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FrontPageBets' best bets for Major League Baseball's Opening Day

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Cardinals Astros Spring Baseball

Adam Wainwright gets the Opening Day start for the St. Louis Cardinals.

NOTE: The Red Sox-Yankees opener has been postponed until Friday due to inclement weather. This story has been updated to reflect those postponements. 

Major League Baseball's Opening Day slate has 14 teams in action, with another 16 set to make their debut on Friday after two games were postponed Thursday because of weather.

The season should have been nearly a week old by now, with offseason labor negotiations creating a further owner/player divide, a shortened spring training, 28-man rosters at the outset and more in-game pitching changes ahead to make fans yearn for the days when bullpen cars shaped like baseballs brought relievers to the mound.

With many outside factors to debate, baseball is back indeed.

When last season’s playoffs began, the Red Sox eliminated the Yankees in the American League wild-card game, only to get tossed around in the division series by the Tampa Bay Rays. Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchup wipes the slate clean.

FrontPageBets presents its best bets for Opening Day.

Red Sox (+135) to defeat Yankees at New York (Postponed to Friday)

Red Sox right-hander Nathan Eovaldi vs. Yankees right-hander Gerrit Cole is a repeat of the wild-card matchup. Eovaldi was solid, giving up one run with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings, while Cole was knocked around, giving up three runs in just two innings of work.

Consider Cole the more determined starter in this one. He had a 4.14 ERA in 12 second-half starts last season, not even counting his wild-card stumble. Even more concerning is his 4.91 ERA and 1.500 WHIP against the Red Sox in four starts last season, with nine walks and five home runs allowed.

Eovaldi had 34 strikeouts in 34 innings against the Yankees last season, and had a 3.71 ERA despite giving up five home runs.

St. Louis Cardinals (-210) to defeat Pittsburgh Pirates at St. Louis (4:15 p.m. ET)

If the Los Angeles DodgersChris Taylor doesn’t hit a game-ending home run in last season’s NL wild-card game against the Cardinals, perhaps Mike Shildt is still deciding on the starting lineup for Thursday’s season opener. But the difference in philosophy that was cited in Shildt’s firing was deeper than the decision to throw a 2-1 slider to Taylor in the ninth inning.

New Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol has selected right-hander Adam Wainwright to start Thursday’s home game against Pirates right-hander JT Brubaker. In four starts against the Pirates last season, Wainwright won all of them over a combined 30 innings, while delivering a 0.30 ERA. Expect Wainwright to improve on a clunker of a season opener last year when he gave up six runs in less than three innings to the Reds.

Brubaker had four starts against the Cardinals last season, going 0-4 with a 6.65 ERA, while allowing six home runs, his most against any team. More Cardinals' pitching perspective from St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson.

Los Angeles Angels (-120) to defeat Houston Astros (9:38 p.m. ET)

MLB’s most dynamic player is starting on the mound and batting in the leadoff spot Thursday as Shohei Ohtani begins his MVP encore for the Angels. No, this isn’t Little League, but sometimes Ohtani makes it feel that way. The opening test for Ohtani comes against the Astros, the defending division champions.

The Angels were just 6-13 against the Astros last season and were outscored 118-57 in those 19 games. No other division opponent scored more than 86 runs against them. But the Angels have Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon back from injury to mix in with their latest MVP (Trout has three MVPs). And Los Angeles is set to unleash a more extended lineup with young run producers Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh and Jared Walsh.

In two starts against the Angels last season, Astros lefty starter Framber Valdez gave up eight walks, his most against any team in 2021. It led to a 1.667 WHIP.

More analysis: St. Louis Post-Dispatch writers' MLB predictions.

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@FieldLevelMedia Doug Padilla has been on the MLB beat for more than two decades, covering the betting angles for the past five seasons.


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