Which three MLB matchups have we decided to play on today?

It’s the first full week of the 2012 MLB season and with it comes several great baseball matchups and equally strong MLB betting opportunities.

New York Yankees (0-3) vs. Baltimore Orioles (3-0).

Yankees vs. OriolesGo figure. The Orioles are perfect while the New York Yankees are winless and trying to avoid just the third 0-4 start in franchise history. Baltimore, which will be looking to open 4-0 for the second consecutive season, is a +150 underdog with the total at 9.5. MLB odds boards opened the Bronx Bombers as -180 favorites for tonight’s 7:05 tilt at Oriole Park in Camden Yards.

Brian Matusz who earned the final spot in the rotation with a solid spring will go for the Birds. The Yanks will counter with Ivan Nova who was so bad during spring training (8.06 ERA in 22.1 innings) that he nearly lost his spot in the starting rotation.

Last season Matusz allowed 11 runs in 6 2-3 innings in two starts versus the Yankees. Nova was second on the team with 16 victories last season with a 3.70 ERA and 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA in four starts versus the Orioles.

The Yankees have won 13 of 18 against Baltimore each of the last three seasons with nine of the games playing to the high side.

Harvey’s Take: I’m playing the ‘over’ tonight. The Yankees bats are ready to erupt after a quiet opening weekend in TB and the Orioles are catching Nova at a good time. Play the ‘over’ at 9.5.

Washington Nationals (2-1) vs. New York Mets (3-0)

We’ll keep rolling with our “Big Apple” themed MLB picks as the Mets and Nats collide at 7:10 PM ET at Citi Field. Washington behind Edwin Jackson is listed at -105 while Mike Pelfrey and the Mets are priced at -101 in a game that’s a virtual pick.

Granted it’s just three games but both sides have to like what they’ve seen so far. You can’t blame New York Mets fans for being a little giddy. They haven’t been 3-0 in five years and the face of the franchise, David Wright, had a strong opening weekend going 6 for 9 with a home run. Lucas Duda homered twice for the Mets who are hitting .320 following their sweep of the Braves.

The Nationals, who are batting .202, will face a Mets pitching staff that has a 1.67 ERA. The Mets were 8-10 against the Nationals last season and dropped six of nine at Citi Field.  The first three games of the 2011 series which were played in New York all topped the total.

Jackson, who began his career with the Dodgers, pitched a no-hitter with the Diamondbacks and won a World Series title with the Cardinals last year. This will be his sixth team in four years. It makes you wonder why he doesn’t stay in one place very long but at least he’s working.

Pelfrey had a rough spring training posting a 7.62 ERA and last year was 7-13 and gave up 21 homers. He’s made 18 career starts against the Nats and is 4-7 with a 4.02 ERA.

Harvey’s Take: Pelfrey’s shown a dramatic regression over the past three years and in my book, he’s either fade or ‘over’ material. Tonight he gets the fade and the Nationals behind Jackson get the Benjamin’s.

Atlanta Braves (0-3) vs. Houston Astros (2-1)

The Atlanta Braves and Brandon Beachy (7-3, 3.68 ERA) try for their first win of the year when they visit J.A. Happ and the Houston Astros. First pitch is set for 8:05 PM ET at Minute Maid Park. Atlanta is favored by -163 with Houston lined at +157.

Braves vs. AstrosBefore the season began I told anyone who would listen that the Braves would be the fourth best team in the NL Eastern Division and based on the first weekend my forecast is right on.

For starters, I’m not convinced this group of players will ever recover from last year’s monumental September collapse. They blew a double-digit lead in the wild card race and lost to St. Louis which eventually won the World Series. Atlanta’s choke job forever altered the history of baseball or at least the 2011 season.

The Braves have gotten old, their starting pitching isn’t what it used to be and the teams in the division have gotten better.

Houston is still bad and will be for a long time. Next year, it will be the American League’s turn to take advantage of baseball’s worst team so Atlanta and the remainder of the NL need to strike while the irons hot.

The Braves totaled seven runs, 14 hits and 25 strikeouts at Citi Field in opening with three consecutive losses for the first time since 2003. They haven’t started 0-4 since losing 10 straight to begin 1988.

Harvey’s Take: Neither team has done much offensively to this point so I believe we’ll be safe with the ‘under’.

Good luck on all your MLB plays tonight.