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Welp, this 1st two days of the MLB have sucked for yours truly and now I need a rally so I don’t have to “settle” next week. After a weird 5-game slate Friday, the MLB is back with a fully loaded Saturday card.
It’s going to be a long season so there’s no way I’m tapping out after a 1-3 start to 2023. Fade or follow my looks in the Angels-Athletics, Pirates-Reds, and Rockies-Padres.
Los Angeles Angels (0-1) at Oakland Athletics (1-0), 4:07 p.m. ET
The Angels came out Opening Day in mid-season form. They lost to the A’s 2-1 in Oakland on Thursday despite getting a gem on the rubber from Shohei Ohtani.
He went 1-for-3 at the plate vs. Oakland but Ohtani needs to hit home runs if he wants to win. It’s cruel and hopefully Ohtani escapes the Angels’ dumpster-fire.
Per usual, LAA was getting love in the futures market in spring training. They were a sleeper pick to make the playoffs and/or win the AL West.
Angels vs. Athletics Odds (DraftKings Sportsbook)
One of the reasons Twitter MLB bettors like the Angels was their improved pitching staff. With that in mind, LAA starting LHP Patrick Sandoval is a legit No. 2.
Sandoval’s off-speed stuff is nasty with a lot of movement. He cut his HR% in half last season and ranked in the top-quarter of MLB in barrel rate, whiff rate, and exit velocity, according to Statcast.
Sandoval is 1-0 in three April starts in his career with 0 ERs allowed and a 20/6 K/BB rate. He is 1-1 in four career starts in Oakland over 20 2/3 IP. Sandoval has a 0.87 ERA and a 17/8 K/BB rate in those games.
LAA’s most likely path to a loss would be a no-show from their lineup. That’s the risk you run with betting on the Angels. The A’s started a lefty Opening Day and Saturday send out rookie RHP Shintaro Fujinami.
The Angels hit righties better than lefties last season and Fujinami wasn’t a Japanese prospect that a lot of MLB teams bid for. In fact, he didn’t even pitch for Team Japan in the World Baseball Classic.
I’ll lay the lumber with the Angels because I’m high on Sandoval and Fujinami figures to be a below-average No. 2 starter.
BET: Angels -1.5 (+100) Run Line at DraftKings, up to -110
Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0) at Cincinnati Reds (0-1), 4:10 p.m. ET
After picking the Reds to beat the Pirates on Opening Day like a dingus, I’m back for more punishment. However, Cincy is starting a young lefty arm I’m buying stock in and Pittsburgh sends out one of the oldest starters in MLB.
Reds LHP Nick Lodolo showed glimpses of why he was taken 7th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft at the end of 2022. Post-All-Star break, Lodolo had a 2.92 ERA (5.81 first-half ERA) and 1.07 WHIP (1.79 first-half WHIP).
Pirates vs. Reds Odds (DraftKings)
Pirates LHP Rich Hill is 43 and has to be one of the worst No. 2 starters in baseball. Hill pitched for three different teams last season and is an example of Pittsburgh penny-pinching.
Also, the Pirates’ lineup was terrible vs. left-handed pitching in 2022. They ranked 29th in both wRC+ and BB/K rate and 28th in wOBA, per FanGraphs.
BET: Reds (-145) moneyline at DraftKings, up to -155
- Betting Strategy: Risk 1 unit instead of bet to win 1 unit
Colorado Rockies (2-0) at San Diego Padres (0-2), 8:40 p.m. ET
Against my better judgment, I’ll go with the UNDER 8 (+100) in Rockies-Padres. Part of me feels like San Diego’s lineup is due for a slump-buster and Colorado starting RHP Jose Urena doesn’t have elite stuff.
But, San Diego’s starter Saturday — RHP Michael Wacha — had a bounce-back season in 2022 in the toughest division in baseball (AL East). Wacha was 11-2 with a 3.32 ERA last season for the Red Sox.
He pitched for three different teams from 2019-21 (Cardinals, Mets, and Rays). Wacha’s ERA over those three seasons was 4.76, 6.02, and 5.05 and his 4.14 FIP last season was his best since 2017.
Rockies vs. Padres Odds (DraftKings)
Furthermore, Colorado’s lineup was 29th in wRC+ vs. right-handed pitching in 2022, 21st in wOBA, 20th in BB/K rate, and the highest groundball% in MLB, per FanGraphs.
More importantly, the UNDER is getting hit by sharp line movement. According to VSIN, DraftKings is reporting that nearly 70% of the money is on the UNDER while a slight majority of the bets are on the Over.
Rockies-Padres opened with an 8.5- or 9-run total depending on where you looked. So the oddsmakers are reacting to the cash column of the betting splits.
Petco Park in San Diego was the most pitcher-friendly ballpark in MLB last season. The weather forecast in San Diego is predicting temperatures in the low-60s with a double-digit mph win blowing in from left, centerfield.
BET: UNDER 8 (+100) in Rockies-Padres at DraftKings
MLB 2023 Futures and Opening Day Bets featuring David Troy
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