The 2020 MLB season finally gets underway this Friday, the 24th of July! As we have for years, Before You Bet will once again be bringing you a weekly MLB betting tips article, focusing in on one of the big mid-week slates on a day where there might not be too much Australian sports happening.
See our full preview and betting tips for the two games on opening day below, or you can check out our MLB Season Preview & Outright Betting Tips here.
Nationals Park, 9.08am (AEST)
The reigning World Series champions will kick off the new season as they host the Yankees from around 9am Australian time on Friday morning. Max Scherzer is coming off a dominant post-season which was the catalyst in the Nationals championship run and he’ll be on the mound on opening day looking to carry on his great form from 2019.
The Nats lost all-star third baseman Anthony Rendon to free agency in the off-season but there’s no doubt they still have a championship calibre team if they can stay healthy. Their starting rotation is still one of the best in baseball and if their outfield can stay intact, they should be at least the second best team in the National League.
They’ll be up against the Yankees on Friday morning, a daunting task given some of the moves New York made in the off-season. Despite having one of the most efficient batting line-ups in all of baseball, the Yankees fell agonisingly short of a World Series berth mainly due to an underperforming starting rotation. The Yankees did what the Yankees do best in the offseason, splurging $324 million on arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball currently, Gerrit Cole, who will be on the mound Friday morning.
The Yankees score more runs than any other team in 2019 despite two of their best hitters, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton playing just over 120 games between them due to injury. If their batting line-up replicates the performance of 2019 combined with a rejuvenised starting rotation, they could be hoisting their 28th World Series title.
The Yankees have been pretty strong through pre-season games, maintaining a 13-8 record and we think they are pretty good value on opening day. Might have to reassess when the two teams meet again on Sunday, but with Cole on the mound, we like the Yankees here.
Dodger Stadium, 12.08pm (AEST)
Is this finally going to be the year for the Dodgers? After being arguably the most successful team in baseball for the past five years, the Dodgers have fallen short of their first World Series win since 1988. Last season, it was the Washington Nationals who eliminated them in the NLCS and they’ll be back for blood in 2020.
The Dodgers might have put together one of the best teams on paper of all-time this season. They won 106 games last year, the most of any team in the league and just went ahead and added perennial MVP candidate in Mookie Betts to strengthen the roster. The addition of Betts as well as a stream of top prospects to an already ridiculous line-up of position players that includes Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner, Corey Saeger and Max Muncy will make them the team to beat in 2020.
The Giants will likely sit at the other end of the spectrum in 2020. The return of Johnny Cueto to the starting rotation was one positive to come out of the Giants off-season this year. The right hander has battled through injury and surgery for the past two seasons but will get the start in game one against Clayton Kershaw on Friday.
All things going according to plan, the Dodgers should win this one pretty comfortably. They were dominant in pre-season, with a 13-7 record, the best in the ‘Cactus League’ and we feel confident that they can carry that momentum into opening day.
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