By: Scott Hoyt @ScottyyDoesKnow & @Vegas_Analytics
MLB Opening Weekend is finally upon us! After months of being in the unknown about the 2020 season, we finally have reached the finish line and can start watching legitimate baseball games. This also means we can start to bet on legitimate baseball games!! If you are like me, you have been scratching at the bit to throw down some bets and get an edge on the bookies. This article is meant to give you insight on some upcoming games and give you some things that we think you should know if you plan on betting these games.
Hoyt’s Hot Takes v1 #HHT
Opening night welcomes the World Series favorite Los Angeles Dodgers vs The San Francisco Giants. This bitter rivalry gets a jolt by playing on national TV on opening night. The Dodgers are the obvious favorite here at -290 favorites. I am surprised the lines are not higher given how uneven these teams are. But it is Opening Night and anything can happen, so I am not laying the juice on that end.
I would look at the total which you can get o8 for around (-110) or even o7.5 for (-120). The Giants are throwing vet Johnny Cueto out to face the potent Dodgers lineup. With the added DH I think the Dodgers can easily put up 6-7 runs while the Giants should be able to muster up something. o7.5 (-120) 5Dimes
Another solid matchup between two teams with playoff aspirations and expectations. We also get to see two of the NL’s better pitchers in Jacob deGrom and Mike Soroka go head to head. I think this will be a lower scoring game but I am not confident in u7. Both teams have lineups that can do damage in a hurry. Both of these teams will battle it out all year but at the end of the day I believe the Braves are the better team and have what it takes to overcome deGrom.
As good as deGrom has been in his career, he routinely fails to get run support from his offense and I think that is going to be the case in this one. The back of the Mets bullpen will be under a microscope after all the money invested and I certainly wouldn’t trust them to hold a lead for me.
Braves ML (+127) 5Dimes
If you would’ve told me that it was going to be Nathan Eovaldi vs Tommy Milone on opening day, I would’ve laughed in your face. But here we are. The Red Sox still have a potent line up littered with perennial All-Stars. While the Orioles lost key pieces in Trey Mancini and Jonathan Villar, I expect the Red Sox to tee off on Orioles Starter Tommy Milone, who is a weak throwing lefty. Meanwhile Nasty Nate has looked good in summer camp with the extra time off. The o/u for this game is one of the highest this opening weekend.
Obviously I am not taking that juiced of a ML for the Red Sox at (-220) but the RL is in play at -1.5 (-120). The Orioles lack of arms is even worse than the Red Sox situation which is saying A LOT. The Red Sox bats should provide enough wiggle room for a comfortable opening night victory.
The Cubbies open up at home against the BrewCrew in an NL Central showdown. This game is interesting for me as I think the Brewers are the better team overall but are underdogs being on the road. The pitching matchup of Kyle Hendricks and Brandon Woodruff is a wash for me, while the Brewers have the better line up and bullpen. You can also get +1 for the Brewers at a decent price of (-134) at 5Dimes. Another bet that I like in this game is F5 Brewers +.5 (-125) at Mybookie. I think this is going to be a low scoring game through the F5 and this gives the Brewers the cushion of the tie.
I like the Brewcrew to continue where they left off last season and establish their dominance in the NL Central. I’m taking them to win this game outright at plus odds. I don’t trust the Cubs bullpen and David Ross has to prove he can manage a team before I lay juice on them for opening day. Brewers ML (+115) 5Dimes
Rays/ Blue Jays
The Blue Jays are in a tough spot as they still don’t have a place to play at home. Good thing for them, they open up on the road to face the sneaky Rays. Savvy Vet Charlie Morton takes the ball for the Rays as they want to start their quest for the playoffs again on the right foot. They were close to taking out the Astros in last year’s playoff and opened up some eyes around the league. While the Jays have a ton of young potential, it will be interesting to see how they handle opening day. No fans might make that transition harder for them as Bo Bichette has looked spectacular early. The thing that will be worthy of a close eye this year is how the Jays manage their rotation and bullpen. Obvious advantage for the Rays is their arms in this one both up front and on the back end.
While I love what the Blue Jays have put together with young talent in their line up, they simply don’t have enough quality arms for me. While the Rays ML is a little too juiced for my liking at (-155) at 5Dimes, I like the alternate -1 line at a much better price. Rays -1 (-110) 5dimes
The World Champion Nationals welcome in the Bronx Bombers to kickstart the 2020 MLB season. The Nationals will have some new faces around the diamond with Anthony Rendon departing for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Ryan Zimmerman opting to sit out the shortened season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Yankees on the other hand get to trot out their shiny new toy in Gerrit Cole. The Yankee lineup remains virtually unchanged but Mad Max won’t care who’s in the batter’s box against him. I know 2015 was the last time Scherzer faced the Yankees but his team is 6-3 SU (+4.5 units). I like what the Nats have done with their lineup. Eric Thames at 1B, Starlin Castro at 2nd and young prospect Carter Kieboom at 3B. The Nats also have some capable arms in the bullpen and with Aroldis Chapman still sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, I’m going to buck the trend and back the home dog here. Nats ML (+122) Bookmaker
You might be wondering how this game made it on the list and to be honest, I was surprised about it myself. What I can tell you is that with this game, somebody knows something about something. The Detroit Tigers opened as (+185) dogs and it seems the money is flowing in their direction with current odds at (+168). I created this opening day matchup between Matthew Boyd and Sonny Gray in my MLB model and sure enough this line was definitely inflated. There’s still value at the current number and I would play Detroit all the way down to (+150). A quick look at the Tigers lineup suggests the addition of Jonathan Schoop and C.J Cron should give Miggy some added protection. Cameron Maybin’s return should also help their lineup and he’s still a more than capable glove in the outfield. As for the Reds, the punditry world is high on the guys they brought in but not yours truly. Is it just me or did they overpay for Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas who both got (4 years, $64MM)? I still like this pitching staff but let’s not rush to make the Reds 2:1 favorites against just about anybody in the big show. It’s a dog or pass for this bettor. Give me the Tigers to get it done in Great American Ballpark. Detroit ML (+168) 5Dimes
Alright, I had to do it. This one goes out to all the chalk inhaling lovers out there. Let’s be honest the Royals are an utter disaster. It’s amazing that this is the franchise that kept my Mets from winning a third World Series Championship. Enough of that. Stay focused. Listen I couldn’t pick two guys out of the Royals lineup. Okay maybe I could pick out three but no more. Baseball Prospectus has the Royals finishing dead last in the Central. Think about that for a minute. They’ve got the Tigers who won 47 games last year just a notch ahead of the Royals. That should tell you all that you need to know about this team. I’m sure Danny Duffy is a nice guy but I don’t know how long that’s going to last when he sees that his team can’t get him any run support. Last season Duffy had a 4.78 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching), which isn’t terrible. The guy he’s going up against in Shane Bieber had a 3.32 FIP. That’s a pretty significant difference. This game’s got run line written all over it for me which means less juice that we’d have to pay out. Take the Indians to win by margin in Progressive Field on Friday. Indians RL (-108) Bookmaker
What a treat to start the 2020 season with these two teams squaring off on Friday. The Twins won the division last year by 8 games and the White Sox are a trendy team that’s getting a lot of buzz right now. White Sox starter Lucas Giolito is a dog against the Twins and their right-hander Jose Berrios. At first glance I’d be looking to back the home dog in this spot but I wanted to check the database to see what I might find and I’m sure glad I did. The White Sox were actually 1-7 SU in Giolito’s starts as a home dog in 2019. If you backed Gio in all eight games you would be down -5.5 units. Next I wanted to query the matchup in my model and yet again I couldn’t find any support for the home dog. My model gives an edge to the Twins and when you combine that with Gio’s history as a home dog it’s pretty clear to me which is the right side. Minny gets it done on the road in the South side of Chicago. Twins ML (-110) 5Dimes
Here’s another one for the chalky bandits out there. Houston is almost a 3:1 favorite against the Mariners in this spot. I’m sure you’re wondering why we would even consider this matchup but there’s lots of reasons. For one, we can dig into some of these obscure teams that are tucked away in the pacific time zone. Two, if you’re looking for a game to sprinkle on top of a parlay, this one’s for you. Seattle will send out Marco Gonzales to take on the Houston Astros who will look to turn the page from a scandal that rocked the baseball world. Gonzales went 0-4 SU (-4 units) against the Astros last year and 1-3 on the runline (-2 units). Conversely, Verlander was 5-0 SU (+5 units) and 2-3 on the RL (-1.64 units). I had a feeling the numbers were this lopsided but it always helps to consult the trusty database. As mentioned, I wouldn’t play this as a side. But if you have a parlay that you’re considering or looking to add a leg to one that’s already existing, this is the game for you. I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that the Astros are going to do everything they can to prove that their recent success was anything but a fluke.
Astros ML (-285) 5Dimes