Well, boys and girls, the day has finally arrived. Opening day of the MLB season is just hours away and you bet we have a few free MLB picks and parlays for you to start the season off right.
MLB Opening Day Picks & Parlays
Yankees (Gerrit Cole) vs. Nationals (Max Scherzer)
The MLB season gets started with a game between the reigning champion Nationals and the World Series favorite Yankees. It might be the marquee game of opening weekend and will feature two potential Cy Young Winners.
It is a rematch of the pitching duel from Game 1 of the World Series last year albeit with Cole on a different team.
Gerrit Cole was perhaps the biggest signing this offseason by any team and looks to start his Yankee career off right. He is coming off a season in which he went a very impressive 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 0.89 WHIP. Perhaps even more impressive was his performance over the final 17 games of the year. In those games, Gole went 14-0 with a 1.63 ERA and frankly dominated every team that stepped up to the plate.
The word, untouchable comes to mind.
It was truly a career year for Cole, striking out 326 batters, setting an Astros record, and leading the majors.
Despite his immense skill and 2019 MLB dominance, I do worry a bit about his first game in Pinstripes in this pick ahead of the opening day 2020. In a weird way, I think its best that he is making his first start outside of the Bronx and in an empty stadium.
Turning our attention to Scherzer, who about put the team on his back last year during their World Series run.
He missed a number of games after the All-Star break and only posted an 11-7 record. But his 2.92 ERA and 1.03 WHIP highlight just how good he was despite winning less than a dozen games.
He even managed to record 243 strikeouts in just 172 innings over 27 starts.
As I said, Scherzer carried this team through the postseason with a 3-0 record in six appearances (five starts) and striking out 37 with just 15 walks.
Scherzer is no stranger to opening-day starts. In his four tries, he has a 1-2 record and 1.27 ERA. He might not have the wins but that ERA and opening day strikeout to walk ratio of 37/8 tell me he does not suffer at all from first day jitters.
The only real absence of not from this game will be the Yankees closer, Aroldis Champan who tested positive for COVID-19 and has no set return date.
Despite this, the Yankees have great depth in the bullpen and should weather this storm with relative ease.
The Yankees and Nationals are both World Series contenders with some big bats in their lineups. But with Cole and Scherzer on the hill, I don’t see this turning into a high scoring matchup.
The total is sitting at 7.5 right now and I feel confident that this is a true MLB pitching duel and the score stays below 8 in the first of our picks ahead of opening day.
Best Bet: UNDER 7.5 runs
Giants (Johnny Cueto) vs. Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw)
This pick ahead of MLB opening day is the second leg of our parlay which will predictably be from the only other game on Thursday night’s slate. World Series hopeful LA Dodgers host the MLB woeful SF Giants in an NL West battle on opening day in LA.
This game will not likely be the pitching duel of the preview matchup as the Giants will let Johnny Cueto take the mound. Cueto, at one point in his career, was an elite pitcher in the major leagues. But at 34 years old and coming off a season which he finished with a 5.06 ERA, I am taking a wait and see approach to the veteran righty.
Another knock I have on the Giants is the absence of Buster Posey in the middle of the order. Posey decided to opt-out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the safety of him and his family. This hurts a lineup that is already below average.
What is not below average is the performance the LA Dodgers had in 2019. LA won a franchise-record 106 wins and were favorites to win the World Series until a tough loss against the Nationals.
Los Angeles hit a club-record 250 long balls and had little resistance getting into the postseason. In fact, they won the NL West by 21 games. They are the favorite to win the NL Pennant again and are neck and neck with the Yankees for the best shot at a World Series ring.
Los Angeles should cruise to an easy win here. Especially if you take into account Kershaw’s numbers against their interleague rivals.
When pitching against the Giants, Kershaw is 23-12 with a 1.74 ERA in 47 total starts.
I expect Kershaw to come out swinging after yet another rough postseason exit and shut this Giants team down yet again. Therefore am taking the home team on the run line here to start the season off with a W.
Best Bet: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5
That’s all for our opening day picks and parlays for the 2020 season, good luck!