The Daily Sweat: Major League Baseball returns with 15 Opening Day games

Even the most casual baseball fan can enjoy Opening Day.

Baseball sometimes likes to get too romantic about itself, but there is something great about the first day of a new season. Ballparks are full. There's renewed optimism. We know warmer weather is coming soon.

You won't find Bob Costas getting mushy on a documentary about betting on baseball, but that's fun, too. We discussed some player props and award picks, as well as our best team bets including World Series winners, earlier in the week. Now it's time to get to some games.

We won't run down all 15 Opening Day games, but here are some highlights:

San Francisco Giants at New York Yankees (-185): The first games of the day start at 1:05 p.m. ET, and one of them features Gerrit Cole taking the mound against Logan Webb and the Giants. The Yankees are unsurprisingly among the World Series favorites, and Cole pitching at a Cy Young level is a big reason for that.

Gerrit Cole takes the mount for the New York Yankees on Thursday in an Opening Day game. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Gerrit Cole takes the mount for the New York Yankees on Thursday in an Opening Day game. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox (-120): Taking the over on the Red Sox's season win total has been one of the more popular bets leading up to the season, but this is a good test against a young, fun Orioles team. I anticipate betting on the Orioles a lot early this season, including on Opening Day.

Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers (-130): When Jacob deGrom pitches, he's usually a favorite. The Phillies are probably the better team, and Aaron Nola is a bona fide ace as well, so I'll take the plus number on Philadelphia.

New York Mets (-125) at Miami Marlins: Max Scherzer vs. Sandy Alcantara. What a way to start the season. Alcantara is awesome, but so is Scherzer, and we all know which is the better team here. Give me the Mets.

Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds (-140): I think the Reds will be better than expected, and their Opening Day starter, Hunter Greene, has the potential to be a star. He showed that late last season. I don't mind playing the favorite here.

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers (-175): This Dodgers team is going to be good, but it feels like a bit of a step back from previous years. I'll back Zac Gallen, Arizona's fantastic ace, as a big underdog.

Cleveland Guardians at Seattle Mariners (-115): Another good game to end the night. Both of these teams should be back in the playoffs. I like Seattle starter Luis Castillo and lean slightly the Mariners' way.

Enjoy Opening Day — and the six months of baseball after it, too.

Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday:

Big game in the NBA

Baseball gets its day in the sun, but the NBA has a heavy-hitting matchup Thursday, too. The Boston Celtics' last chance to catch the Milwaukee Bucks for the top seed in the East comes as they face off in Milwaukee. The Bucks are 2.5-point favorites. Milwaukee has some cushion with a three-game lead, and it will be interesting to see the Bucks' energy level after they faced (and blasted) the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

That's one of only two games in the NBA, with the New Orleans Pelicans at the Denver Nuggets (-6.5) being the other.

Best of the rest

The Valero Texas Open starts Thursday as we get closer to the Masters. Tyrrell Hatton is the favorite at +1200.

There are also 11 NHL games as the end of the regular season gets closer. The best game is the New York Rangers at the New Jersey Devils, with the Devils as -135 favorites.

What's the best bet?

Plenty to choose from, but I'll go with the Mets. Sandy Alcantara is a fantastic pitcher, but everything else points me toward New York in that Opening Day game.