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MLB Picks for Opening Day: Baseball Best Bets, Predictions, Odds on DraftKings Sportsbook

Garion Thorne gives his best bets on DraftKings Sportsbook for Thursday’s Opening Day MLB betting card.

We’re back! Though we had the World Baseball Classic to help us get through the winter, I’m jonesing for some regular season MLB action, and we’ll get 15 games of the stuff we crave on Thursday. Opening Day is here and I couldn’t be more excited.

Of course, meaningful baseball is made that much more meaningful when you’ve got a couple bets on the go. I’ve been very successful in this space the past few seasons, and I hope to keep the winning coming in 2023.

Let’s dive in on the diamond.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.

Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals

First 5: Braves Over 2.5 Runs (+100)

Let’s start 2023 with a tactic that consistently came through in 2022: Picking on Patrick Corbin. The Nationals’ lefty was arguably the worst pitcher in baseball last season, finishing the year in the bottom one percent of qualified arms in opponent expected slugging (.520), opponent expected wOBA (.381) and expected ERA (6.41). Corbin will be 34-years-old in July and he just looks cooked. There weren’t even any small positives in his Spring Training numbers, as the veteran surrendered 21 hits and nine earned runs across an 18.0 inning sample. Don’t overthink this. Corbin’s quite bad.

Conversely, the Braves are an offensive machine. The pieces aren’t entirely the same — they lost William Contreras and lefty-smasher Adam Duvall during the offseason — but Atlanta ranked second in wOBA (.341) and third in OPS (.782) versus southpaws in 2022. They’ll also welcome back a healthy Ozzie Albies, who has managed to slash .328/.357/.561 with a 139 wRC+ in his 705 career plate appearances within the split. Talk about the rich getting richer.

Detroit Tigers at Tampa Bay Rays

Eduardo Rodriguez Over 3.5 Strikeouts (-125)

This feels too low, right? Rodriguez had a very odd season in 2022 for a number of reasons, not the least of which was an absurdly low 18.4% strikeout rate for the context of his career. Still, despite that disturbingly mediocre figure, Rodriguez managed to strikeout at least four opponents in 10 of the 16 starts where he made it out of the first inning. Maybe more importantly, the left-hander looked far more like his usual self in Spring Training, registering 21 strikeouts in 18.1 frames. His 1.47 ERA wasn’t too shabby, either.

What was that usual self? Well, from 2018 to 2021, Rodriguez averaged 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings with a 26.1% strikeout rate that was higher than Luis Castillo’s and Corey Kluber’s within the same frame. Considering that the Rays ranked in the bottom-half of the league in strikeout rate last season (23.2%) with baseball’s seventh-highest swinging strike rate (11.8%), I’d imagine Rodriguez easily hits the over on this prop.

Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

Angels -1.5 (-120)

Might as well start betting against the Athletics right off the hop. I truly believe this team is on a path to absolute futility in 2023. I’m strongly considering betting them to finish with 51 wins or fewer at +500 on the DraftKings Sportsbook. The lineup is atrocious and the rotation is underwhelming at best — particularly with Paul Blackburn (finger) set to start the season on the IL. That’s how someone like Kyle Muller draws an Opening Day assignment. Muller has some prospect pedigree and a decent fastball, but he’s also pitched to a 5.14 ERA with a 13.1% walk rate in his 12 MLB appearances. He allowed 30 opponent hits in his 18.0 Spring Training innings, too.

Meanwhile, Muller will be opposed on the mound (and in the batter’s box) by Shohei Ohtani and a healthy Angels squad. That last part is massive. Mike Trout is good to go. So is Anthony Rendon. Plus, that trio will now be surrounded by legitimate above replacement-level bats, including the likes of Hunter Renfroe, Brandon Drury and Gio Urshela. I’m afraid to say that I sort of like Los Angeles. Even if that might be flawed logic in the long-term, it’s perfectly acceptable on Thursday. Ohtani’s 2.40 FIP was the third-lowest qualified mark in baseball in 2022. He’s an ace. The Angels should win this one handily.

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theglt13) 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.