Happy Opening Day! We did it. We survived the long, cold offseason and will be rewarded with a ridiculously loaded 15-game slate on Thursday. With aces everywhere on this slate, there are so many bettable lines, and some great value out there. With that in mind, here are my favorite MLB bets to consider on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
Hell yeah baby, we’re not even going to wait until the season’s a minute old to get started. We’re getting down on game No. 1.
The Yankees were quietly bad against lefties last year with a wRC+ of just 97, and Hyun-Jin Ryu is about as tough as southpaws come. On top of that, they lost a key right-handed power bat in Luke Voit and replaced him with a lefty in Jay Bruce, which makes this matchup just a little bit more favorable for Ryu.
The Yankees should still punch across some runs in this one to get the win, but I don’t foresee an offensive explosion. On the other side, the Jays have a young, inexperienced lineup which went 0-2 against Gerrit Cole last year, mustering up just two runs on eight hits over 14 innings, and fanning 15 times. Cole should dominate once again, and it doesn’t hurt that we’ll have some pretty crummy overcast and cool weather in New York.
Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers
We’re already off the rails taking one of the biggest underdogs of the day, but hear me out!
The Indians were bad against lefties last year, ranking in the bottom third of the league in wRC+ against southpaws (OK, they were also bad against righties), but there are lefties all over this new lineup. Cleaning up? Big offseason signing Eddie Rosario, a lefty. The bottom four hitters? Two of them are lefties. The Indians may pick up the slack offensively, but I’d expect them to have a much easier time against right-handed pitching this year.
I’m not betting this one just on splits, I think the Tigers are a fantastic matchup against Shane Bieber. Detroit has quietly pieced together a pretty awesome lineup given it really didn’t spend any money at all, and aside from Willi Castro and Jonathan Schoop, none of these guys chase pitches, which should put the pressure on Bieber. He struggles when he faces hitters who make contact, giving up lots of hard-hit balls, and five hitters in this order had hard-hit rates above 40% last year. I like the Tigers’ chances of pulling the upset at home.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds
In today’s most potentially-useless, potentially-useful note, the Reds’ Opening Day games in each of the last two years have seen exactly eight runs scored. One of those was started by Sonny Gray, and one was started by today’s probable pitcher, Luis Castillo.
Now, I don’t necessarily expect Castillo to get shelled here, but against a good fastball-hitting lineup which is now centered around Nolan Arenado, who rarely strikes out, I think the Cardinals are a decent matchup here against Cincinnati. Jack Flaherty, on the other hand, is a huge regression candidate given his awful peripherals last year. Expect his 2020 expected batting average to tell the story of how his 2021 season goes, and for some of these mashers on the Reds to pop a few out. I think this can easily hit a super-low total.
All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jetsfan196) and I may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.