To little surprise, the Atlanta Braves have the worst offensive team in baseball, and if you weren't already betting under the total in their games, well shame on you. I'd start now that the team's second-best hitter, outfielder Matt Kemp, has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 8, with a strained right hamstring. Kemp has been easily the best Braves hitter at .500 with two homers and four RBIs. He actually had become a durable player the past three years. Emilio Bonifacio likely will play left field most nights while Kemp is out.
Free $60 in Member MLB Picks No Obligation Click Here
Pirates at Red Sox ( -140, 9.5 )
A 2:05 p.m. ET start. You might be thinking to yourself that you remember the Pirates visiting Fenway Park to open the season and that there is no such thing as one team making two interleague series trips to another city. You would be right. This is a makeup game for one rained out on April 6. Boston had won the first two games of the series. Pittsburgh will thus get to add the DH again. The Bucs go with Chad Kuhl. He beat the Braves in his season debut last week, allowing two earned and five hits - but six walks (two intentionally) - over five innings. He has never faced the Red Sox. It's lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for Boston. He was an injury-plagued disappointment in 2016 and not much better in his 2017 debut in Detroit, allowing four runs (two homers) over five innings in a loss. Rodriguez has never faced Pittsburgh.
Key trends: The Pirates are 0-6 in their past six road games. The "over/under" has gone under in four of Boston's past five interleague games.
Early lean: Red Sox and over.
Dodgers at Cubs (-138, TBA)
If the Dodgers play another game in Wrigley Field this season (assuming this isn't rained out), then it would be in the playoffs as the teams close a three-game NLCS rematch on Thursday afternoon (2:20 p.m. ET). The Cubbies wanted to throw as many lefties as possible against the Dodgers, who struggle in a big way against southpaws, and it's former Dodger Brett Anderson here. Anderson, who was quite good for L.A. in 2015 but barely pitched last year due to injury, took a no-decision in Milwaukee in his Chicago debut in giving up a run and five hits over 5.2 innings. Only a couple of Dodgers have ever faced him. Adrian Gonzalez is 2-for-8 with a homer. L.A.'s Hyun-Jin Ryu pitched in just one game in 2016 due to injury and was decent in his 2017 debut in Colorado, allowing two runs over 4.2 innings in a loss. Jason Heyward has seen him more than any Cub, going 2-for-10.
Key trends: The Dodgers are 1-9 in their past 10 vs. a lefty. The over is 5-1 in the Cubs' past six on Thursday.
Early lean: Cubs.
Rangers at Angels (-104, 8.5)
A 3:37 p.m. ET first pitch from Anaheim in the series finale. Texas goes with ace Yu Darvish (0-1, 3.65). His first start of the year wasn't great vs. Cleveland but his second much better vs. Oakland in going six innings and allowing one run. But that's the one he lost. Darvish is 7-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 career starts against the Angels. That's his most wins against any opponent. Mike Trout is a career .270 hitter off him with four homers in 37 at-bats. Kole Calhoun is 4-for-11 with two dingers. It's "ace" Ricky Nolasco (0-1, 3.86) for the Halos. He took a no-decision in a quality start last time out vs. Seattle with two runs allowed in six innings. Nolasco won his lone 2016 start vs. Texas. Carlos Gomez is 4-for-9 against him with a homer.
Key trends: The Rangers are 6-1 in Darvish's past seven vs. the Angels. The over is 6-1-1 in his past eight against them.
Early lean: Rangers and over.
Orioles at Blue Jays (-110, 9)
The Jays activated closer Roberto Osuna off the 10-day DL on Tuesday. They look terrible thus far and could use all the help they can get. Toronto opened the season with two losses in Baltimore, managing just three runs in 20 innings (one went extras). The Jays go with lefty Francisco Liriano. I'm fairly certain his 135.00 ERA is the highest in baseball as Liriano lasted just a third of an inning in his first start of the year vs. Tampa Bay. He was tagged for five runs and walked four. Liriano is 2-4 with a 4.34 ERA in his career vs. the Orioles. Adam Jones is 8-for-21 off him with three homers. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman (0-0, 5.40) lasted 5.1 innings on Opening Day vs. the Jays and allowed two runs in a no-decision. Jose Bautista is 1-for-15 off him.
Key trends: The Orioles are 3-7 in their past 10 road games vs. lefties. The under is 10-1 in the past 11 meetings.
Early lean: Orioles and under.
Rockies at Giants (-190, 6.5)
First meeting of the season between these NL West rivals. The Giants will be without All-Star catcher Buster Posey as he was placed on the seven-day concussion DL. Colorado starts young ace Jon Gray (0-0, 5.79). He was much better in his second start of the year, going 5.1 innings and allowing a run and four hits vs. the Dodgers. Oddly, Gray tends to pitch better at hitter-friendly Coors Field. In two career starts against the Giants, Gray is 0-1 with a 2.92 ERA. Hunter Pence is 1-for-4 off him with a double. Brandon Belt is 0-for-15. Giants lefty Madison Bumgarner (0-1, 3.00) should be 2-0 with two quality starts but took the loss last time out in giving up two runs over eight innings vs. the Padres. This will be his first home start of the year. He was 9-4 with a 2.14 ERA last year at AT&T Park and 1-0 overall with a 1.40 ERA in three starts vs. the Rockies. Carlos Gonzalez is a career .321 hitter off him with five homers and 10 RBIs but also 16 strikeouts. DJ LeMahieu is only 5-for-29.
Key trends: The Rockies are 4-16 in Gray's past 20 on the road. The over is 5-1 in his past six there. The under is 5-2 in the past seven meetings.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Doc's is offering $60 worth of member baseball picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit for any of our top MLB handicappers. Click here for free MLB picks now. Also, for a limited time only get three MLB handicappers for the price of one. Click here for details .
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent Baseball Handicapping Articles
- 2017 World Series Predictions
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 9/2/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 9/1/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/31/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/30/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/29/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/26/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/25/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/24/2017, Opening Line Report
- Five to Follow Expert MLB Betting Picks: 8/23/2017, Opening Line Report