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It has been almost five months since the Houston Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in last year’s World Series, and now it's Opening Day in 2023. Read on for our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Thursday based on the best MLB odds.

It is customary on Opening Day for all teams to throw their aces, but we are witnessing a historically star-studded slate of pitchers on Thursday. Per Sarah Langs on Twitter, eight former Cy Young Award winners are scheduled to throw for their teams today, the second-most of all-time, trailing the nine Cy Young hurlers that threw for their teams on Opening Day in 2016.

Here are our top MLB prop picks and best bets for Thursday (odds via MLB betting sitesDraftKings and Wynn; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Thursday’s MLB schedule and odds

(odds via DraftKings)

  • Atlanta Braves (-255) vs. Washington Nationals (+215)
  • San Francisco Giants (+160) vs. New York Yankees (-190)
  • Baltimore Orioles (+105) vs. Boston Red Sox (-125)
  • Milwaukee Brewers (-140) vs. Chicago Cubs (+120)
  • Detroit Tigers (+200) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (-240)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (+115) vs. Texas Rangers (-135)
  • Minnesota Twins (-155) vs. Kansas City Royals (+135)
  • New York Mets (-125) vs. Miami Marlins (+105)
  • Pittsburgh Pirates (+120) vs. Cincinnati Reds (-140)
  • Toronto Blue Jays (-115) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (-105)
  • Colorado Rockies (+185) vs. San Diego Padres (-215)
  • Chicago White Sox (+135) vs. Houston Astros (-155)
  • Los Angeles Angels (-210) vs. Oakland Athletics (+180)
  • Arizona Diamondbacks (+145) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (-170)
  • Cleveland Guardians (+100) vs. Seattle Mariners (-120)

Thursday’s MLB best bets

  • Player prop: Anthony Volpe Under 0.5 hits vs. Giants (+110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: Max Scherzer to record a win vs. Marlins (+160 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Player prop: Ozzie Albies Over 1.5 total bases vs. Nationals (-105 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Moneyline: Guardians ML vs. Mariners (+105 via Wynn) ⭐⭐⭐

Check out our Shohei Ohtani player props picks for Thursday!

Thursday’s MLB prop picks

Player prop: Anthony Volpe Under 0.5 hits vs. Giants (+110 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐

Volpe, the Yankees’ top prospect, earned an Opening Day start after slashing .309/.415/.618 with three home runs in spring training. However, while many are convinced he will break onto the scene much like Derek Jeter did on Opening Day of his 1996 rookie year by hitting a home run, that is a big ask of someone who has played only 22 games above the Double-A level. In addition, this is a three-star play, as manager Aaron Boone suggested it is likely that Volpe will be hitting ninth in the batting order to start the season, which means he may only see three total at-bats. 

DraftKings is somewhat tipping its hand here since Volpe’s Hits+Runs+RBI prop is juiced to -180 on the Under 1.5. And since Caesars offers only +100 odds for the same Under 0.5 hits wager, DraftKings is our preferred sportsbook.

Player prop: Max Scherzer to record a win vs. Marlins (+160 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

While the Mets are only -120 moneyline favorites as they face the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner on the road on Opening Day, this wager is not only a fade of Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara but also a vote of confidence that Scherzer will continue to use the new pitch clock rules to his advantage.

We have seen several players who played in the World Baseball Classic overexert themselves to the point of injury, and we expect Alcantara to start slow after getting roughed up by Venezuela in a WBC start (three runs in 3 2/3 innings on 62 pitches). In addition, despite leading the league in innings pitched (228 2/3), batters faced (886), and complete games (six) last year, the Marlins were cautious with Alcantara early in the season. He pitched into the seventh inning just once in his first six starts of 2022. 

Meanwhile, in reference to the new pitch clock rules, Scherzer was quoted as saying, “I can work extremely quick. And I can work extremely slow. There’s another layer here to be able to mess with the hitter’s timing.” 

Scherzer has a career .750 winning percentage against Miami and has not lost to the Marlins since 2021. In addition, the Mets are the second-most profitable team on Opening Day since 2005 (13-5, plus-6.1 units), which has us confidently backing Scherzer to record a win.

Player prop: Ozzie Albies Over 1.5 total bases vs. Nationals (-105 via DraftKings) ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Patrick Corbin is starting for the Washington Nationals, so we had to get involved with an Atlanta Braves hitter to have a big day. Corbin went 6-19 with a 6.31 ERA in 2022, marking the second consecutive season he had an ERA over 5.50. Albies has owned Corbin, slashing .429/.448/.929 in 28 career at-bats against him. The .929 slugging percentage is the fifth-highest of any player on Thursday's slate with at least 10 at-bats against the opposing pitcher. 

Seven of Albies’ 12 hits against Corbin have gone for extra bases, which means this wager will likely cash with Albies’ first hit. He has as high as -230 odds at FanDuel to record at least one hit, and Caesars is so confident he will do so that it set his O/U at 1.5 hits. Thus, this is a solid four-star play as we ignore Corbin’s 3.86 ERA through four starts in spring training.

Check out our Giants vs. Yankees predictions and our guide to betting with MLB's rule changes

Thursday’s MLB game picks

Moneyline: Guardians ML vs. Mariners (+105 via Wynn) ⭐⭐⭐

Seattle starting pitcher Luis Castillo is coming off his second career All-Star nomination after posting a career-best 2.99 ERA. However, his ERA, WHIP, hits per nine innings, and home runs per nine innings allowed were all higher in 11 starts after being traded to the Seattle Mariners than in his 14 starts with the Cincinnati Reds.

In addition, his 4.58 career ERA and 1.350 WHIP in 18 starts between March and April are his second-worst of any month, and his 8.7 K/9 rate is the lowest by almost a full strikeout compared to all other months of the season. 

Conversely, Cleveland Guardians ace Shane Bieber has allowed zero earned runs in two of his three career Opening Day starts while accumulating 30 strikeouts in 16 2/3 innings. Thus, Bieber’s history of success and the fact that Castillo is a slow starter have us confident in backing the defending AL Central champions as underdogs.  

MLB best bets made 3/30/2023 at 6:24 a.m. ET.

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