MLB Betting Guide for Opening Day: Can the Phillies Spoil deGrom's Debut in Big D?
Betting baseball can be a grind that reaps a large reward.
Day-to-day outlooks can be vastly different by starting pitchers, and there is a wealth of advanced stats that can let us know an individual pitcher or team is due to positive -- or negative -- regression.
Using our model as a guide, which MLB lines are most appealing today from FanDuel Sportsbook?
Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All ratings are out of five stars. All stats come from FanGraphs unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated information.
Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals
Over 7.5 (-118) - 3 Stars
Opening Day is like that fresh reminder of everything that makes baseball beautiful. Hot dogs, sunshine, singing, clapping, and fading Patrick Corbin.
With no organizational drive to win this year, the Nationals will send Corbin to the bump on Opening Day. With a league-worst 6.31 ERA in 2022, Washington fans everywhere are cringing at that reality. Atlanta was a top-five squad against lefties in wRC+ and ISO last year, so this is no cupcake of a first test.
It might also not be the most difficult day at the office for the Nats -- at home -- against Max Fried. The Bravos' ace is a solid pitcher, but his 3.31 SIERA and 23.2% strikeout rate are rather pedestrian compared to many of his peers toeing the slab on Thursday.
Plus, Washington's team strikeout rate was abnormally low for a poor offense versus lefties last year (20.4%). They put the ball in play and let fate do the rest.
Overall, our model sees at least eight runs in D.C. a whopping 63.7% of the time, but these odds imply just a 54.1% chance.
Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs
Over 7.5 (-102) - 3 Stars
The wind is blowing out at Wrigley on Thursday, but that's just one potential reason to take the over in this one.
The Brewers' pitching staff is good enough to win a title, but their offense fell woefully short of expectations last year. They've added William Contreras and Jesse Winker to the lineup in hopes to improve against right-handed pitching. Both have at least a career 136 wRC+ against orthodox hurlers.
Like Corbin, Chicago's Marcus Stroman just isn't the toughest Opening Day test you could face. Stroman's 3.74 SIERA, 40.1% hard-hit rate, and 9.2% swinging-strike rate last year leave plenty to be desired entering 2023.
Milwaukee will send Corbin Burnes to the mound, and Burnes -- obviously -- is a much tougher test for a Cubbies lineup that struggled last year versus righties, but their lineup has an entirely different look with Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger, and Trey Mancini in the fold. That, plus Burnes' 3.96 ERA after the break last year, could provide some variance to open the season.
With a minimal weather component, our model sees this over winning out 60.5% of the time against these 50.5% implied odds. When we add in the breeze, this is my favorite bet of Opening Day.
Philadelphia Phillies at Texas Rangers
Phillies ML (+116) - 2 Stars
Fading Jacob deGrom can be dangerous, but at least we'll only be doing it for so long.
deGrom is expected to be capped at around 75 pitches in this one, yet the Phillies (86.5-win total) are the underdog to the Rangers (81.5) on Opening Day? I'll take it.
It's not like Philly is countering with a bum. Aaron Nola was fantastic last year behind a 2.80 SIERA and 29.1% strikeout rate. In fact, with two righties on the mound, Texas figures to have a harder time scoring. They posted a 92 wRC+ compared to the Phillies' mark of 102.
EVAnalytics also ranks the Phillies (15th) with a better 'pen than the Rangers (21st) to start the year. While that's more speculative, it certainly doesn't hurt our building case with minimal fresh data to work with.
numberFire's model actually projects Philadelphia to win 57.0% of the time in this one, but these odds give them just a 46.3% implied chance to win.