Free MLB Picks: Best 'Over'/'Under' Betting Trio For Monday's Openers

Matthew Jordan

Monday, April 4, 2016 3:45 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 4, 2016 3:45 PM UTC

Pitchers are supposed to be ahead of hitters early in the season. Here are three games around the majors on Monday where I would recommend betting the 'under' total with MLB odds.

Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians (Total of 6.5 On MLB odds)
Every team starts its ace on Opening Day (if he's healthy) but good luck finding a better pitching matchup than this one, which features Boston's David Price and Cleveland Corey Kluber. Price won the 2012 Cy Young Award with Tampa Bay and was a runner-up last season while splitting time with Detroit and then Toronto. He got a massive seven-year, $217 million deal in free agency from the Red Sox, whose rotation was a disaster in 2015. Boston's personnel new boss? That would be Dave Dombrowski.

He was the guy who acquired Price from Tampa Bay in 2014 with Detroit and then sent him to the Blue Jays last summer, only for the Tigers to turn around and fire Dombrowski just a few days later. Price's contract was the largest ever awarded to a pitcher. The lefty was 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA last season. He faced the Indians four times, going 2-1 with a 1.27 ERA and one complete game.

Price whiffed 30 guys in 28.1 innings. Kluber won the 2014 AL Cy Young Award and had a good 3.49 ERA last season but just a 9-16 record because of terrible run support. His WHIP of 1.05 was actually better than his Cy Young season (1.09). Kluber struck out 245 batters in 222.0 innings in 2015. He faced the Red Sox twice and was 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA over 14.0 innings.

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Chicago White Sox vs. Oakland A's (Total of 6.5 In MLB Betting)
Another spectacular pitching matchup here between the early AL betting favorite for the 2016 Cy Young in White Sox' lefty Chris Sale against Oakland's Sonny Gray, a guy many think could be traded by the July 31 deadline with the A's likely going nowhere this season and in rebuilding mode. Oakland GM Billy Beane keeps saying he's keeping Gray, but he would get a massive haul of prospects for the 26-year-old. Gray was 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA last season, allowing only 166 hits in 208.0 innings. 

Gray was  third in the Cy Young voting. He was roughed up in his one start last year against the White Sox but that was a fluke as Chicago was one of the worst offensive teams in the majors. The Sox will have four new every-day starters this season, however, in center fielder Austin Jackson, third baseman Todd Frazier, shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Brett Lawrie.

The latter was acquired in an offseason trade with Oakland. Sale, meanwhile, was 13-11 with a 3.41 ERA last year. His 274 strikeouts led the American League and set a franchise record. Sale didn't face Oakland. Sale made big news this spring when he publicly ripped team president Kenny Williams for allegedly lying to the players about the whole Adam LaRoche affair.

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Chicago Cubs vs. Los Angeles Angels (Total of 7 For MLB picks)
Interleague matchup, meaning the Cubs will add the designated hitter with the game in the American League park. That would be Kyle Schwarber, who normally would play left field (where he's terrible defender so this is an ideal lineup for the Cubs). The Cubs start reigning NL Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. He was 22-6 (leading the majors in wins) with a 1.77 ERA in 2015 and had the best second half of a season of any pitcher ever.

Arrieta was 12-1 with a 0.75 ERA in 107 1/3 innings over his final 15 starts. He also threw a complete-game shutout in the wild-card game at Pittsburgh but did appear to tire in the NLDS against the Cardinals and NLCS vs. the Mets. Arrieta threw 229 innings in the regular season, eclipsing his previous high of 156 2/3 in 2014. The Angels counter with Garrett Richards. He was 15-12 with a 3.65 ERA last year. At home, he was 10-4 with a 2.92 ERA. Most Cubs haven't seen him in regular-season action because he's in the AL. 

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