Opening day is ﬁnally here. It’s always hard to handicap the ﬁrst week of any baseball
season. What do you pay attention to? Do you just look at team acquisitions? Do you
pay attention to Spring Training? Do you look at speciﬁc match-ups? How about a
speciﬁc pitchers history vs a speciﬁc team?
In my opinion, its a little bit of everything rolled into one. The fewer relevant stats that
are available the more you’ve got to go with your gut and experience. For opening day,
the lines have been up since 8:30 AM PST this morning and they’ve already begun
moving against us (for the most part). Getting the best possible line in baseball is
crucial, but in a very different way than football or basketball. The spread doesn’t
move (with the exception of totals), but your bets can become more expensive or hold
less value with moneyline movements in the wrong direction. Most people don’t realize
that if every one of your bets jump from -110 to -125, it forces you to win an extra 3.18%
of your bets to break even. That may not seem like a lot, but when you’re betting every
day and grinding out an entire season, winning 56 games out of 100 is way different
than winning 53 games out of 100.
For me, I’ve got 3 accounts with 5Dimes, William Hill, and Station Casinos giving me a
greater opportunity to shop around. But enough small talk. To the ﬁrst plays of the
**1 Unit – Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (+118)
This line opened up this morning at +125 but has since moved in the wrong direction
(for us anyways). Jon Lester has killed it this spring giving up only 2 earned runs in 24
IP (0.75 ERA) while striking out 20. Even before this spring I was high on Lester for this
season so it only validates where he stands as the Sox ace. His counterpart in CC
Sabathia has been nursing his new surgically repaired elbow (removed bone
fragments) since October and his low 10 IP and 5.40 ERA this spring tells me he can’t
possibly be 100%.
Jump to the two offenses, New York is aging and riddled with injuries. For Monday’s
game; Granderson – OUT, Texeira – OUT, Jeter – Day to Day (unlikely to play), Hafner –
Day to Day (unlikely to play). That leaves us with the likes of Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix,
Eduardo Nunez, and Ben Francisco to respectively take their spots in the lineup. The
Sox are short David Ortiz but have the ﬁrepower to ﬁll the void with their new offseason
acquisitions. Seems like a no brainer at + odds. Contemplated a 1.5 unit play but it’s
still Opening Day in New York City and in no way will be a cake walk for the sox.
1 Unit – Detroit Tigers (-1.5) at Minnesota Twins (-125)
There’s 180 million reasons for this play, and I think anyone who’s got a pulse knows
who each of those reasons are pointing to. Justin Verlander is now the highest paid
pitcher in MLB history and rightfully so. He’s a past MVP, CY Young award winner, and
has World Series experience. That last point is another reason why this is a solid play
IMO. The last time Verlander pitched on a competitive stage was game one of the
2012 World Series where he had one of his worst outings of the year. He didn’t make it
past the fourth inning while giving up ﬁve earned runs. The Tigers would later get
swept in 4 with Verlander unable to even start a second game. With the new contract
behind him, you know he’s going to want to come out strong not only to make amends
for the last game he pitched; but to prove he’s worth the money as well.
Vance Worley on the other hand is a #3 starter at best had he been on a contending
team and won’t be able to subdue the defending American League champs. Outside
of Morneau, Mauer, and Willingham, the Twins simply don’t have the personal to go
punch for punch with the Tiger’s, regardless Verlander is on the mound or not.
1 Unit – St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (-105)
I Still have yet to bet this game because I think by tomorrow night we might be able to
get it at Under 9. Regardless it does or doesn’t, I still like the play at 8.5. I’m a little
bafﬂed as to why most the other totals on this card are at 7.5 or even less. Wainwright
sports a career 2.54 ERA in 10 games against Arizona who is now without the likes of
Chris Young and Justin Upton via trades.
Ian Kennedy has struggled against St. Louis in the past but this Cardinals team begins
the season with veterans David Freese and Rafael Furcal on the 15 day DL. With both
teams having fresh bullpens, this is the kind of game I see ﬁnishing in the 4-2 range.
Good luck, and lets start off Opening Day with a bang.
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