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MLB Baseball Picks – Opening Day Kicks Off With Two Potential Pitching Duels

Posted by Dale “Skip” Lalonde on 3/29/2011 4:50:44 PM
mlb baseball picks

For sports betting players, Opening Day of the MLB season can be tough to bet on sometimes as maybe, you didn’t watch a lot of spring training, or you’ve been distracted by a busy time in the sports year. But the regular season kicks off on Thursday, and there are a pair of pitching matchups that will take the spotlight, and get you in the mood for “America’s Pastime” .

Tigers Yankees Betting – Thursday, 1:05 PM ET

The Tigers will give the ball to Justin Verlander (18-9, 3.37 in 2010) for the fourth straight Opening Day, and he is 0-1 in his three previous starts. Detroit’s ace was third in the American League in innings last year, fourth in strikeouts sixth in quality starts and eighth in WHIP, so you can count on Verlander to be a Cy Young contender this season. The 28-year-old righthander is 4-3 in eight career starts against the Yankees, posting a 3.83 ERA, and he’s 0-2 at the new Yankee Stadium with a 3.75 ERA. He’s never been a fast starter, but Verlander has a great 34-12 record in 59 career day starts.

The Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 in 2010), who is 0-1 in two Opening Day starts for the Yankees, and 1-0 in five starts for Cleveland, but he’s never pitched all that well on the first day of the season. Still, you tend to forgot about those things when Sabathia is lights out for the rest of the season, as he has won two Cy Young awards and was in the running for a third last year. The big southpaw (who has slimmed down for the upcoming season) finished first in wins, second in innings, third in quality starts, sixth in strikeouts, seventh in ERA and tenth in WHIP, so we know what he can do. Sabathia is 15-11 in 30 career starts against the Tigers with a 4.57 ERA, and last year, he was 11-2 at the new Yankee Stadium with a 3.00 ERA.

You’ll probably find the Yankees as the MLB betting favorite for this contest, and they’ve won six of their last seven at home against the Tigers, including three of four in 2010. But we’re going to give the edge to the Tigers in this game as Verlander got more work in this spring in an attempt to turn around his subpar starts to the season, and he looked really good. Sabathia was held back a bit by manager Joe Girardi, which is fair given his workload over the last decade, so Yankee fans shouldn’t be up in arms if he isn’t at his best.

Betting Edge: Detroit Tigers

Giants Dodgers Betting - Thursday, 8:05 PM ET

The defending champions from San Francisco will give the ball to two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (16-10, 3.43 in 2010), and while he wasn’t as good as his previous two seasons, he still led the National League in strikeouts, and really, it was a poor August (0-5, 7.82 ERA) that really hurt his numbers. But Lincecum stepped up with a huge postseason to help the Giants to the title, even putting in a relief effort in a close game on the road in Philadelphia, which made everyone forget that he was terrible in August. The 26-year-old is 5-1 in 10 games (nine starts) against the rival Dodgers, posting a 3.43 ERA, and he is 2-1 in six appearances (five starts) with a 4.40 ERA at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw (13-10, 2.91), who will be a great MLB betting darkhorse pick for the Cy Young, and he showed glimpses of his immense talent by coming in fifth in the National League in strikeouts, and ninth in ERA. Kershaw still walks a lot of batters, but he improved immensely, which helped increase his innings and the more work that the Dodgers can give the 23-year-old, the better off they’ll be. Kershaw is 1-1 in six outings (five starts) against the Giants with a 1.46 ERA, and last season, he was a decent 7-5 in 17 starts at home with a 3.33 ERA.

The Dodgers will likely be the MLB betting favorites in the first meeting of baseball’s oldest rivals (the Giants and Dodgers first met in New York in 1883), but the line won’t be large as the two have split their last 10 at Dodger Stadium. Lincecum is 1-0 in two career Opening Day starts, while Kershaw gets the ball for the first time to start the season, and we get the feeling this will be a huge campaign for the southpaw, who is looking to join an elite group that Lincecum already belongs to. These two met on July 20th in a 7-5 win for the Giants in Los Angeles, and we expect this to be more of a low-scoring affair. Take the Dodgers by a hair in your online betting picks.

Betting Edge: Los Angeles Dodgers

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