MLB Opening Day Preview

Let’s get ready to Play Ball!

Opening Day is here and it’s time to get ready for the ball game. All thirty teams in the American and National League will be in action as the season kicks-off for 2018.

Baseball continues to be one of America’s favourite pastimes and for the first time since 1968 every single team will be playing on Opening Day.

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Miami Marlins v Chicago Cubs
Cubs to win ($1.50)

The Marlins start a new season without Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton and Lewis Brinson gets the chance to impress for his new ball club. Expectations will be low as Derek Jeter has stripped back the ballclub to its bare bones.

Pitcher Jose Urena has established himself as a regular starter in the Marlin’s pitching rotation and the Miami crowd will be hoping for the best against the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs built on their 2016 World Series win with a NL Central title in 2017.

Their 2018 roster includes new signing Yu Darvish but he’s expected to come off the bench with veteran Jon Lester expected to do the honours on Opening Day.

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New York Mets v St Louis Cardinals
Mets to win ($1.70)

The New York Mets have sprung a surprise and left catcher Travis d’Arnaud on the bench for Opening Day for the second consecutive season.

The Mets have one of the best winning percentages in the league when it comes to Opening Day fixtures and have a 4-1 record at Citi Field on the first day of the season.

The Cardinals have been seduced by the excitement of Jordan Hicks. The 21-year old pitcher has struggled with his commitment to the craft in the offseason and has been able to rebound from the disappointment of being sent to the minors and made the cut for Opening Day.

Hicks looks like the ideal closer with a 102-mile fastball paired with an electric curveball.

The Cardinals will be good enough to spring a surprise in what is sure to be a close encounter.

Detroit Tigers v Pittsburgh Pirates
Pirates to win ($1.85)

Detroit is approaching Opening Day with some optimism and is looking to keep a lid on expectations with pitcher Jordan Zimmermann expected to take the mound in the cold conditions.

The Tigers are going through a rebuild and have veterans Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez ready for Opening Day.

The Pirates have three spots available on their 40 man roster and the squad has made a strong impression during the preseason.

The Pirates have an edge against a Detroit side that is about to go through a transitional season.

Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins
Twins to win ($2.10)

Ryan LaMarre has made the cut in place of Zack Granite and the Twins have added Logan Morrison in the designated hitter slot for the season opener against the Orioles.

Baltimore have issues with their starting pitcher and will struggle to stay in the playoff hunt even with the high level of talent in their line-up.

Baltimore are on shaky ground with a number of stars off contract and the same issues set to loom from their 2017 season.

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros
Astros to win ($1.60)

There’s no love lost between these two local rivals as they are set up for a titanic clash on the Opening Day.

The Astros are looking to become the first team to win back-to-back titles since the Yankees (1998-2000).

Houston have retained the majority of their players from their title winning side and still have AL MVP Jose Altuve on the books as well as World Series MVP George Springer.

Shortstop Carlos Correa will be one to watch this season and the youngster is in-line to potentially have a break-out year.

The Rangers will have a tough time against the defending champs with no real changes to line-up from last season.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees
Yankees to win ($1.65)

The Yankees have bolstered their line-up with heavy hitter Giancarlo Stanton, Neil Walker and Brandon Drury.

The Yankees are aiming for the return to the glory years and go deep in their bullpen rotation.

Toronto has quietly gone about their business in the offseason and added Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz.

If the Blue Jays can solve the issues with their offence then they’ll be in with a chance against a powerful Yankees line-up.

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox
Red Sox to win ($1.56)

Boston will be aiming for back to back divisional titles when the season gets underway against Tampa Bay.

Despite their success, the Red Sox have been outplayed across the business end of the season by the Astros last season and the Indians the season prior to that.

Boston have added slugger JD Martinez to their arsenal. Martinez helped himself to 45 home runs last season.

Tampa Bay have struggled to attract new talent in the offseason and start the new year with injuries questions over a number of key personnel.

The Red Sox will be looking to take start the new year with a win if everything goes according to plan.

Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels
Angels to win ($1.77)

The Angels have confirmed that Shohei Ohtani will make his debut as a pinch hitter in the clash with the Athletics.

The Japanese players heads into the majors off the back of a huge season in Japan as a designated hitter. The A’s have brought in a host of new faces including All-Star Jonathan Lucroy and Christ Hatcher.

The A’s will do well if they can over the line after they split the corresponding series with the Angels last season.

San Diego Padres v Milwaukee Brewers
Padres to win ($2)

The Brewers were one of the most aggressive teams in the offseason by acquiring Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain as well as Eric Hosmer and Japanese pitcher Kazuhisa Makita.

The Padres have approached the new season with the goal of making the playoffs and have added a few new faces to their line-up.

Clayton Richard will open from the mound, making him the second oldest player on the Padres line-up.

Eric Hosmer makes his debut for San Diego and will be joined by Chase Hadley, who returns to the side after a stint with the Yankees.

Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Braves to win ($2.10)

Philly have added Jake Arrieta and free agent Carlos Santana to their line-up as the rebuilding process begins.

Philadelphia hasn’t had a winning record since 2011 and will keep their expectations low in what should be a tough season.

For the Braves, Julio Teheran will open the pitching for the fifth consecutive time on Opening Day.

Teheran is hoping to turn things around after a poor 2017 and hopefully will be able to get the Braves off to a good start for the 2018 season.

Kansas City Royals v Chicago White Sox
Chicago to win ($2.35)

Kansas will be without catcher Salvador Perez for a month after the All-Star Catcher injured his knee.

The loss of Perez is significant as the Royals lost Eric Hosmer and Lorenzo Cain during the off-season. Kansas will be hoping to turn around their poor form that has seen them miss the playoffs for the last two seasons.

The White Sox have made some huge strides in their rebuild project. Chicago have placed their faith in a group of youngsters including Yoan Moncada and Nicky Delmonico.

Chicago have the scoring power to edge Kansas and expect them to get over the line on Opening Day.

LA Dodgers v San Francisco Giants
Dodgers to win ($1.33)

The National League Champions will have a point to prove when they take on the Giants on Opening Day.

The Giants have added outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson and third baseman Evan Longoria to their line-up.

Left-handed pitcher Ty Blach will step up to the mound for the Giants on Opening Day.

This promises to be an exciting clash between two of the oldest rivals, with the Giants having a slender lead in their overall record with the Dodgers.

LA will be out to get their season off to a good start with a shutout over the Giants.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Colorado Rockies
Rockies to win ($1.90)

These two sides will be looking to build on the success of last season as they go head to head in a classic Opening Day rivalry.

The Rockies were buoyed by the news that icon Carlos Gonzales will play on for another season after signing a one-year contract.

Nolan Arenado remains a key weapon for Colorado after averaging 40 home runs over the last two seasons.

The Rockies beefed up their bullpen by adding Wade Davis to their rotation. This will be a high scoring shoot-out between two of the most improved teams in the division.

Seattle Mariners v Cleveland Indians
Indians to win ($1.60)

The Mariners host the Indians in what promises to be an exciting start to 2018.

Cleveland are coming off the back of 102 wins last season that included a 22-game winning streak that nabbed them the AL Central title.

Felix Hernandez has been confirmed to take the mound on Opening Day for the Mariners.

Hernandez won the AL Cy Young in 2010 and has an impressive 6-2 record on Opening Day.