brad Keller

I’m a believer that Carlos Rodon will have his best season to date in 2019. It all starts with a relatively benign matchup on Thursday against a Royals squad that — how can I say this politely? — isn’t very good on paper.

It’s not that I think the White Sox will suddenly win 90 games and be a contender in the division, but I wholeheartedly believe they’re a better team than Kansas City is. Especially when Rodon is facing Brad Keller.

PICKWhite Sox-101

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners

Red Sox-178
Over 7 Runs-125
Under 7 Runs+105

Pitching Matchup

  • BOS – Chris Sale
  • SEA – Marco Gonzales

Honestly, I’m just glad I don’t have to lay -210 or -220 to back the Red Sox here. I know Seattle won their first two games of the season in Japan, but those victories came against Mike Fiers and Marco Estrada.

Chris Sale isn’t just a totally different kind of animal than those aforementioned names; he’s the most skilled southpaw the game of baseball has seen since Randy Johnson. Between Betts, Martinez, Benintendi, and the rest of the crew, I don’t see the M’s being able to keep pace.

Look for Beantown to put a hurting on Seattle in the nightcap of Opening Day.

PICKRed Sox-178

Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees

  • Where: Yankee Stadium – New York, New York
  • Time: 1:00 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Dylan Bundy vs. Luis Severino

The first pitch on March 28th will be thrown at Yankee Stadium, and I expect it to come from Luis Severino. The Yankees’ 19-game winner from a year ago signed a four-year extension in mid-February and should be locked and loaded for another stellar campaign.

The Yankees rotation was bolstered over the offseason thanks to the addition of James Paxton, but I still look for Severino to get the nod on Opening Day and be the one who anchors this staff.

It appears that Aaron Boone is still trying to mix and match some things in the batting order, as Aaron Hicks, DJ LeMahieu, and Troy Tulowitzki each took a turn leading off during New York’s first three spring training games. LeMahieu looks like he’ll platoon at second base with Gleyber Torres, who is expected to also split time at shortstop with Tulowitzki until Didi Gregorius returns to the picture.

We know about the unparalleled power that Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton possess, and I actually think Miguel Andujar is going to have a sneaky good year. If Gary Sanchez can be a little more consistent at the plate and Luke Voit continues his power surge from the end of last season, this could easily become the fiercest lineup in baseball.

On the other hand, the Orioles are coming off an embarrassing year in which they lost an ML-high 115 regular season games. Dylan Bundy will have his hands full trying to piece his way through the Yankees order, and I’m more than wary that he won’t receive much run support.

Chris Davis is coming off a historically bad year in which he set a record for the lowest batting average ever by a player with at least 502 at-bats. Mark Trumbo is a lifetime .250 hitter, Trey Mancini hit .241 in 2018, and Adam Jones isn’t coming back.

Consider that Baltimore finished dead last in team ERA last year, and now take into account how utterly depleted this lineup is.

The talent level is so lopsided, expect to see the Yankees as a massive favorite in this one. And expect the general public to pound money on New York regardless.

New York Mets at Washington Nationals

  • Where: Nationals Park – Washington D.C.
  • Time: 1:05 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Jacob deGrom vs. Max Scherzer

Get your popcorn ready for this one. Here we have the 2018 NL Cy Young winner pitted up against last year’s runner-up. Don’t feel too badly for Mr. Scherzer, though. He already has three Cy Young Awards sitting on his mantle at home.

The Nationals may be without Bryce Harper, but something tells me this lineup isn’t going to miss a beat. Trea Turner runs the base paths as well as any player in baseball, and Adam Eaton is finally healthy. Picking up Brian Dozier to man the keystone position was quietly a significant acquisition, and Anthony Rendon could be the most underrated hitter nobody ever talks about.

Now I get to mention Juan Soto and Victor Robles, the pair of Nationals outfielders who is set to take the league by storm. Despite being only 20 and 21 years old respectively, both Juan and Victor are more than equipped to excel on the big stage.

I’m really high on the Nationals hitters in 2019. However, it won’t get much tougher than what they’ll face during their first test on March 28th.

Jacob deGrom will look to extend his streak of 24 consecutive quality starts, as he is now just two shy of tying Bob Gibson for the longest streak in history. Should deGrom allow three runs or fewer against the Nationals on Opening Day, he’ll be alone in the record books with his 30th straight outing surrendering three or fewer runs.

As far as the Mets lineup goes, Robinson Cano and Wilson Ramos will likely hit “three-four,” and Michael Conforto should be right behind them. Brandon Nimmo flashed his abilities in 2018, and Todd Frazier can still hit the ball over the fence.

Do the Mets have enough, or is this going to be another year where they waste a bunch of really good Jacob deGrom performances? The Mets won’t be too big of underdogs in any game that deGrom is on the mound, although a road contest facing Max Scherzer is most definitely one of those instances.

St. Louis Cardinals at Milwaukee Brewers

  • Where: Miller Park – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  • Time: 2:10 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Miles Mikolas vs. Jhoulys Chacin

This NL Central battle will be fun to watch, but don’t panic too much if you don’t catch every pitch from this one. The Cardinals and Brewers are going to play each other 18 more times during the 2019 regular season, and who knows? They could face off in the playoffs.

Mike Shildt has his choice between going with Miles Mikolas or Jack Flaherty, and early signs are pointing towards Mikolas being called upon to start the opener. Personally, I’m pegging Flaherty as a guy who will be viewed as a top-ten starter in baseball by season’s end, plus Carlos Martinez should be healthy and ready to contribute sometime in April.

With Paul Goldschmidt now planted in the middle of this lineup, scoring runs consistently should come a lot easier. Paul is surrounded by all-star-caliber players like Matt Carpenter and Marcell Ozuna, and don’t be shocked if Harrison Bader is among the MLB players who break out in 2019.

I like the Cardinals a lot in 2019, but now it’s time to turn the page and discuss one of the few teams whose chances I like even better.

Craig Counsell might not manage games like every other skipper in the big leagues, but he’s got the Brew Crew in an amazing spot heading into 2019. Milwaukee won 97 games en route to conquering the NL Central Division and wound up taking the Dodgers to seven games in the 2018 LCS.

Christian Yelich is the reigning NL MVP and is poised to play just as well in 2019. Mike Moustakas is back along with the rest of the gang, and now Yasmani Grandal shores things up at the backstop position. Jimmy Nelson won’t see the field on Opening Day, but he will have a chance to work his way back into being the lead man of this staff. Nelson missed the entire 2018 campaign due to injury on his pitching shoulder.

Jhoulys Chacin won 15 games and posted a 3.50 ERA last season — good enough to earn him the right to pitch the first game of the season for the Brewers. Milwaukee will be favored here as the home team, but the matchups between the Cardinals and Brewers will essentially be “toss-ups” for the foreseeable future.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

  • Where: Citizens Bank Park – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Time: 3:05 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Mike Foltynewicz vs. Aaron Nola

I’m looking at the NL East as one of the best, if not the best, divisions in baseball. Bryce Harper has landed in Philly, making the Phillies even tougher than before. Now the Phillies have an abundance of firepower in their lineup.

Andrew McCutchen, Jean Segura, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto are slated to hit 1-2-3-4 in the order. All of these players are in their first year with the Phillies organization. Rhys Hoskins is developing into a big-time home run hitter, and they’re still waiting for Maikel Franco to blossom.

But the guy I’m most excited about in the City of Brotherly Love is the guy you’ll see on the mound on Opening Day versus the Braves. I already spent an inordinate amount of time discussing how much I love the Phillies ace in 2019 when I picked Aaron Nola to lead the Majors in wins.

Nola won’t have an easy test out of the gates when the Braves stroll into town, though, as Brian Snitker’s players are far from slouches. In fact, Ronald Acuna Jr. could win the 2019 NL MVP Award, as could Freddie Freeman. Ozzie Albies and newcomer Josh Donaldson are also present, meaning Nola can’t afford to take a single pitch off the entire afternoon.

Mike Foltynewicz was brilliant in 2018, but he has experienced some elbow soreness that caused him to be scratched from his latest preseason start. If Atlanta opts to give him some time to heal, I suspect Kevin Gausman or Julio Teheran would be next in line to start.

With all the changes in Philly and all the money they have spent, I imagine the fan base will be amped up for this game. It’ll be up to Acuna Jr. and the rest of the “Baby Braves” to spoil the electric atmosphere.

Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays

  • Where: Rogers Centre – Toronto, Ontario
  • Time: 3:37 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Michael Fulmer vs. Marcus Stroman

I’d love to highlight all the exciting things we’ll see in the Tigers opener at Toronto, but unfortunately, the prospects in 2019 aren’t looking too pretty for either of these squads. Detroit picked up Josh Harrison and will likely insert him into the leadoff role, and Miguel Cabrera’s health is one of the storylines I’m following closely during spring training.

But it’s hard to get excited about a team when Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd, and Jordan Zimmermann are scheduled to be your top three pitchers. I can’t sit here and try and hype up JaCoby Jones and Jordy Mercer, nor will I tell you I think Jeimer Candelario is going to turn into a stud.

And while the Blue Jays suffer from a similar problem (lack of talent), their game versus the Tigers on March 28th could be one of the rare cases in which Toronto is actually the betting favorite!

Marcus Stroman saw his ERA balloon up to 5.54 last season, and the depth of this lineup is scarce — and that’s being polite. Toronto was just .244 last season as a team, and they won’t be the beneficiaries if Troy Tulowitzki regains tip-top form. Unfortunately, though, Toronto had to eat the remaining $38 million Troy is owed while shipping him off to a division rival.

See why I said things are so grim in Detroit and Toronto? There’s just not a lot to look forward to.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers

  • Where: Dodger Stadium – Los Angeles, California
  • Time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Zack Greinke vs. Clayton Kershaw/Walker Buehler

Will Clayton Kershaw be ready? Considering Clayton didn’t even have a date set for when he would resume throwing when the month of March began, there’s more than a real chance he won’t be ready in time for Opening Day.

Should Kershaw still be nursing soreness when the end of the month arrives, Walker Buehler will answer the bell for Dave Roberts. And that might not actually be a bad thing.

The 24-year-old rookie from Lexington, Kentucky, was outstanding during his first year in the Majors, posting a 2.62 ERA spread across 137.1 innings pitched. Walker struck out 151 batters in a limited sample size, so don’t be surprised if Buehler soars over 200 Ks during his sophomore season.

Speaking of “striking out,” all is not lost in La La Land just because the front office brass didn’t do enough to lure Bryce Harper into town. A.J. Pollock will take over in center field and set the table for guys like Justin Turner and Max Muncy. Corey Seager returns from elbow surgery, and Cody Bellinger has plenty of pop.

With all of that being said, I should point out that Arizona ace Zack Greinke posted a 3-1 record and a 3.86 ERA during four starts against the Dodgers in 2018. The Diamondbacks are hoping Jake Lamb takes a step forward after severely regressing during an injury-plagued 2018 season, but the rest of the order consists mainly of unproven commodities.

It makes no difference whether Kershaw or Buehler starts this game because the Dodgers could be as much as -250 favorites here. I don’t see the Dodgers winning the 2019 World Series, but they should have no problem winning this game.

Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays

  • Where: Tropicana Field – Tampa Bay, Florida
  • Time: 4:00 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Justin Verlander vs. Blake Snell

Talk about one sweet pitching matchup. Here we have 2018 AL Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell clashing against Justin Verlander and the tenacious Astros bats. Snell will have an arduous assignment on March 28th, meaning we’ll quickly get to see how up to the task the 26-year-old southpaw is.

If he can battle through the Houston lineup, he’ll be able to withstand just about anything.

Verlander is coming off a terrific season, and as I mentioned, AJ Hinch has a plethora of proficient hitters littered up and down his roster.

I could talk about Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, or I could boast about how good George Springer and Carlos Correa are. But instead, I’ll tell you that signing Michael Brantley to a two-year deal this winter could be the move that pushes this team over the edge.

We might not see it pan out right away against a left-handed pitcher as gifted as Blake Snell is, but trust me. Adding this lefty bat to the Astros order is going to pay dividends down the road.

I’m quite intrigued to see what Vegas sets this line at, as Verlander and the Astros are incredibly tough. On the same token, Blake Snell at home is nothing to balk at.

If you bet baseball online, this is one of those games I would circle and come back to once the line is released. If you can get some serious plus money on the Rays, it might be worth a shot.

Chicago Cubs at Texas Rangers

  • Where: Globe Life Park in Arlington – Arlington, Texas
  • Time: 4:05 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Jon Lester vs. Mike Minor

The only interleague contest on Opening Day doesn’t appear too thrilling on paper unless, of course, you are a loyalist of the Rangers or a major fan of the Cubbies. Lance Lynn could end up getting the start here, but it looks like Rangers manager Chris Woodward wants to try and unleash Mike Minor in 2019.

The 31-year-old lefty made 28 starts last season but only surpassed 100 pitches on three occasions. Whether it’s Minor or Lynn who starts this game, the Rangers could struggle to score runs in this one.

Joey Gallo blasted 40 homers last year but could be held out of this one to avoid the “lefty-on-lefty matchup” with Lester. Nomar Mazara, Shin-Soo Choo, and Rougned Odor are all solid hitters, but they all bat from the left side. Their skills could be a bit negated here due to facing a left-hander as tough as Jon Lester.

In terms of how Chicago will produce runs, take your pick.

Javy Baez finished second in NL MVP voting, and Anthony Rizzo is one of the premier first basemen in MLB. I’m forecasting Kris Bryant to have a bounce-back year, and I still like the reliability and calmness that Ben Zobrist brings to a clubhouse.

The Cubs will be able to employ a DH for this contest, which will allow Joe Maddon to insert either David Bote or Albert Almora Jr. into the batting order instead of having Lester hit. In all likelihood, we’ll see Chicago open around a -150 favorite, which could erase any value on backing the Cubbies.

Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

  • Where: Oakland Coliseum – Oakland, California
  • Time: 4:07 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Matt Harvey vs. Mike Fiers

Coming off a 97-win season, it’s hard for Oakland fans to have high hopes that things can get much better in 2019. Their lineup is filled with a few guys who can seriously damage the cover of a baseball, but I’m a bit skeptical of their starting rotation.

Rather than a bonafide ace, Oakland has a mixture of veteran arms and a couple of up-and-comers. It looks like one of those vets (Mike Fiers or Marco Estrada) will start on Opening Day, and you’ll certainly have to lay juice if you want to invest in the A’s.

But is that really a good idea with Mike Trout and co. making the short trek upstate to East Bay?

I have little confidence that Matt Harvey will do anything of relevance in 2019 and would personally like to see Andrew Heaney or Trevor Cahill on the mound in this game. Khris Davis led the majors with 48 dingers in 2018, Matt Olson can rake, and Matt Chapman’s upward trajectory is obvious and noticeable.

I like the Athletics to win this one going away, so I’ll just shop the lines for the best price I can get.

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

  • Where: Petco Park – San Diego, California
  • Time: 4:10 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Madison Bumgarner vs. Joey Lucchesi

The vibes in San Diego are certainly buzzing now that Manny Machado has arrived. Manny will take over at third base and bat either second or third, with Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers backing him up for protection.

I wouldn’t say adding Machado into the fray automatically puts the Padres in the running for the NL West crown, but it at least makes watching this opening game against the Giants mighty interesting!

Madison Bumgarner will hopefully put the last two years behind him and return to the dominating form he displayed from 2011-2016. But even if Madison pitches lights-out in this one, Joey Lucchesi has the type of stuff that can shut the Giants lineup down.

Buster Posey and Evan Longoria are each another year older, and Joe Panik and Brandon Belt (both bat lefty) won’t be as effective against a tough lefty like Luchessi. Baseball fans in San Diego have been waiting for something to be excited about for a long time, and the influx of a superstar like Manny Machado does exactly that.

I’m hoping I find a good line here because despite “MadBum” being on the hill, I really like the Padres’ chances.

Cleveland Indians at Minnesota Twins

  • Where: Target Field – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Time: 4:10 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Corey Kluber vs. Jose Berrios

This one fascinates me because as much trust as I have in Corey Kluber, I know that nothing intimidates Jose Berrios. The 24-year-old hurler from Puerto Rico struck out 202 batters in 192.1 innings of work and managed to keep his ERA under 4 (3.84).

The Twins added C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop during the offseason, and I can’t stress enough how huge of a pickup Nelson Cruz was.

While Minnesota was busy adding to their lineup, Cleveland, unfortunately, is suffering from some key subtractions. Michael Brantley and Edwin Encarnacion are no longer with the Indians, and Francisco Lindor probably won’t be on the field when the season begins in Minneapolis.

I’m not a fan of betting against Corey Kluber, but perhaps this could be a pretty decent spot to take a stab at it.

Colorado Rockies at Miami Marlins

  • Where: Marlins Park – Miami, Florida
  • Time: 4:10 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: German Marquez/Kyle Freeland vs. Jose Ureña

Bud Black has the option to go with hard-throwing right-hander German Marquez, or he could opt for Kyle Freeland instead. Freeland was dynamite in 2018, finishing fourth in the NL Cy Young Award voting on the heels of winning 17 games and posting a 2.85 ERA.

I’m not sure it matters too much who the Rockies send to the mound on Opening Day in South Beach when you consider that Brian Anderson will probably be hitting third, and aging Neil Walker will likely be the man in the cleanup spot.

Jose Ureña is a capable pitcher, but I hate his chances of prospering against a lineup as potent as Colorado’s.

Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Murphy will get the party started, and David Dahl and Trevor Story are legitimate threats. And I’m being sincere as can be when I tell you I think Nolan Arenado is on par with Mookie Betts and Mike Trout as the three best players in baseball.

It would take the bookies egregiously bloating this line in the Rockies’ favor for me to get off wanting to back them in this one. If Colorado is anything under -200, it’s worth placing a wager in my book.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds

  • Where: Great American Ball Park – Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Time: 4:10 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Jameson Taillon vs. Sonny Gray

The Reds begin the 2019 regular season with tons of new faces all around. Sonny Gray came over in a trade with the Yankees and will probably start on Opening Day, but Alex Wood is waiting in the wings if Sonny ends up not being ready.

Wood came over in a deal with the Dodgers, as did outfielders Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp, so there is some hope in Cincy. We’ll certainly see Puig take the field in this one, but it’s more than likely that Kemp is riding the pine.

Kemp will play a platoon role with Scott Schebler and Jesse Winker, meaning he’ll be utilized when the Reds are facing a southpaw.

Scooter Gennett and Eugenio Suarez are coming off big years at the plate, and Joey Votto is hoping to return to the upper echelon of MLB first basemen. If they can get some solid innings out of Gray playing on their home turf, I think the Reds could end up winning this game.

I like Jameson Taillon in the “big picture” and definitely think Starling Marte is a dependable outfielder. But I’m not in love with the rest of the Pirates’ 25-man roster. I’d venture to guess this line comes out where the Pirates and Reds are close to evenly priced, and as of right now, I’m leaning toward investing in Cincy.

Chicago White Sox at Kansas City Royals

  • Where: Kauffman Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri
  • Time: 4:15 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Yet to Be Determined

I’m a White Sox fan and still have no clue who will be on the rubber when the 2019 season debuts in Kansas City on March 28th. It could be Ivan Nova, and it could be Reynaldo Lopez, but I think it’ll end up being Carlos Rodon.

The 26-year-old left-handed power pitcher has been unable to stay healthy up to this point in his career, but fans in the South Side are hoping 2019 is the year that Rodon puts it all together. He has all the tools necessary to be a force to be reckoned with. He just needs to avoid the injury bug.

Jose Abreu is still the man in the middle of this batting order who the White Sox will count on most, but they’re hoping that Yoan Moncada can start developing discipline at the plate and evolve into an All-Star.

As far as KC goes, they’d like Danny Duffy to be the guy pitching in their initial game of the season. However, Ned Yost and the Royals are taking a cautious approach with Danny Duffy’s shoulder tightness.

Ian Kennedy would be the next man up, but I doubt it makes a difference who starts for Kansas City. The oddsmakers will likely open with Kansas City as a small favorite because the game will be played at Kauffman Stadium.

Whit Merrifield was quietly one of the best all-around players in the game last season, and hopefully a transition from NL to AL means Billy Hamilton has an easier time getting on base.

I doubt I’ll touch this one, especially considering there are 14 other games on tap. I’ll need to see at least a seven- or eight-game sample size to get a feel for how good or how bad Chicago and Kansas City will be before I start firing away.

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners

  • Where: T-Mobile Park – Seattle, Washington
  • Time: 7:00 pm EST
  • Potential Pitching Matchup: Chris Sale vs. Yusei Kikuchi/ Mike Leake

If you are looking to back a team at home that will be a heavy underdog on Opening Day, this is your chance. If we see Chris Sale on the bump for this ESPN nightcap, we could see Boston up at -225 despite playing as a visitor.

The Red Sox bring their fully-loaded lineup back with all key pieces intact, and they even get to see how much Dustin Pedroia has left in the tank. For those opposing pitchers who have to begin the game facing Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez, well, all I can do is wish you good luck.

There’s a reason most betting sites have the Red Sox favored to win the 2019 World Series. To be fair, there actually are several.

Boston’s team batting average was 9 points higher than any other team in baseball, and their 876 runs scored were 25 more than their closest pursuer. Chris Sale’s shoulder shouldn’t be an issue, and they won 108 regular-season games.

Meanwhile, Seattle appears to be fully engaged into rebuilding mode as we embark on 2019.

Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano are both in new cities and are employed by new teams. Seattle had the best closer in baseball (Edwin Diaz) until they traded him away, and their hands-down top pitcher (James Paxton) was also shipped out of town.

The Mariners could of course get lucky, but the BoSox should be able to win this game convincingly.

Enjoy Watching and Betting on Opening Day!

All 30 MLB teams are wrapped into 15 games on the same day. For baseball enthusiasts like myself, there isn’t a better way to spend a Thursday.

Once we inch closer to the March 28th date, and the betting odds become available, I’ll be sure to update this page with even more insight. And of course, I’ll give you my predictions and picks.

Until then, enjoy spring training!

Michael Wynn

As a former Division I collegiate golfer, Michael Wynn loves writing about golf. He's also an expert in most of America's most popular sports, writing extensively for GamblingSites.com on football, basketball, and baseball.

Michael's a Las Vegas native and has been with the company since 2017.

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