OPENING DAY IS FINALLY HERE! After a tumultuous extended offseason, we have officially reached one of the greatest, if not the greatest, days of the year. While the weather may have put a bit of a damper on Opening Day 2022 with a few cancellations, the excitement surrounding the beginning of baseball season is palpable nonetheless. While fans of teams embrace Opening Day with optimism that their team will not disappoint them this season, bettors too share the optimism that comes with being 0-0. After all, nobody starts the season in the red. So here are a few bets to get you started off in the green on Opening Day.
This season, I have decided to treat you readers to four bets in each article under the following parameters: 1) A ML or spread bet on a team, 2) A bet on a total, 3) A batter prop bet, 4) and a pitcher prop bet. Hopefully this diversification will lead to success in our wagers (but probably not).
Reds @ Braves Moneyline
You better believe that we are starting off the 2022 MLB season with a gargantuan upset. The Atlanta Braves were your 2021 World Series Champions and good for them yeah, yeah, blah, blah blah. We don’t care anymore, this is 2022. Not only am I anticipating a bit of a World Series hangover for the Braves, but they no longer have superstar baseball player and person Freddie Freeman on the roster. Ronald Acuña Jr. also will not be playing in this game as he is still recovering from his season-ending injury.
The Reds decided that they didn’t want to win too much this year and shipped off numerous assets, including Sonny Gray, Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suárez. But there is still a fair amount of talent here, including starter Tyler Mahle. The 27-year old has evolved into one of the more reliable pitchers in the National League and his 2021 season featured a very nice 19.2% K-BB% and 3.80 FIP. I can see Mahle outperforming Max Fried, who is extremely talented but might have been a little overworked in last year’s playoff run. With 2021 NL Rookie of the Year Jonathan India and the timeless Joey Votto at the top of the lineup, the Reds do enough to steal an Opening Day victory away from the defending champs.
Pick: Reds ML (+155 DK, +156 FD)
Brewers @ Cubs Total Runs O/U 9.5
Wrigley Field is a legendary and prestigious baseball experience that every MLB fan should get an opportunity to visit at some point in their life. But early April baseball at Wrigley Field is downright miserable and quite frankly just not fun. Temperatures in the low 40’s, a light chilling rain that will lock up your bones, and blustering 20 MPH wind that will make you yearn for the indoors. This does not make for good offensive baseball.
On top of the weather conditions, we have two experienced Opening Day starters facing a pair of pedestrian NL Central lineups. Corbin Burnes has cemented himself as an elite SP and he gets a Cubs lineup that is a shell of its former World Series self. In three starts against Chicago last season, Burnes struck out 36 batters in 20 innings and stacked two wins with a 1.35 ERA. He will be dominant on Thursday. Kyle Hendricks is coming off by far the worst season of his career, but he is still a crafty pitcher that knows how to get batters out. The Brewers may be able to scratch across a few runs, but this 9.5 total is simply way too high when you combine these pitchers and weather conditions.
Pick: UNDER 9.5 (-125 DK, -140 FD)
Dylan Carlson Total Bases O/U 1.5
Anybody who drafted with me in any of my fantasy baseball leagues this year knows my love for Dylan Carlson (which as a Pirates fan, is saying a lot). While Tyler O’Neill rightfully got all the attention for his breakout last season, this is going to be the year of Dylan Carlson. A former top prospect with excellent plate discipline, Carlson really started hitting the ball with authority in the 2nd half of 2021 (.227 ISO compared to .134 in first half). On Opening Day the Cardinals get Pirates starter JT Brubaker, who struggled to limit home runs and hard contact in 2021 (22.4% HR/FB and 35.2% Hard Contact). 1.5 total bases should be accomplished in just one at-bat for Carlson and everything on top of that is going to be gravy.
Pick: OVER 1.5 (+140 DK, +140 FD)
Adam Wainwright to Record a Win
Piggybacking on Carlson’s success, I think the Cardinals are in for an Opening Day victory against my lowly, sad, sad, depressing, sad Pirates. I really hope I am wrong, but Adam Wainwright on the mound almost never spells success for Pittsburgh. Wainwright put together a remarkable 2021 season, winning 17 games at age 39. Four of those wins came against the Pirates and they weren’t cheapies either. In 30 innings against Pittsburgh last season, Wainwright allowed just 1 ER (0.30 ERA) and 15 baserunners (0.50 WHIP). Hard to dominate a team much more than that. I don’t see much changing on Opening Day and this seems like the easiest +160 bet on the market.
Pick: Wainwright to Record a Win (+160 DK)
Kyle Stanzel Overall Record: 0-0-0
Net Money (Assuming all wagers are $100): $0.00
Featured image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)