MLB Opening Day Odds Preview

The baseball season may have begun last night when the Red Sox clashed with the Yankees, but the real opening day is today with 13 games on tap. There are a number of afternoon games on the schedule today, so if you’re making some bets be sure to get them in early to avoid missing out on the early starts. Most teams will be sending their ace to the mound today, which means some elite pitching matchups. Here’s a rundown of four that caught our eye.

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Philadelphia (-200) at Washington (+170) O/U 7.5 Roy Halladay vs. John Lannan This clearly isn’t an elite pitching matchup, but it still deserves attention because it’s Roy Halladay’s first start for the Phillies. Last season with Toronto Halladay turned in a 17-10 record and a 2.79 ERA. During his career he’s faced the Nationals/Expos nine times and put up a tidy 5-1 record with a 2.56 ERA. Lannan is basically the Nats ace by default while they wait for Stephen Strasburg to arrive. Last season Lannan was 9-13 with a 3.88 ERA, which included some poor starts against the Phillies. He was 0-3 with a 5.24 ERA in four starts against Philadelphia, and in his career he’s a winless 0-6 against the Phillies in eight starts.

Detroit (+105) at Kansas City (-115) O/U 7 Justin Verlander vs. Zack Greinke This may well be the best pitching matchup of opening day. Tigers ace Verlander is coming off an amazing season in which he went 19-9 with a 3.45 ERA. He has owned the Royals during his short career with a 9-2 record and a 2.32 ERA in 14 starts. Greinke picked up first Cy Young Award last season after going 16-8 with a Major-League-best 2.16 ERA. In three starts against the Tigers last season Greinke was 3-1 with a tiny 1.00 ERA. This will be his first of what will likely be many opening day starts for the Royals.

San Francisco (-120) at Houston (+110) O/U 7.5 Tim Lincecum vs. Roy Oswalt The NL Cy Young winner also debuts today when Lincecum faces the Astros. Last season the lanky lefthander won his second straight Cy Young after going 15-7 with a 2.48 ERA. In his only start against Houston last season he picked up a win after tossing seven shutout innings. Oswalt could be nearing the end of what has been a solid career if he’s truthful about a possible retirement at the end of the season. Last year he was only 8-6 with a 4.12 ERA. He did pitch well against the Giants, though, notching a win after allowing one run on three hits in eight innings.

Florida (-105) at NY Mets (-115) O/U 7 Josh Johnson vs. Johan Santana Johnson developed into a true ace last season after going 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA. He dominated the Mets with a 3-0 record and a 2.89 ERA in four starts against them. In his career he’s never lost the Mets while going 7-0 with a 2.30 ERA in nine starts. Santana makes his return from offseason shoulder surgery that shortened his season a year ago. He went 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA in 2009, and before the surgery he was a disappointing 5-6 in the second half. In two starts against the Marlins last season he was 0-1 despite a 1.29 ERA. In seven career starts against Florida he is 5-1 with a tidy 1.68 ERA.

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