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Max Scherzer
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Odds and Ends

Play Ball! Best Bets for Opening Day

by Tim Murray
Updated On: July 26, 2020, 4:05 pm ET

It’s hard to believe but Opening Day is finally here and it does not get much better than the first game of the season.

Nationals. Yankees.

Scherzer. Cole.

Soto. Judge. 

It is going to be a star-studded affair in Washington, DC.

In the night cap of the Opening Day doubleheader, the Dodgers host the Giants. Clayton Kershaw will take the hill for Los Angeles and Mookie Betts will make his Dodgers debut. It might be hard for Betts to hold back a smile tonight.

The Dodgers and Yankees enter the 2020 shortened season as the co-favorites to win the World Series. Los Angeles and New York are both +350 at William Hill Sportsbook and the public is backing those two teams.

Will the co-favorites to win the World Series be winners on Opening Night? Here are my favorite plays this evening.

Yankees money line (-130 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

I have been a fan of the Washington Nationals since day 1. I attended the first ever Nationals home game back in 2005. But, you have to bet with your head and not your heart. 

Gerrit Cole is coming off an incredible 2019 campaign. Cole finished second in American League Cy Young voting and led the Majors with 326 strikeouts. This offseason, Cole agreed to a historic nine-year, $324 million deal with the Yankees. He will face a Nationals lineup tonight that will be without Anthony Rendon (signed with Angels) and Ryan Zimmerman (opted out of season). I expect Cole to have a solid Yankees debut.

Last October, Washington tagged Cole for five runs in Game 1 of the World Series last year. Cole beat the Nationals in Game 5 but remained in the bullpen in Washington’s 6-2 Game 7 victory. Revenge could be on his mind this evening.

Offensively, the Yankees lineup is stacked.

If the season started back on March 26, the Yankees would have been without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and Aaron Hicks due to injury. Now, all three are healthy and expected to be in the lineup. 

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Max Scherzer did not look sharp in his start against the Phillies. He surrendered seven runs in the first two innings and allowed a pair of home runs.

With the thump in the Yankees lineup and Gerrit Cole on the hill this evening, I’m riding with the Yankees tonight.

Yankees OVER 3.5 runs (-140 at Westgate Superbook)

On a hot night with a full healthy lineup, I think the Yankees are going to put some runs on the board against the Nationals. New York scored nine and six runs respectively in their first two exhibition games against the Mets. 

Last year, Max Scherzer also struggled in the 1st inning. He allowed 13 earned runs in 27 starts (4.33 ERA). Additionally, Scherzer has surrendered a first inning home run in two of his last four Opening Day starts: 2019 vs. Robinson Cano, 2016 vs. Freddie Freeman.

In addition to over 3.5 runs scored by the Yankees, I will play the “yes” prop on first inning run scored at +120.

Dodgers Run Line (-148 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

I know this is a square play but Huey Lewis and the News did tell us, "It's Hip to Be Square."  I believe the Dodgers will take care of business on Opening Day and dispense of the Giants by two or more runs (Run line is -1.5 run spread).

There is no easy out in the Dodgers lineup. The outfield is stacked with Cody Bellinger (2019 NL MVP), Mookie Betts (2018 AL MVP), and Joc Pederson (36 home runs in 2019). 1B Max Muncy has hit 35 homers in each of the last two seasons, SS Corey Seager finished tied for 2nd in the National League with 44 doubles, and 3B Justin Turner matched a career-high with 27 home runs in 2019.

The Giants are projected to be one of the worst teams in MLB this season. Only two teams (Orioles & Tigers) have a lower over/under for wins in 2020 at the Westgate Superbook. San Francisco’s win total is set at 24. 

It’s baseball. Anything can happen. But, on Opening Night with Clayton Kershaw on the hill and that loaded lineup for the Dodgers, I will put my money on Los Angeles taking care of business.

 

 

Tim Murray

Tim Murray is the co-host of The Daily Line. Follow him on Twitter @1TimMurray.