We might be knee-deep in March Madness betting, but the start of the 2019 MLB season is just a day away.
And DraftKings Sportsbook has gotten an early jump to post the opening lines for some of the contests. We’ll see 14 games in total with all but one of them happening in the afternoon.
For New Jersey sports betting fans, the big games to watch on MLB opening day will likely feature the local favorites.
Phillies vs. Braves: The Bryce Harper effect?
One of the highlight matchups of the day will be the Philadelphia Phillies (-175) hosting the Atlanta Braves (+145).
Everyone will be tuning in to see the new-look Phillies, who made headlines in the offseason with the signing of Bryce Harper to a 13-year, $330 million contract.
Along with the additions of J.T. Realmuto and Jean Segura, the Phillies became the first team to add three All-Star position players from the previous season.
The Phillies will put Aaron Nola on the bump versus Julio Teheran for the Braves.
Nola went 17-6 last season with a 2.37 ERA but was just 2-2 in five starts against the Braves last season. He pitched well, allowing the Braves to hit just .185, but the Phillies scored just 3.4 runs per game in his outings.
Nationals vs. Mets: A pitching duel
Another key National League matchup will see the Washington Nationals (-132) get their season started against the New York Mets (+112). The Mets will put Jacob deGrom on the mound just two days after signing him to a five-year, $137.5 million extension.
It’ll be a matchup of Cy Young Award winners as deGrom won the award in 2018 while Max Scherzer, his opponent on Thursday, won the prize in 2017 and 2016.
Expect to see one of the lowest totals on the board in this game, which should be a pitcher’s duel.
Yankees, Red Sox and more
The New York Yankees (-275) are currently the biggest favorite of the day as they take on the Baltimore Orioles (+225).
The two teams were separated by a whopping 53 games in the standings last season and the gap could be quite large once again. The Yankees, who are among the World Series favorites entering the season, will put Masahiro Tanaka on the mound versus Andrew Cashner.
The fact that Cashner, who had a 5.29 ERA and 1.58 WHIP with the Orioles last season, is deemed an Opening Day starter tells a huge part of the story here. Cashner was just 2-8 on the road last season, allowing opponents to bat .312 while posting a 1.71 WHIP in away games.
A slice of Red Sox action
Meanwhile, the World Series champs will get their season started in the lone night game on the day. The Boston Red Sox (-210) will visit the Seattle Mariners (+175) in a game that can be seen on ESPN.
Remember that the Mariners have already started their season, winning their first two contests, which were played against the Oakland Athletics in Japan. The Mariners’ offense was clicking as they’ve already hit four home runs and scored 14 runs in two games.
The Red Sox will look to slow them down with Chris Sale, who will face Marco Gonzales. Sale didn’t face the Mariners last season, but for his career, he is 6-1 against them in nine starts. He’s held the Mariners to a .185 batting average in those contests with a sparkling WHIP of 0.75.
As for Gonzales, he’s already made one start this season and was hit fairly hard, giving up three earned runs, two home runs, and seven hits in six innings of work. The 27-year-old has only faced the Red Sox once in his career and was rocked for five earned runs in just six innings as the Mariners lost 5-0.
All that being said, MLB opening day is sure to garner some attention from NJ sports betting fans who have been waiting months and months for the new season to start.
Thankfully, DraftKings has its eyes on the baseball as well as the basketball.