Opening Day for Major League Baseball is just around the corner, so let's look at some of those matchups and others later in the season that are sure to pique the interest of bettors and fans.
It’s hard to think of two words baseball fans love to hear more than "Opening Day." And thanks to an earlier start to the 2018 season, fans and baseball bettors don’t have to wait as long to hear two more of their favorite words: Play ball!
The early start to the campaign comes because a few extra off days were built into the schedule, meaning fewer than five months will pass between Houston winning the 2017 World Series (Nov. 1) and 2018 Opening Day (March 29). For my money, this year’s best game right out of the gate takes place in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers will host the rival San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Giants' Madison Bumgarner are the expected starting pitchers, and we expect Kershaw to be favored for the 168th consecutive time -- a streak that began in July 2012.
Other interesting Opening Day games include the Chicago Cubs, an 8/1 choice on MLB futures to win the World Series, playing in Miami against the Marlins, who are expected to be the worst team in the NL; the defending champion Astros on the road against the rival Texas Rangers; and a battle between last year’s National League wild-card entries, the Colorado Rockies playing the Diamondbacks in Arizona.
Here are some schedule highlights that could be of interest when it's time for your MLB picks:World Series Rematches On Tap
Though there are exceptions, this season’s interleague schedule generally pits East on East, West vs. West and Central against Central. That will give us a chance to see rematches of the past two World Series, beginning with the Cubs in Cleveland to take on the Indians for two games on April 24-25. The Indians return the favor with a trip to Wrigley Field about a month later. The 2017 combatants get together just once when the Dodgers host the Astros in early August.Yankees Favored To Win 28th Crown
The New York Yankees are always in the spotlight, but that spotlight is even brighter this year after adding slugger Giancarlo Stanton to an already potent lineup. BetOnline has the Yankees top chalk at 5/1 to win it all on the baseball odds board, and they’ll begin the season in Toronto. The second full week of the schedule has New York in Boston for the first of six must-see series between the old rivals. Stanton faces his former team for the first time in mid-April when the Marlins visit the Yankees. The Bronx Bombers go to South Beach in August, and it will be interesting to see how Marlins fans treat Stanton in his first visit as the enemy.Kershaw-Bumgarner, Act 2?
Expected to face the Yankees in the Fall Classic are the defending NL champs from L.A. The Dodgers are -150 chalk to win their sixth consecutive NL West crown, and get a quick rematch with the Giants in San Francisco a week after renewing that rivalry on Opening Day, That means we could be in for a second Kershaw-Bumgarner clash within the first 10 days of the season. Los Angeles also has meetings with NL East favorite Washington in April and May, and they play the Cubs twice within a two-week period in June.