Five to Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 3/31/2014
The Philadelphia 76ers just ended a mammoth losing streak over the weekend. Can the Houston Astros do the same in their season opener Tuesday against the Yankees? Here's a look at five intriguing matchups from the schedule in order of first pitch.
Dodgers at Padres (+138, 6.5 runs)
Do I think spring training means a whole lot? Not really. For example the Miami Marlins had the second-best record in the Grapefruit League, but I don't think you can find anyone who thinks they will finish above .500 this season. With that said, I do think you can glean some things from spring. And one is a pitcher who hasn't yet rounded into form. I believe the Dodgers' Zack Greinke is one of them. He wasn't able to pitch in the season-opening series in Australia because of a calf injury and was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three spring starts. He got in only 8.1 innings of work. That seems to bode well for San Diego on Tuesday. The Snakes start Ian Kennedy, who got much better after being traded from Arizona to the Padres. He had a 3.06 ERA at Petco last season. You may also want to drop some money on a Carlos Quentin prop against Greinke as he has three homers in 29 at-bats off him.
Key trends: San Diego is 7-1 in its past eight home games against a righty starter. The "under" is 6-0 in the past six meetings.
Early lean: The Padres rough up a rusty Greinke.
Yankees at Astros (+158, 8)
Opening Day is important to every team but probably to no team in 2014 more than Houston. The Astros closed last season on a 15-game skid, the final three of those at home to these Yankees. New York starter CC Sabathia wasn't good last season, and he believes being thinner will help. I'm not so sure. He was very good this spring. Houston counters with Scott Feldman, who was 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in two starts against the Yankees last year with Baltimore. I expect a nice game from Derek Jeter in his final Opening Day. He's a career .300 hitter with two dingers off Feldman.
Key trends: Yankees are 6-0 in their past six in Houston. New York is 1-6 in Sabathia's past seven road starts.
Early lean: The Astros really want this to forget about 2013. They win in an upset.
Rockies at Marlins (-110, 7.5)
Count me among those who think the Colorado Rockies made a potentially outstanding trade in getting Brett Anderson from Oakland this offseason. It was a great low-risk, high-reward deal, one that Oakland probably regrets now that Jarrod Parker is done for the season. Anderson makes his NL debut in this one. He was 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA this spring, and few Marlins have seen him before, so that's an advantage. Miami starter Nathan Eovaldi threw six shutout innings in his lone start against the Rockies a season ago. Michael Cuddyer is 2-for-6 off him with three walks.
Key trends: The under is 10-2-1 in Eovaldi's past 13 starts. The under also has hit in eight of the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: When Anderson is healthy, he's a stud. He's healthy right now. Love the under.
Phillies at Rangers (-131, 8.5)
Did any team have a worse spring than Texas in regards to injuries? Maybe Atlanta. The Rangers start Martin Perez here, and while he's a good pitcher in reality he should be the team's No. 4 behind Yu Darvish, Derek Holland and Matt Harrison, who are all hurt. A.J. Burnett makes his Phillies debut after somewhat surprisingly not retiring or re-signing with Pittsburgh. He wasn't sharp this spring, going 1-3 with a 6.05 ERA. Jump on a Prince Fielder prop against Burnett. Fielder is 4-for-14 with two homers in his career against the right-hander. Perez's numbers weren't great this spring, either, allowing nine runs on 11 hits in Cactus League games. The Phillies will be able to use a DH in this one as it's in an AL park.
Key trends: The Phillies are 7-1 in their past eight against lefty starters. Texas is 7-1 in its past eight at home.
Early lean: If spring is any indication, this will be a shootout so go over.
Giants at Diamondbacks (-102, 8)
Which Matt Cain shows up? He was easily one of the most disappointing pitchers in the majors a year ago, entering 2013 as a Cy Young favorite and finishing it 8-10 with a 4.00 ERA. Cain wasn't very good this spring, either, going 1-1 with a 7.47 ERA in 15.2 innings. He was 1-1 with a 3.56 ERA last year against the Snakes. Cain was much better on the road than at home. Arizona goes with lefty Wade Miley. He pitched in Australia against the Dodgers and allowed three runs over five innings while striking out eight. He was 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA in three starts against the Giants in 2013. Buster Posey loves facing him, going 8-for-15 with a homer.
Key trends: The under is 9-1-1 in the past 11 meetings. Arizona is 0-5 in Miley's last five starts against the Giants.
Early lean: That Miley has a start under his belt should be an advantage, so lean Arizona.
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