Find out who we are backing with our opening day MLB picks.
Baseball is back! There are seven MLB matchups on tap for us, with
Boston's opener in Detroit looking like the best of the bunch.
Here are the top MLB picks I like for today.
Chicago Cubs (Dempster) vs. Washington Nationals
Game start: 2:20 PM EST
The reign of Theo Epstein as general manager begins as the
Cubs open their season with a home game against the Nationals. After a brutal
71-91 season and a change at manager, the rebuilding project will be
considerable, but I still believe there to be good MLB betting value on Chicago today.
The Nationals trot out Stephen Strasburg against a Cubs
lineup that lost Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena. Alfonso Soriano, who belted six
home runs in Spring Training, will be called upon to do even more now that he
provides practically all of the power for this young team.
I'm also expecting Geovany Soto to bounce back this season
after batting just .228 last year – he's had a great Spring and hasn't had two
bad campaigns in a row through his career. The Cubs will also be looking for
good things from starting shortstop Starlin Castro, as well as Bryan LaHair,
who hit 38 homers with 109 RBI in Triple A last season.
Strasburg is an ace when healthy, but Ryan Dempster has
proven he can get the job done too. He had an off year in 2010/11, but did
allow only only one run over seven innings in his sole meeting against the
Chicago, despite their worst overall record since 2006, was
close to even at home and I think the rowdy atmosphere at Wrigley can spur them
on to an opening day win.
PICK: Chicago Cubs +143 (Bookmaker)
Cleveland Indians (Masterson) vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Game start: 3:05 PM EST
My second favored play is on another home underdog in the
MLB odds. This time I like the Indians to start off the season right with a
victory over the Blue Jays.
Injuries destroyed Cleveland's season last year and the
Indians are hopeful they can stay relatively healthy and make a charge for the
AL Central crown. Shin-Soo Choo and Travis Hafner are back at full health and
together with Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana, the Indians are stacked in
the middle of their batting order. Just imagine when Grady Sizemore returns
Offensive production won't be an issue for Cleveland, but I
do worry about their pitching staff. The Indians will really need the Ubaldo
Jimenez of old to show up as that would provide them with a terrific one-two
punch at the top of the rotation.
Justin Masterson is the opening day starter for Cleveland
and he comes up against Ricky Romero. Masterson is coming off the best season
of his career, in which he went 12-10 with a 3.21 ERA.
Romero meanwhile is just 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three career
starts against the Indians. I will therefore be adding Cleveland to my sports picks, who went
44-37 at Progressive Field last season, to start things off with a win.
PICK: Cleveland Indians +114 (Pinnacle)