Expect a Pitching Duel Between Cole and Ryu

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Kenny Ducey
·3 min read
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Happy Opening Day! The long wait for baseball is over. We’ve got 15 incredible games on Thursday’s slate, kicking off with a whopping 11 on the afternoon late before we get four under the lights. With so many stars toeing the mound all across the country, we’re sure to be in for a great day packed with exciting games, and most of the lines have reflected that. With so many different ways to get down, let’s narrow it down and find some profitable spots.

Toronto Blue Jays (+155) at New York Yankees (-180) Total: 8

Let’s kick things off with the first game of the season, which will take place in New York. I’m not a huge weather guy, but in chorus with a couple tough matchups for these lineups, I think we’ve got a perfect recipe for an Under.

The field in the Bronx should be a little slick after a morning full of rain, and it’ll feel like it’s under 50 degrees for the duration, with some heavy cloud cover. On top of this, I don’t know if I saw many runs being scored on a warm July night, anyhow. The Yankees ranked all the way down at 19th last season with a below-average wRC+ against lefties at 97, and Hyun Jin Ryu is one of the top southpaws in the game right now.

On the other side of the coin, Gerrit Cole was a perfect 2-0 against the Blue Jays last year, allowing just two runs on eight hits with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings. He absolutely dominated this order, which will be relatively the same, aside from offseason-signing Marcus Semien, who’s coming off a down year. This shouldn’t be too much for the Cy Young hopeful to handle.

With difficult conditions and two pitchers who should be effective here, I like this game to stay under the total of eight.

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Edge: Under 8

Cleveland Indians at Detroit Tigers (+160) Total: 7.5

Do I love Matthew Boyd? Absolutely not. The lefty has not shown anything special in six big-league seasons, and has given up the most homers in baseball two years in a row. That said, I think the Tigers could run into one here against the revamped Indians, who should take some time to get their legs underneath them.

Cleveland was just 23rd in wRC+ against left-handed pitchers last season (it really wasn’t great against any pitching, but it should be noted), and will be adding two lefties to the first four spots of the order in Ben Gamel and Eddie Rosario. After that? The Indians have three lefties in the bottom four. There are lefties all over this lineup, so why am I supposed to expect they will mash Boyd?

The Tigers, meanwhile, have a lineup that I think will sneak up on people. Shane Bieber has been a master of control over his career, but these Tigers hitters’ chase rates aren’t too terrible save for the young Willi Castro and Jonathan Schoop. Bieber’s had issues with hard-hit balls, and Detroit’s got five bats in this lineup that had 40% or more of their balls in play travel 95 MPH+ off the bat (six, if you count JaCoby Jones, who didn’t have enough at-bats last year to qualify).

I love the value on Detroit here at home. I think they’ve constructed a pretty complete lineup top-to-bottom using next to no money, and Castro should be an exciting watch in 2021 in the three spot.

Edge: Tigers +160

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