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MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s 10 Opening Day Picks, Including Brewers vs. Cubs, Astros vs. Angels (April 7)

MLB Odds, Best Bets: Our Staff’s 10 Opening Day Picks, Including Brewers vs. Cubs, Astros vs. Angels (April 7) article feature image
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Tom Pennington/Getty Images. Pictured: Shohei Ohtani

  • From Brewers-Cubs to Padres-Diamondbacks, our staff has you covered with a plethora of bets for Opening Day.
  • We've got seven games on Thursday, and our staff has 10 total bets on six of them.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of all of our favorite bets from MLB Opening Day 2022.

For Friday’s expert betting picks, click here.

We made it.

Opening Day of the 2022 Major League Baseball season is here, and we’ve got a tasty seven-game slate to get the season going.

Our analysts have champing at the bit to get this season underway and find real betting value, and they did not disappoint. We’re betting six of today’s seven games, with 10 total bets to recommend.

We’re tired of waiting. Let’s get to the bets. Here are our 10 best bets from Opening Day of the 2022 MLB season.

MLB Odds & Picks

Click on a game to skip ahead
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs
2:20 p.m. ET
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs
2:20 p.m. ET
Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals
4:10 p.m. ET
Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals
4:10 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals
4:15 p.m. ET
Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals
4:15 p.m. ET
New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels
9:38 p.m. ET
San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks
9:40 p.m. ET

Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs

Pick
Under 10.5
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
Corbin Burnes vs. Kyle Hendricks
First Pitch
2:20 p.m. ET

DJ James: Even if the wind is blowing out as expected, Corbin Burnes has shown the ability to pitch strongly throughout the season. Last year, he only had one outing where he gave up five or more earned runs. He also ranked in the 96th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 94th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage.

The league struggled mightily against Burnes’ off-speed mixture of curves and sliders (.153 xwOBA). The bottom of the Cubs’ lineup in particular will not have a fun day.

Right after Burnes, the likes of Aaron Ashby, Devin Williams and Josh Hader shouldn’t have any issues.

The Brewers added Hunter Renfroe and Andrew McCutchen, who provide some much-needed thump. But while Kyle Hendricks may not have had the best 2021, but one area he always excels is not allowing hard contact either. He ranked in the 92nd percentile and 88th percentage in Average Exit Velocity and Hard Hit Percentage, respectively.

Essentially, the only area that may produce multiple runs an inning is the Cubs bullpen, where they did not make significant improvements.

10.5 (+100) is far too high of a line here, even if the ball can fly on a windy day in the North Side. Play this to 9.5.


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Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs

Pick
Brewers First Five Innings -175
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Corbin Burnes vs. Kyle Hendricks
First Pitch
2:20 p.m. ET

Brad Cunningham: This is a tad pricey, but still does have some value given the massive gap in the starting pitching matchup.

Corbin Burnes deservingly won the NL Cy Young in 2021 by putting up insane numbers. He finished the regular season with a 2.00 xERA, 1.83 BB/9 rate, 12.61 K/9 rate and a .219 xwOBA against him, which was the best among starting pitchers. Burnes faced the Cubs three times last season and combined for 20 IP, 12 hits, 3 ER and 36 strikeouts.

Kyle Hendricks really started to regress last season, as his xERA climbed up to 4.99, when throughout his career it had never been over four. The problem was that he wasn’t getting the ground balls that he was used to (43.1% GB rate, lowest of his career) and he was giving up too many long balls (1.54 HR/9 rate, highest of his career).

Hendricks is mainly a sinker ball/changeup guy and really wasn’t successful with either pitch last year, as he gave over a .315 wOBA on both pitches, per Baseball Savant. That is a problem because the Brewers lineup had a combined +26.4 run value against those two pitches last season.

I have the Brewers and Burnes projected at -215 for this the first five innings, so I like the value on -175 and would play it up to -184.


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Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals

Pick
Guardians -124
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Shane Bieber vs. Zack Greinke
First Pitch
4:10 p.m. ET

Mike Ianniello: It is finally Opening Bieber Day! Remember when Bieber Day was appointment television? Following his 8-1 Cy Young-winning 2020 season where he posted a 3.17 ERA, Bieber made just 16 starts last season after suffering a shoulder injury.

He still finished the season 7-4 with a 2.91 xFIP. With the second-best AL Cy Young Award odds (+700), Bieber should be poised to return to form.

Zack Greinke at the age of 38 will be on the other side as he returns to Kansas City, where he started his career. A former Cy Young winner in his own right, Greinke was a shell of his former self last season, pitching to a 4.16 ERA and 4.21 xFIP. His velocity is way down and hos 6.32 K/9 rate was his lowest mark since his first full season in 2005.

Over his last two Opening Day starts, Bieber has combined for 26 strikeouts and has allowed just 9 hits and 3 runs in 12 innings. On a cold and windy April afternoon, give me the better pitcher at a short price to earn the first victory of the Guardians Era.


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Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals

Pick
Guardians First Five Innings -130
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
Shane Bieber vs. Zack Greinke
First Pitch
4:10 p.m. ET

Michael Arinze: Cleveland’s 80 wins in 2021 fell just short of its win total, which was set at 81.5. This year, that number’s even lower at 76.5. However, it’s worth noting that Cleveland was without several key players for extended periods during the season. One of those players was ace Shane Bieber.

Bieber missed around three months with a shoulder injury before returning to make two starts in late September. The right-hander will get the ball for his third straight Opening Day start when the Guardians travel to Kansas City to take on the Royals.

Opposing Bieber will be the 19-year veteran Zack Greinke. Although Greinke finished the season at 11-6 with a 4.16 ERA, his 4.71 FIP would suggest that he was likely a bit fortunate in his outings. According to Baseball Savant, in 2021, Greinke allowed his highest hard-hit rate (35.4%) since Statcast began keeping track seven years ago.

One theory I have is that Grienke isn’t the pitcher he used to be. After spotting a potential regression in his numbers, I began to target Greinke toward the end of the season. His FIP jumped from 4.12 in the first half of the season to 5.94 in the second half.

As for Bieber, his advanced numbers showed more of a positive regression, as evidenced by his 3.03 FIP, which was lower than his 3.17 ERA.

Cleveland will be slightly undervalued this season, but it will welcome back manager Terry Francona, who stepped away in July due to health concerns. Francona has a history of getting teams to overachieve, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see that scenario play out again this season.

While Cleveland is undoubtedly a young team, I think it has an edge in this matchup — particularly in the first five innings.

Greinke is on an 0-5 run in his previous five starts in this spot. Last season, Bieber was often as high as a -150 favorite, so I like the value of backing him at -130. I’d feel comfortable playing Cleveland up to -140.

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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Pick
Cardinals -1.5 (-105)
Book
BetMGM
Pitchers
JT Brubaker vs. Adam Wainwright
First Pitch
4:15 p.m. ET

Jules Posner: The short answer is Adam Wainwright at home vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The longer answer is, Adam Wainwright posted a 3.33 FIP and 3.78 xFIP last season at home in 2021. He also had pretty even splits vs. RH and LH batters last season. Despite the Pirates’ bounty of LHH options, Wainwright is as steady as they come.

The Pirates also struggled vs. RHP on the road last season as they were a bottom-five offense in wRC+. Although they have added a few LH hitters this offseason, none are prolific enough offensive producers to move the needle for Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals were slightly below average offensively vs. RHP at home last season. The Pirates’ starter probable starter, JT Brubaker, really struggled on the road last season. Compounding that, the Pirates’ bullpen was in the bottom-third of the league in almost every significant statistical category.

On the other side, the Cardinals’ bullpen is a solid unit. Plus the Cards’ young core of hitters are ready to take another step forward and this is a very favorable match up for the Cards’ offense.

The RL right now is -1.5 at -105. I would take that up to -120.


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Pittsburgh Pirates vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Pick
Under 8
Book
FanDuel
Pitchers
JT Brubaker vs. Adam Wainwright
First Pitch
4:15 p.m. ET

Sean Zerillo: The Pirates are an underdog value side for Thursday, at roughly +180 (35.7% implied) or better, though I need closer to +190 to bet their F5 line.

I am slightly high on the Pirates’ win total (projected 67.8). Everyone is low on the Cardinals (projected 79.9; market projected 78.7), so I anticipate betting on the Pirates in these head to heads more often than not.

Defensive excellence bolsters the Cardinals. Make St. Louis a neutral defensive team, and I’d lower its projection for this game to -136 (57.7% implied), more than a 4% decrease.

Defense is especially vital behind the ageless Adam Wainwright (3.87 xERA and xFIP in 2021).

However, the Pirates can play some defense, too — particularly third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes and new catcher Roberto Perez.

The Cardinals performed much better against lefties (115 wRC+, 3rd) than righties (92 wRC+, 17th) last season, and I expect the trend to continue this season, given the split data on their hitters.

With the Cardinals stuck in their lesser split, playing against another good defensive squad, I show value on the Under 8 (to -115).

Moreover, I found a juiced F5 Under 4.5 but would play the F5 Under to 4 (-110), compared to my projection (3.61).


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New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
J.D. Davis Over 0.5 Hits (-155)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Tylor Megill vs. Patrick Corbin
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Doug Ziefel: Buck Showalter already mentioned that J.D. Davis would be in the lineup on Opening Day, and it is for a good reason.

Historically J.D. Davis owns Patrick Corbin. In his career, he is 10-for-29 against Corbin, and four of the 10 hits have been homers. Davis not only gets hits against Corbin, but he wallops him as Davis has a .442 xwOBA.

One last piece that may help Davis even more in this matchup is that he could be the DH as his third base duties are no longer needed.

With ample time to evaluate after each AB, Davis could be even more locked in against Corbin.


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New York Mets vs. Washington Nationals

Pick
Juan Soto Over 0.5 Home Runs (+380)
Book
DraftKings
Pitchers
Tylor Megill vs. Patrick Corbin
First Pitch
7:05 p.m. ET

Nick Shlain: Early in the baseball season I like to look for live underdogs that are +300 or sometimes +400, but we don’t have anything like that today so we move on to a home run prop.

This one is pretty straightforward. Juan Soto is the best player in the National League. He also plays his home games, like the one on Thursday, in an advantageous ballpark for hitters. And instead of Jacob deGrom or Max Scherzer, he’ll be facing Tylor Megill, who allowed a .297 isolated-slugging percentage and 51.6% fly ball percentage in 184 plate appearances to left-handed batters last year.

Soto, a left-handed hitter, posted a .254 isolated-slugging percentage and 26.8% fly ball percentage in 525 plate appearances last year.

Despite being the best player in the National League, Soto finished second in the MVP voting last year to Bryce Harper and he’ll look to start off his campaign for the award this year by leaving the yard against Megill in the opener.

Getting Soto to hit a home run at nearly 4/1 odds is good value considering the other left-handed hitters on the Nationals are lesser hitters and only have slightly better odds (Josh Bell +425, Keibert Ruiz +450).

Remember to check on the weather for this game as the start time was moved back due to the potential for inclement weather.


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Houston Astros vs. Los Angeles Angels

Pick
Astros +115
Book
WynnBet
Pitchers
Framber Valdez vs. Shohei Ohtani
First Pitch
9:38 p.m. ET

Tanner McGrath: The Astros have a chance to make history. They’ve won nine straight Opening Day games, and one more win would tie the MLB record with the 1886-97 Boston Beaneaters.

The Astros have won 9 straight Opening Day games, tied for the 2nd-longest streak in history with the 2007-15 Mariners, 1983-91 Reds, 1975-83 Mets & 1937-45 Browns

Record, which they can tie tomorrow: 10 straight, 1887-96 Boston Beaneaters

(h/t @EliasSports)

— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 6, 2022

The team name “Beaneaters” attests to just how long this record has stood.

I think the Astros have a pretty good chance to do it. At the very least, they provide value at +115.

Shohei Ohtani will start for the Angels, and he hasn’t been perfect facing Houston. In five career starts against the Astros, Ohtani has posted a whopping 6.86 ERA, allowing 15 ER over 21 hits in just 19 2/3 innings.

Plus, Ohtani is a public betting figurehead – he’s going to have the public on the Angels side. At the time of writing, more than 60% of the tickets are coming in on the Angels. But the smart money — more than 85% of the handle — is with the Astros.

Even without Carlos Correa, Houston boasts a top-three lineup in baseball. The top six Houston hitters are projected to have an OBP over .340 this season. And lest we forget that Houston has won four of the last five meetings with a run differential of +20 in those games.

With Ohtani on the opposing mound, plus-money odds, and an MLB record on the line, I’ll back the Astros to win game No. 1. Anything better than +110 is a buy from me.

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San Diego Padres vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Pick
Diamondbacks +140
Book
PointsBet
Pitchers
Yu Darvish vs. Madison Bumgarner
First Pitch
9:40 p.m. ET

Kenny Ducey: What if I told you Yu Darvish was bad? Surely you’d refute this on the basis that you know his name and have seen him pitch well on the biggest stage — and you would tell me his Baseball Savant page is full of red as proof that you were right, and not me.

Luckily, we’re not arguing — I am typing into the void. I’m here to tell you there were some serious issues with Darvish last year, and they started when the league began cracking down on foreign substances.

While Darvish was able to recover his spin rates in a few late-season starts, they were noticeably lower from June 21st on, when the league announced it would start disciplining players for any infractions. His four-seamer never reached the consistent 2500+ rpm level we saw before that day, nor did his sinker.

Darvish struggled in the immediate aftermath, too, starting 14 games from July on and posting a disastrous 6.65 ERA with a 5.05 FIP. He was hit very, very hard and it was clear from the results on the field and the aforementioned spin rates he was going through something on the hill.

It remains to be seen if Darvish has indeed figured things out in the post-Spider Tack era, but I’m willing to take a shot on the other side in this matchup.

While Madison Bumgarner isn’t the easiest guy in the world to back, San Diego’s right-handed bats are simply a mystery right now. No one knows how Luke Voit, Wil Myers, Austin Nola, Jurickson Profar, Ha-Seong Kim and Jorge Alfaro are going to hit, but given their recent history — and their names — I’d be willing to bet this lineup against lefties is average at best.

Yeah, they have Manny Machado, but who else combats southpaws here?

This is a healthy shot to take; I don’t agree that San Diego is a runaway favorite. There are simply too many question marks.


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