Cancel your weekend plans through the fall, because baseball is back.
Barring more rainouts, MLB’s inaugural Saturday of the 2022 season also marks the first time all 30 teams are scheduled to play. That gives bettors plenty of options when sifting through the catalogs for their favorite wagers.
Most of us are still dusting off the cobwebs and gearing up for the new campaign. This may include the oddsmakers offering more favorable betting lines during the opening week. Let’s try to find some edges in a day jam-packed with baseball from afternoon to evening.
Dylan Cease Strikeouts
Dylan Cease emerged as a trendy preseason AL Cy Young Award pick. Much of that had to do with the righty tallying 226 strikeouts over 165.2 innings for a stupendous 31.9% K rate that ranked fifth among qualified starters.
Another point in the 26-year-old’s favor? He gets to beat up on the AL Central. Last year, he dominated the Tigers to a 1.17 ERA and 31 strikeouts in four starts, giving him 7.75 punchouts per turn. Although limited to five strikeouts in a four-inning season-finale against Detroit, he ended the season with at least seven strikeouts in half of his 32 starts.
The risk in taking the over on Cease’s strikeout prop is the White Sox abbreviated his debut. Last year, he didn’t complete five innings until his fifth start, during which he stockpiled nine strikeouts in seven scoreless frames against the Tigers. The matchup makes it a worthwhile gamble. Only the Cubs had a higher K rate against righties than Detroit last season. While the rebuilding squad bolstered its offense, those upgrades include the swing-happy Javier Báez.
Look for Cease to burst out of the gate with plenty of strikeouts at Comerica Park.
Pick: 7+ (+138 on FanDuel, Over 6.5 (+100 on DraftKings)
Red Sox vs. Yankees: O/U 9 or 9.5 Runs
Luis Severino is making his first start since September 28, 2019. While he looked sharp in four relief outings early last year, we don’t know what to reasonably expect from a 28-year-old who’s pitched 18 innings over the past three years.
The answer is probably a bite-sized start to dip his toes in the water. Yet the Yankees are favorites to defeat their arch-nemesis again after Friday’s 11-inning triumph. The oddsmakers are not showing much confidence in Nick Pivetta, who posted a 3.81 xERA underneath his 4.53 ERA and 175 strikeouts last year. That part is understandable. The righty’s fly-ball woes are a major concern at Yankee Stadium. While the Bronx Bombers don’t have too many lefties to exploit the short porch in right field, Pivetta has yielded a .475 slugging percentage to fellow righties over his career.
As you might be able to tell, this write-up started with plans on taking the Red Sox moneyline, currently +135 on DraftKings and +134 FanDuel. While that remains an enticing choice, a closer look makes another old-fashioned shootout between the Red Sox and Yankees a safer bet.
New York will likely tap into its bullpen early after using seven relievers yesterday. And the last time Pivetta pitched at this park, he got chased out in the second inning after relinquishing four runs. Look for a high-scoring affair that, in typical Yankees-Red Sox fashion, drags over four hours with too many pitching changes to count.
Bettors tempted by the Red Sox moneyline should consider a moneyline/run line parlay that comes out to +330 on DraftKings and +327 on FanDuel.
Pick: Over 9.5 (-102 on FanDuel), Over 9 (-120 on DraftKings)
Brewers and Dodgers: Moneyline Parlay
The Brewers and Dodgers are favored too much to wager either individually, but they’re also not the monumental favorites one would expect in their lopsided matchups.
Let’s start this off with a “You can’t predict baseball” disclaimer: The Cubs defeated Corbin Burnes and the Brew Crew on Opening Day. Anything can happen on any given day. But don’t count on lightning striking twice against Brandon Woodruff. The ace is coming off a spectacular season in which he twirled a 2.56 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and 211 strikeouts in 179.1 innings. He also started strong, ending May with a sterling 1.27 ERA.
Justin Steele, on the other hand, is a far more manageable opponent for a sneakily good Brewers lineup. The southpaw allowed a 4.95 ERA and .354 wOBA in nine starts this season, and Milwaukee can attack him with plenty of righties. Before Friday’s game out rained out, Andrew McCutchen, Willy Adames, Hunter Renfroe, Keston Hiura, and platoon specialist Mike Brosseau were in the starting lineup. (A Renfroe home run would be a fun side prop for +475 on DraftKings.)
You probably don’t need a big spiel about why the Dodgers should beat the Rockies. Yes, Colorado is sending ace German Márquez to the mound while the Dodgers are countering with Tony Gonsolin. But let’s not overthink this. The Dodgers bring a lineup you’d feel a little ashamed to build in MLB The Show to Coors Field. Even if Márquez holds his own, the dam could burst when the Rockies turn to their subpar bullpen. Los Angeles went 13-6 against Colorado last season, which is somehow not as good as one may have expected.
Trust these NL playoff squads to take care of business on the road.
Pick: Brewers and Dodgers (+172 on FanDuel, +171 on DraftKings)
Andrew Gould Overall Record: 0-0
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): $0
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)