MLB Opening Day Betting Picks 4/1/13

Opening Day 2013 is finally upon us. The crack of the bat, the smell of that fresh spring air… it’s baseball season. Here at Sports Betting Online, we’re trying to start off the baseball season the best way we know how – picking some winners for sports bettors.

Enjoy Opening Day and the 2013 MLB Season!

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Chicago Cubs +125 (Jeff Samardzija R) at Pittsburgh Pirates -135 (A.J. Burnett R) 1:10 ET

Our Pick: Pittsburgh -135

The NL Central kicks off with two familiar foes as the Cubs head to PNC Park to take on the Pirates in an Opening Day matinee.

Jeff Samardzija will start for Chicago and hopes to blossom into the staff’s ace this season. Samardzija started off the season a bit shaky with the Cubs last season, but was one was one best starting pitchers in the NL in the 2nd half of the season.

A.J. Burnett starts his first opening day for the Pirates after spectacular a 2012 season. In 2012, Burnett had his lowest ERA since 2005 (3.51) and finished with 16 wins, his most since 2008. Burnett has said his favorite place to play is Pittsburgh and has talked of ending his career in the Steel City.

Other than shortstop Starlin Castro the Cubs lineup has few feared hitters and lacks pop. The Pirates have a core of young talent that has improved each season. In A.J. Burnett’s mind, this is a chance at redemption. He is more focused than ever to take the Pirates to the promise land season.

Also, while Samardzija is pegged as a breakout candidate by many, he may regress or at least start slow. He jumped from 78 innings two seasons ago to 179 innings last season. One cannot tell he how will react to all the extra work and if will replicate his 2nd half in 2013.

At -135 the Pirates offer a decent value for a team, that we believe outmatches the Cubs by a large margin.

San Diego Padres+129 (Edison Volquez R) at New York Mets -139 (Jonathan Niese L) 1:10 ET

Our Pick: New York -139

The Padres head to Citi Field to start off their 2013 season against the Mets. Both teams are looking to improve off subpar 2012 seasons.

San Diego brings Edison Volquez to face the Mets’ hitters. It will be his second Opening Day start in a row for the Padres. Volquez making another Opening Day start is an indictment on the Padres’ staff as the righty has not been especially impressive over recent years, despite the spacious confines of Petco. He was 11-11 with a 4.14 ERA in 32 starts last season.

On the other hand, the Mets are hoping Jonathan Niese’s productive 2012 season was not a fluke. The lefty makes his first Opening Day start of his career for the Mets after a breakout last season. Niese went 13-9 in 30 games started with a 3.40 ERA in 2012.

The Padres lineup was poor to begin with, but is even worse without Chase Headley and Carlos Quentin who are both sidelined for Opening Day. Niese may be one of the best pitchers in the NL this season and should easily be able to handle the Padres’ hobbled lineup. Each year, more questions remain about the durability and effectiveness of Volquez, despite his above average performance in the World Baseball Classic.

We think the Mets get to him early and blow this one open. Take New York -139.

Boston Red Sox +108 (Jon Lester L) at New York Yankees -118 (CC Sabathia L) 1:05 ET

Our Pick: Boston +108

Baseball’s biggest rivalry is renewed for Opening Day as the Red Sox take on the Yankees in the Bronx.

Boston will bring Jon Lester to the mound, who is hoping to rebound from his subpar 2012 season. Lester had the worst ERA in his career last season at 4.82 and is adamant to turn it around in 2013. All signs point to last year being an aberration for Lester, as his previous ERAs the past three seasons have been 3.47, 3.25, and 3.41.

CC Sabathia has been Mr. Reliable for the Yankees throughout his tenure in New York. Experts every year project Sabathia’s arm to fall off due to the large number of innings he pitches each season – but that seems to never happen. He will be looking to replicate his 15 win season and 3.38 ERA in 2012.

The Yankees lineup is no longer the feared murder’s row of year’s passed. Even if the Bronx Bombers were fully healthy, they have grown older and slower. However, most of their over-the-hill stars won’t be seeing the field for quite some time. Mark Teixeira will be out at least two months, along with the injured Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Curtis Granderson. Robinson Cano is the only potent power threat and All-Star that they Yankees currently have healthy.

Lester has been strong in spring training, and the Red Sox have a much better lineup than the Yankees at this point. Boston, more than New York, seems to be energized to start 2013. The Yankees will not be able to go through the motions and grab a victory just because CC is on the mound.

We like Boston to pound their rivals at home to start off the 2013 season, and at +108, it is one of the best bets on the board today.

Kans*as City Royals +130 (James Shields R) at Chicago White Sox -140 (Sale L) 4:10 ET

Our Pick: Kansas City +130

The Royals head to U.S. Cellular Field to start their season against the Chi Sox. Both teams are coming off disappointing 2012 seasons and hope to right the ship in 2013.

Making his first Opening Day and career start for the Kansas City after an offseason trade from Tampa Bay is James Shields. The righty has been impressive in his seven major league seasons. He posted two superb back to back years in 2012 and 2011, winning 15 and 16 games, respectively. Last year he had a 3.52 ERA and 223 strike out in 33 starts with the Rays.

For the White Sox, it is Chris Sale who is making his first Opening Day career start. In 2012, his first full season as a starter – Sale emerged as the staff’s ace going 17-8 and sporting a remarkably low 3.08 ERA. He made the All-Star team and was a Cy Young Candidate.

Sale’s success is impressive, but many young pitchers seem to take a step back before they take a step forward. Shields has been through this before and will not have the Opening Day nerves that Sale may be suffering. It is just another game for Shields, who is a battle tested playoff veteran. Starting Opening Day for a new team is not enough to get him rattled.

While Shields has a career 4.76 ERA against Chicago in 11 starts, he has good numbers against most of the current White Sox. On the flip side, Sale has not fared while against the current Royals. Royals’ shortstop Alcides Escobar has crushed him to the tune of a .435 career average (10 for 23). Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas both hit around .300 off him in over 40 at bats with several doubles.

With Sale’s short track record of success and the Royal’s great number against him, it is hard not to like KC in this matchup. Add in a proven veteran starter in Shields to face the White Sox and we love Kansas City in this matchup at +130.

Seattle Mariners -103 (Felix Hernandez R) at Oakland Athletics -107 (Brett Anderson L) 10:05 ET

Our Pick: Oakland -107

Seattle heads to Oakland as the A’s will begin their AL West defense against King Felix and the Mariners. Felix Hernandez has been especially strong on Opening Day against the Oakland, in five matchups, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.59 ERA and has failed to lose any of those games.

Brett Anderson takes the rubber for the Athletics. The southpaw hopes this season is his to finally get back on track after three injury plagued seasons. After recovering from Tommy John surgery last year, he was impressive six starts, finishing the season with a 2.57 ERA.

Oakland believes they have an ace in Brett Anderson, and we’re inclined to agree with them. Despite, King Felix’s excellent opening day stats against Oakland (and superior talent) – we are favoring the Athletics in this matchup.

Oakland won the AL West last year and is a better team this year. Yoenis Cespedes is healthy and has good numbers against Hernandez, going 4 for 12 off him (.333) with a double last year. Seattle has upgraded their offense by adding Michael Morse and Kendry Morales, but these guys do not exactly scream game changer. One is known steroid abuser and the other is clinging to one outstanding season back in 2009.

Brett Anderson will keep the A’s in this game, and unless Hernandez pitches a gem against a tougher-than-most-people think Oakland lineup, the A’s should be able to come away with a victory. We think the odds makers should be charging bettors around -120 or -130 to bet Oakland, so we’ll happily fire away at -107.

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