Five To Follow MLB Betting: Tuesday, April 7, 2015 Opening Line Report
by Alan Matthews - 4/6/2015
Welcome to my first "Five To Follow" story of the 2015 baseball season, where I will recommend five games per day with day-before opening lines to hopefully get you an early betting advantage either through pitching or hitting trends, possible stars sitting out on getaway days or where injuries could play a big factor in the result or line -- some opening lines could be TBA because of injury, and you usually won't see an early total for games at Wrigley Field because of the unpredictability of the wind.. You can look for this story previewing games every Tuesday-Sunday (Mondays are usually the slowest days of the week).
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Braves at Marlins (-123, 7)
Is it possible to be shocked yet not by a deal? I'm speaking of the Braves' trade on Sunday in sending outfielder Melvin (B.J.) Upton and stellar closer Craig Kimbrel to San Diego for outfielders Carlos Quentin and Cameron Maybin, plus two minor leaguers and a draft pick. I'm pretty surprised the Braves found a taker for Upton's terrible contract and I have no idea why the Padres would take him considering they already have too many outfielders -- yes, even after trading two of them. The Padres take on $80.35 million in guaranteed salaries to Kimbrel and Upton. Atlanta is now in full rebuilding mode. Most believe the Braves did get the better of this deal, however, and the team is expected to designate Quentin for assignment. Excellent young lefty Alex Wood starts for the Braves against new Marlin Mat Latos, acquired this offseason from Cincinnati. Wood had a 1.92 ERA over his final 11 starts in 2014. Latos, interestingly, attended the first-ever Marlins game as a kid in 1993.
Key trends: Atlanta is 1-6 in Wood's past seven road starts. Miami was 1-6 in its final seven games last season against a lefty. The "over/under" has gone over in just one of Wood's past six against Miami.
Early lean: Atlanta's offense is going to be terrible all season. So go under often -- and certainly here.
Orioles at Rays (+103, 8.5)
The Rays rotation has been decimated by injury -- plus closer Jake McGee has begun the season on the disabled list -- so they will turn to Nathan Karns in Game 2 of this series. Karns has made just five big-league starts in his career, two of those coming as a late-season call-up last year with Tampa Bay. Only a few Orioles have ever faced him. Chris Davis is 2-for-2 with a homer. So is shortstop J.J. Hardy, but he's on the disabled list. He's due to return on April 11. It's lefty Wei-Yin Chen for Baltimore. He is coming off his best season in the majors, going 16-6 with a 3.54 ERA in 31 games. Chen was 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in five starts against the Rays in 2014. James Loney is 4-for-13 off him with two doubles. Evan Longoria is 7-for-24 with three RBIs.
Key trends: Baltimore is 1-4 in Chen's past five on the road. The over is 4-1 in his past five at the Rays.
Early lean: Orioles and over.
Angels at Mariners (-132, 7.5)
I expect these teams to battle for the AL West lead all season, although I projected Seattle to win it if you read my team-by-team previews. Lefty C.J. Wilson gets the call for Los Angeles, and he seems to be regressing. He won 13 games last year but had a 4.51 ERA that was his worst since 2008 while with Texas. Wilson walked an American League-leading 85 batters in 175 2/3 innings. He was 1-2 with a 3.42 ERA in four starts vs. Seattle. Wilson eats Kyle Seager's lunch as Seager is just 3-for-33 with 15 strikeouts career against him. New Mariner Nelson Cruz is 4-for-10 with a homer off Wilson. Young lefty James Paxton starts for Seattle. Paxton, who struggled this spring, is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in four games against the Halos. Mike Trout is 2-for-10 with four strikeouts off Paxton.
Key trends: The Angels are 3-13 in Wilson's past 16 on the road. The Mariners are 6-1 in Paxton's past seven at home. The under is 6-1 in Wilson's past seven vs. Seattle.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
Cardinals at Cubs (TBA)
These are the only two teams that didn't play Monday. St. Louis opened the season Sunday night at Wrigley Field with a 3-0 win behind Adam Wainwright. Interestingly, new Cubs manager Joe Maddon batted his pitcher, Jon Lester, in the No. 8 spot. Not sure if that will be his daily routine or not. Jason Heyward had three hits in his St. Louis debut. Lance Lynn gets the call in Game 2. A left hip flexor strain limited Lynn to four spring starts. Lynn made just one start in 2014 against the Cubs and took a no-decision, allowing two earned in six innings. Starlin Castro is a career .333 hitter off Lynn. Anthony Rizzo is 5-for-22 with a homer and three RBIs. Jake Arrieta goes for Chicago. He was 1-0 with a 1.21 ERA in four starts last year vs. the Cards. Matt Adams is 5-for-11 with three RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Cards are 1-4 in Lynn's past five on the road. Chicago is 4-0 in Arrieta's past four at home. St. Louis is 7-3 in Lynn's past 10 vs. the Cubs.
Early lean: Not really sure why no opening line here -- usually it's just the total that's off the board at first for Wrigley games. I do think the construction there could be a reason because the conditions can be much different with no bleachers right now. I think Cubs win.
Rangers at A's (-151, 7.5)
May want to take the under on the A's for a while as they open the season without two-thirds of their outfield available with Coco Crisp and Josh Reddick on the DL. Crisp could miss up to two months. Reddick is scheduled to join the team this weekend. Colby Lewis starts for the Rangers. Lewis made two starts against the Athletics last season and was 1-0 with a 4.38 ERA. New A's designated hitter Billy Butler is 3-for-9 with a homer, double and four RBIs off Lewis. Jesse Hahn, acquired from San Diego this offseason in the Derek Norris deal, starts for Oakland. He had a strong spring. Hahn has never faced the Rangers or any Texas hitters.
Key trends: Texas, oddly, has won just four of its past 21 on Tuesday. The under is 4-1 in Lewis' past five vs. Oakland.
Early lean: A's and over.
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