Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season is one of the best days of the year, and there is a full slate of games on Thursday, April 1. With so many games played on Thursday, that also means that there are some great betting opportunities out there.
Betting on baseball this early in the season is never an easy task, but some pitching matchups make things a bit easier. Here are four MLB Opening Day betting picks to make on Thursday.
New York Yankees -177 vs. Toronto Blue Jays
The first game of the 2021 MLB season will feature the New York Yankees hosting the Toronto Blue Jays. New York is a World Series title contender this season, while the Blue Jays should be a playoff contender.
Gerrit Cole takes the ball for the Yankees on Thursday, and Hyun-Jin Ryu will oppose him for the Blue Jays. Both of these teams should have a great offense, but pitching should dominate this matchup.
Toronto is a worthy opponent, but betting against Cole isn’t a good decision. Cole will shut down the Blue Jays lineup, and the Yankees will win the season opener.
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Chicago Cubs -220 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
Kyle Hendricks of the Cubs will face Chad Kuhl of the Pirates on Thursday afternoon at historic Wrigley Field. Chicago will have a considerable edge in the starting pitching matchup, and that should play a role in deciding this game.
The National League Central is not expected to be a good division this season, but the Pirates are clearly the worst team in that group. Pittsburgh is trying to rebuild for the future, and the 2021 team is really going to struggle.
The Cubs are out to prove that they can make one more World Series run before the entire core is broken up for good. Chicago starts off the 2021 season with a win, giving more hope to Cubs fans.
San Diego Padres -213 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
The San Diego Padres have some lofty expectations entering the 2021 season, and they should. While most of the league was slashing payroll and getting rid of top talent, the Padres were spending money and acquiring superstars.
Yu Darvish was one of those players, and he takes the ball for San Diego on Thursday. Darvish won’t have to be great as the Padres have one of the best lineups in all of baseball.
Madison Bumgarner makes the start for the Diamondbacks, and he is looking for a bounce-back season late in his career. Bumgarner has pitched some great games in his 12 MLB seasons, but he faces a loaded lineup.
One game doesn’t define a season, but the Padres will make a statement in this one as they pick up a season-opening win.
St. Louis Cardinals +125 at Cincinnati Reds
The St. Louis Cardinals are the only underdog we are backing on Thursday, but they are very evenly-matched with the Cincinnati Reds. Jack Flaherty makes the start for St. Louis, and Luis Castillo will be on the mound for the Reds.
Both of these teams feel like they can win the NL Central this season, and these games will have a significant impact on the standings. Thursday’s game provides a terrific pitching matchup, which could mean that there is very little offense.
St. Louis made a huge splash this offseason in acquiring third baseman Nolan Arenado, and that lineup should be terrific. The Cardinals will benefit from the trade on Opening Day as Arenado will have a big day at the plate.
Cincinnati will have a solid 2021 season, but picking the Cardinals on Opening Day is the right play in this matchup.