MLB Predictions and Best Bets for April 1, 2021

| March 30, 2021 2:45 am PDT

MLB is finally back, with the start of the 2021 MLB season arriving on Opening Day on Thursday, April 1st.

If you’re excited for baseball to be back, odds are you’re interested in making money via MLB betting to some degree.

To help you do that, I’m here with my Opening Day MLB predictions and betting picks. First, let’s take a quick look at every game hitting a diamond on Thursday, April 1st, 2021.

  • Blue Jays vs. Yankees
  • Indians vs. Tigers
  • Orioles vs. Red Sox
  • Twins vs. Brewers
  • Pirates vs. Cubs
  • Braves vs. Phillies
  • Rangers vs. Royals
  • Cardinals vs. Reds
  • Diamondbacks vs. Padres
  • Dodgers vs. Rockies
  • Rays vs. Marlins
  • Mets vs. Nationals
  • White Sox vs. Angels
  • Astros vs. Athletics
  • Giants vs. Mariners

The 2021 MLB Opening Day slate is as big as you’d expect, with all 30 teams in action.

Whether you’re just looking for the best bets, or you want a little advice to bet on every single game, I’ll try to nudge you in the right direction with Thursday’s MLB picks.

Blue Jays vs. Yankees Predictions

  • Yankees to beat Blue Jays
  • Predicted total: 9-9.5

Baseball fans get a pretty nice pitching duel at Yankee Stadium to start the year, as Gerrit Cole and the Yanks host Hyun-jin Ryu and the rival Jays.

Toronto is a rising team with a lot of power, and they’re so dangerous that oddsmakers priced them as New York’s biggest threat in the AL East.

They also get a boost coming to this stadium, which is understandably scary. Two explosive offenses probably get me interested in the Over here, but the pinstripes are hard to hate.

New York tends to rock at home, their lineup mashes southpaws, and Cole is the safer pitcher to align yourself with. I like the Yanks and the Over here.

Indians vs. Tigers Predictions

  • Indians to beat Tigers
  • Predicted total: 7.5-8

I’m not one to mess with The Biebs. Justin Bieber is a heck of a singer, but no, I’m referring to the dominant Shane Bieber.

He has been lights out the past two years, and logic suggests he’ll keep tearing it up against a bad Tigers lineup. Bieber shredded the Tigers (2-0, 1.84 ERA) last year, and there isn’t much stopping you from feeling great about him here.

Matthew Boyd is on the other side, but he does give up a good amount of contact. The matchup definitely leans to the Tribe here, but the pitching is good enough on both sides to favor the Under.

Orioles vs. Red Sox Predictions

  • Red Sox to beat Orioles
  • Predicted total: 9-9.5

Boston and Baltimore aren’t projected to be particularly good in 2021, but these are still two explosive offenses, and Fenway Park is a breeding ground for homers.

J.D. Martinez and Enrique Hernandez could specifically mash against lefty John Means, while Baltimore’s young bats could easily get to Nathan Eovaldi.

I favor Boston due to slightly better pitching, a more reliable offense, and the home-field edge. But the Red Sox aren’t really the priority bet here; the Over is.

Twins vs. Brewers Predictions

  • Twins to beat Brewers
  • Predicted total: 7-7.5

It’s weird to look at a Twins game and anticipate very little scoring, but here we are. Minnesota visits the Brewers in the volatile American Family Field, where the balls could obviously potentially fly.

But the pitching is just too good here. Brandon Woodruff anchors a great Brewers pitching staff, and Kenta Maeda literally almost no-hit this Milwaukee lineup last year.

Milwaukee is somewhat appealing at home, but the pitching has me digging the Under in this spot.

Pirates vs. Cubs Predictions

  • Cubs to beat Pirates
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

Be sure to monitor the wind at Wrigley Field for Opening Day. If it’s blowing out, the Over will feel like a great bet.

Kyle Hendricks is slated to start this one, and logic suggests he’ll have it pretty easy against a relatively punchless Pirates lineup.

Chicago added some big bats this off-season, so, arguably, their lineup will be a bit more reliable, as well. It’s a close call, but I like the Cubs to get off to a hot start at home.

Braves vs. Phillies Predictions

  • Phillies to beat Braves
  • Predicted total: 8.5-9

Most would automatically side with the stacked Braves here, as they take on one of their biggest rivals and have the calm and cool Max Fried toeing the rubber.

True, but the Phillies are expected to make a jump in 2021, and a big reason is the steady hand of ace Aaron Nola. If you’re in the market for some of the best 2021 MLB over/under bets, Nola is a fine place to start when you look at his strikeout upside.

Nola should get that elite campaign started off right on Opening Day, while the Phillies have the righty power to attack Fried in this brutal park for pitchers.

The pitching is elite, but I like the Over and Philly on Thursday.

Rangers vs. Royals Predictions

  • Royals to beat Rangers
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

This is one of the worst pitching matchups on Opening Day, as two non-playoff threats face off in Kansas City.

Kyle Gibson and Brad Keller are useful rotation guys, but aces, they are not. There should be plenty of contact to be had here, so the Over is certainly viable.

I do favor the Royals’ offense, however. They’re at home, and they’re simply a more efficient team. This park isn’t the best for power, either, which should work against Texas.

Cardinals vs. Reds Predictions

  • Cardinals to beat Reds
  • Predicted total: 7-7.5

The 2021 MLB Opening Day betting slate is understandably loaded with insane pitching matchups, and it doesn’t end when the Cardinals battle the Reds.

Jack Flaherty and Luis Castillo hope to keep both sides in check, but they will have their work cut out for them in a dicey ballpark.

The Over is in play based on the power and park factor here, but the matchup on the mound is basically a wash.

Diamondbacks vs. Padres Predictions

  • Padres to beat Diamondbacks
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

This one is far from a toss-up, though, as Yu Darvich makes his Padres debut against the overrated Madison Bumgarner.

The latter is still a useful pitching, but he gives up a good amount of contact, and there’s a good chance he gets tattooed by the nasty San Diego lineup.

The Padres can wreck southpaws, and they have an elite ace leading the charge. I love San Diego to get 2021 started off with a bang, but the pitching is just good enough to keep me off the total.

Dodgers vs. Rockies Predictions

  • Dodgers to beat Rockies
  • Predicted total: 10.5-11

Clayton Kershaw still has it, but I wouldn’t be super excited to back him at Coors Field. Colorado isn’t going to be as scary after trading Nolan Arenado away, but this park is still a tough spot for anyone.

German Marquez has it worse, of course. He’s in that same park, and he’s tasked with silencing the best offense in the majors.

Kershaw and a loaded Dodgers lineup make L.A. an easy bet. The pitching is great, but the offenses and park factor are better. Hammer the Over, as well.

Rays vs. Marlins Predictions

  • Rays to beat Marlins
  • Predicted total: 7-7.5

Tyler Glasnow figures to get off to a solid start on Opening Day as he takes on the fish in a pitcher’s park.

Miami is known to explode in tough spots randomly, but betting against Glasnow is ill-advised here. Sandy Alcantara and the park should pitch in to limit the scoring here, so I’ll go with the Rays and the Under.

Mets vs. Nationals Predictions

  • Mets to beat Nationals
  • Predicted total: 7-7.5

There are several high-level pitching matchups on Opening Day, but a divisional duel between Jacob deGrom and Mad Max surely takes the cake.

Max Scherzer is going to be the one responsible for giving up a homer or three here, but both of these hurlers should be on point in a relatively low-scoring contest.

The Mets are a hot team for bettors this year, and they might even have the guy who could win NL Manager of the Year in 2021. If so, he needs to get the Mets off to a hot start and score big victories like this.

Ultimately, I do like the Mets, but I’d still be interested in the Under due to the elite pitching.

White Sox vs. Angels Predictions

  • White Sox to beat Angels
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

The Halos will try to get 2021 started off on the right foot on Thursday when they host Lucas Giolito and the loaded White Sox.

Dylan Bundy awaits on the other side for the Angels, but he is probably in trouble here.

I always want to side with Mike Trout, but Chicago is simply the much scarier team.

The park and pitching promote the Under, but Chicago is the best bet in this one.

Astros vs. Athletics Predictions

  • Astros to beat Athletics
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

Will Houston bounce back and permanently make all of the cheating talk a thing of the past? They are still loaded offensively, so it’s entirely possible, and on Opening Day, they face Chris Bassitt.

That’s really not the guy you preferably turn to in this spot, while Oakland has to chip away at Zack Greinke.

I’m not afraid of the pitching on either side, but Houston feels a bit more reliable here. I like the Astros and considering this park historically works against homers, I’d also bet the Under.

Giants vs. Mariners Predictions

  • Mariners to beat Giants
  • Predicted total: 8-8.5

The last game of the night sees 2021 MLB Opening Day end with a whimper, as the Giants and Mariners lack pop or great pitching.

This is honestly a game best left avoided, but considering the weak offenses and pitcher-friendly park, the Under does stand out.

Best MLB Bets for Thursday, April 1st

  • Yankees to Win (-175)
  • Indians to Win (-155)

MLB betting sites take their time to release MLB Opening Day odds, but the pricing is slowly starting to trickle out.

However, probable pitchers are known for almost all of the teams, so I figured the earlier, the better to start breaking down these matchups and formulating bets.

My MLB predictions above should prove helpful, but as far as actual MLB picks go, New York (-175) and Cleveland (-155) stand out as solid values. I expect both to get wins, and you could do a lot worse in terms of pricing.

You can place other bets as MLB Opening Day odds pour in, and if I see more bets I love, I’ll update this section and include them.

Excited to bet on the MLB this year? Get ready for the return of baseball with more exciting MLB betting content below.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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