MLB Predictions: Best Upcoming Series for Betting
by Trevor Whenham - 3/30/2011
Baseball’s Opening Day is so close that I can measure the time in hours now instead of days. Very exciting stuff. As I look ahead at what we have to enjoy in the coming weeks as teams get underway there are six series that clearly stand out as the best of the early season offerings from a betting perspective -- the series that will get you excited about baseball season being here, and which will give you an early indication of how good teams are ready to perform. Given how interesting and tough the AL East is this year it’s no coincidence that four of the six series feature at least one team from that group: Here are my MLB predictions for the best upcoming series to bet on.
Boston at Texas (April 1-3) - Things open up with an incredibly good series. The Rangers will be looking to prove that last year was not a fluke, that their playoff collapse wasn’t a sign of bigger problems, and that they are a legitimate elite squad. The Red Sox face massive expectations and need to start off strong to show that their aggressive moves have paid off. In short, both teams could use a strong start against a very good team here to get the season rolling. Texas also needs to show that the top of their rotation is ready to face the best teams -- something that is far from certain from where I sit.
New York Yankees at Boston (April 8-10) - It’s almost a cliché to include this rivalry because of all the attention it gets these days. You can’t help to be compelled by it, though -- especially given the questions surrounding both teams. Have the Red Sox done enough to move ahead of their hated rivals? Do the Yankees have as many potential issues in their rotation as it looks like they could? Will this be a war throughout the season, or will one team assert themselves early in the division. Whether you like these teams or hate them both like I do this is must-see action.
Oakland at Toronto (April 5-7) - As a big fan of pitchers and pitching I couldn’t be more excited about this matchup. Both teams have exciting rotations. They are both young, talented, led by guys who could be elite aces, and coming into the season with some real swagger and sky-high potential. The road will be rocky at time for both teams, but given their arms and the solid talent they both have in other places I am very bullish on both teams -- especially the A’s given the much easier division they play in. This will be a good early measuring stick of both these exciting teams.
Philadelphia at Atlanta (April 8-10) - There is no team with more expectations on their shoulders coming into this season than the Phillies. They have a rotation like we have rarely seen, and that has led most people to confidently pick them to shine in their division and beyond. This series could be a test for them. Atlanta’s rotation is impressive in its’ own right, and the team is solid and coming off a good season. They have made their first managerial change in literally decades, but the new man respects the system and is aggressive and impressive, so the transition should be very smooth. Atlanta is a pretty good team -- the kind that Philadelphia needs to be able to beat impressively if they are as good as they are supposed to be.
Milwaukee at Cincinnati (March 31 - April 3) - One of the Opening Day games features two very interesting teams. Cincinnati took big strides forward last year, and is widely expected to continue their progress this year. They have lots of pitching, the defending MVP, and plenty of bats around him. Milwaukee is coming off a much less impressive year, but they were very aggressive in the offseason in an attempt to address their shortcomings -- especially on the mound -- and take advantage of a solid lineup to become a contender again. It’s a risky situation that isn’t certain to pay off. We won’t get to see Zack Greinke yet because of his injury, but we’ll still get a sense of where this team is at, and if they are playing with the confidence that management obviously hoped to give them with these moves. They strike me as a team that badly needs to get off to a good start, so this series is a very intriguing test for them.
Baltimore at Tampa Bay (April 1-3) - We’ve talked about the other three teams in the AL East, so we might as well look at the last two. Both teams are interesting because we don’t really know what we will get from either one. Tampa Bay has lost much more than they gained, but they still have a very good rotation, and could be a serious contender in the division -- or they could fade into relative obscurity. Baltimore has been so bad for so long that it’s hard to remember that they were ever good. They are finally making progress, though -- they have a very aggressive manager, some nice young talent, and a rotation that could still be a year or two away but which could be better than people think. The Orioles aren’t going to shock the world, but they could be better than expected, and their performance in this series could be a good indicator of their mindset and the swagger they are entering the season with.
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