The MLB season seemed like a longshot at one point, but the league will officially begin on Thursday.
This year will look different than year’s past, as teams are playing a condensed, 60-game schedule. The reigning World Series champion, Washington, will play host to the New York Yankees on Thursday night at 7:08 p.m. ET.
The Yankees, who are sending Gerrit Cole to the bump, are listed as -135 favorites at 5Dimes. Washington (+125) counters with Max Scherzer. Thursday’s total is set at 7.5 with standard -110 juice on both sides.
The Nationals closed the 2019 World Series with a pair of +130 payouts in upsets over Houston.
San Francisco and Los Angeles will meet in the nightcap of ESPN’s Opening Day doubleheader, with the first pitch set for 10:08 p.m. ET. The Dodgers are heavy -280 favorites with Clayton Kershaw heading to the mound, while the Giants (+255) will send out Johnny Cueto as their starter.
Los Angeles has the highest win total of any team in MLB, according to Circa Sports’ regular-season win totals. The Dodgers are projected to win 38 games, while the Yankees are close behind at 37.
Circa Sports also released ‘yes/no’ World Series odds, which is a rarity in the industry. The Dodgers and Yankees are the co-favorites at +375 odds. Bettors can lay -535 on New York not winning the World Series, which is the same takeback price on Los Angeles.
The Dodgers are -475 to win the NL West, while New York is -265 to win the AL East. Houston is a -180 favorite to win the AL West. Atlanta (+165), Cincinnati (+190) and Minnesota (-130) are the ‘chalk’ in the other divisions.
Another important storyline heading into the 2020 season stems from a decision made by the Westgate SuperBook and South Point in Las Vegas. Both books are no longer “listing” pitchers for MLB wagers.
In the past, a late pitching change would lead to a no-play or push for any bets on the game. Now, bets are going to have ‘action’ regardless of a late scratch.
Bettors have been conflicted on this change, but sharps tend to agree that this is a good thing for knowledgeable gamblers. Inside information on an illness or injury will allow some bettors to get ahead of a big line movement
with this new rule in place.
With bettors starved for action after several dry months in the sports world, some sportsbooks are offering tasty promotions for Thursday’s Opening Day. PointsBet is offering bettors the chance to win $100 on a $20 wager if the Yankees tally at least one hit against the Nationals.
The last time New York was no-hit occurred in 2003, when the Astros set
the record for most pitchers used in a no-hitter in MLB history with six. If bettors do not make their first wager on Thursday, the promotion still applies to any team they choose to bet on with their first ticket at the book.
BetMGM is offering a similar promotion. The betting shop is allowing customers to bet $1 and win $100 if the Yankees or Nationals hit a home run. New York had a streak of 31 consecutive games with a home run last season.
The offer is valid for any Washington-New York game between Thursday and Sunday. It only applies to new users, but 100/1 odds on a home run is a steal.
This year’s regular season is scheduled to end on September 27. BetOnline has a prop listing MLB at -400 to complete the regular season and postseason.