Rivals Crank It Up In Bronx Matinee
We got our first taste of the MLB betting campaign Sunday evening in Houston where Lone Star State rivals officially got things underway. Now we get the real Opening Day atmosphere with coast-to-coast action all day long and late into the night.
It all begins with archrivals colliding for a 1 PM (ET) start in the Bronx. The New York Yankees will have their big man on the mound in CC Sabathia who opened as -130 to -140 chalk on the live odds at SBR. That number has been cut down to -109 at 5Dimes on their morning lines, -101 for the Boston Red Sox who give the ball to Jon Lester.
The 2,119th regular season meeting between the two comes after bookending the AL East a year ago, New York winning its 17th division crown while Boston finished in the basement. The Yankees held a 13-5 edge in 2012 clashes and have won eight of the last 12 played in the Big Apple. There's an overwhelming feeling that the Red Sox have but one direction to go this year, and that's up, and the same consensus for New York having only one direction to go, down.
The Yanks allowed Sabathia to enjoy a leisurely spring and all signs point to CC being more than ready to go despite the light work. Lester was outstanding for the BoSox leading into the campaign, logging 24 official exhibition innings with a 0.75 ERA.
I liked the OVER before I saw the weather forecast, and I'm still playing it that way. It is going to be a blustery, cool day and there should be some help for balls going out to right-center. Yanks and BoSox OVER 8 (-102) is the first of my free picks today.
Read another cappers free picks for this matchup.
Cain & Kershaw Clash At Chavez Ravine
Clear across the Lower 48 in Los Angeles, another bitter rivalry is renewed when the Dodgers host the World Champion San Francisco Giants. The lowest total for the first full day of MLB odds is set at 6 runs as Matt Cain gets the assignment for the Giants vs. LA's Clayton Kershaw.
MLB odds started with LA a -145 favorite, and that figure has inched up to -150 and higher Monday morning. The contest is an early-afternoon start at Dodger Stadium (4 PM ET), and part of ESPN's all-day coverage.
Despite the Giants winning their second World Series in three years, it's the Dodgers who hogged the publicity this winter and enter 2013 as the 3/1 favorites to win the NL Pennant. San Francisco (13/2) is fourth behind Washington (7/2) and Cincinnati (4/1).
Both starting pitchers produced ho-hum spring stats, but steadily ramped up for this matchup with better results towards the end of camp. Cain posted a sparkling 2.73 ERA in four assignments vs. LA last year, but the Giants lost three of the four nonetheless. Likewise, Kershaw was brilliant vs. the Giants in 2012 with a sub-2.00 ERA in five starts, yet he and the Dodgers came away with a 2-3 record.
Partly cloudy and the mid-60s is the forecast, maybe a little SW push to the breeze to help balls going out to right, right-center. I'm playing it square on the UNDER 6.
Upton Brothers Make Atlanta Debuts Vs. Phillies
Returning east on Day 1, it's an NL East battle in Atlanta where the Braves host the Philadelphia Phillies. The two rivals are seen as the toughest competition Washington will face for the division flag, and a wild-card berth could very well come down to how they perform against each other.
The first of 19 meetings this season starts a little past 7 PM (ET), and features Cole Hamels on the hill for the visitors while Tim Hudson chunks for the home nine. The Braves are pegged as -117 favorites (Phils +107) and the 7 run total leans OVER (-113).
It's the first time the clubs have opened against one another since 2007, and the Braves ruled the series a year ago by a 12-6 margin. Philadelphia did hold its own in Atlanta, going 4-5, and the Phillies are 67-68 at Turner Field since the park opened in 1997.
The weatherman calls for a nice, cool evening in Peach City, and my pick will be on Hamels as and the Phils as small road pups.
My Fre MLB picks: Red Sox/Yankees Over 8 (-102), Giants/Dodgers Under 6 (+105), Phillies +107 at 5Dimes
Season: 0-1 (-$1.00)