MLB Betting Guide for 2024 Opening Day: We Are So Back

Gabriel Santiago
Gabriel Santiago@gps_onthemic
MLB Betting Guide for 2024 Opening Day: We Are So Back

It was a long and cold winter, but with this Thursday's arrival, MLB's Opening Day is finally here.

As always, baseball has you covered if you want a large inventory of options to bet.

From moneylines to run totals to first-five-inning wagers, we have plenty of ways to bet the long, arduous MLB schedule daily. Outlooks can be vastly different due to starting pitchers, and a wealth of advanced stats can let us know if an individual pitcher, a bullpen, or a team is due for positive -- or negative -- regression.

Using numberFire's projections as a guide, which MLB odds from FanDuel Sportsbook are most appealing today?

Note: Lines are subject to change throughout the day after this article is published. All stats come from FanGraphs and Baseball Savant unless noted otherwise. Please check here to make sure you're seeing the most updated projections.

MLB Best Bets

Washington Nationals at Cincinnati Reds

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

Reds -1.5 (+130)

On Opening Day, the majority of contests (8 of 15) are scheduled with a 4:10 p.m. ET first pitch. At that time, I'll have my eyes on a matchup at Great American Ballpark between the visiting Washington Nationals and Cincinnati Reds. With my first regular-season play of 2024, I'd like to start a little aggressively; I believe the home-side Reds can cover the run line on Thursday.

Admittedly, baseball betting can be a "work-in-progress" throughout the early weeks. In these instances, we really only have past and Spring Training data to bank on. Still, that is often enough to get us on the right path.

Last year, no MLB team was as proficient as Cincinnati at covering the traditional baseball spread. Over the Reds' past 162 games, they went 97-65 versus the run line, which equated to a 59.9% cover rate. With that in mind, I can get behind Cincy's youthful core going against a last-place team from 2023.

Notably, dynamic stars like Elly De La Cruz, Jonathan India, Matt McLain and TJ Friedl power an impressive offense for the Reds. A season ago, this team produced a collective .747 OPS, which was fifth-highest in the National League. Simply, I think they are poised to get all over the Nats and starting pitcher Josiah Gray (a hurler who De La Cruz already has in his home-run book).

In 2023, Washington struggled through the majority of the year. Overall, the Nationals compiled a dismal .309 wOBA (21st in MLB). They went 71-91 straight up (SU) last season.

So, to kick things off, I love Reds -1.5 for a plus-money payback of +130.

San Francisco Giants at San Diego Padres

First Pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

Under 7.5 Runs (-115)

Alright, let's dial it back a bit. Out at Petco Park, a venue favorable to pitchers, I like the San Francisco Giants and San Diego Padres to combine for under 7.5 runs (-115 odds) on Thursday evening.

With wily veterans Logan Webb and Yu Darvish on the mound for this bid, we see two reliable right-handed arms. Webb led the Majors in innings pitched (216.0) last season, sporting a sharp 3.16 skill-interactive ERA (SIERA) along the way. Darvish was not as dominant in 2023, but he still produced a respectable 2.4 WAR. He already has one start in 2024, allowing zero earned runs to the Los Angeles Dodgers in Seoul, Korea.

As aforementioned, Petco Park -- located just a few blocks away from San Diego Bay -- is typically more friendly to pitchers than hitters. According to Baseball Savant's Park Factors, the Padres' home stadium has produced the third-lowest offensive score (95) rolling back to 2021.

There's also the old baseball adage that pitchers typically start a bit ahead of batters. Sure, Spring Training is a lengthy process, but the sheer mechanics of the game allow pitchers to establish rhythm and timing ahead of hitters.

The Giants made several improvements over the offseason, adding Jorge Soler, Matt Chapman and Jung Hoo Lee to the lineup. Still, I'm not sure they are an offense that strikes fear into opposing pitchers' hearts just yet. San Francisco showcased a lowly .695 OPS in 2023, which was the worst in the Senior Circuit.

For the Padres, their offense gave a "Jekyll & Hyde" approach in two games overseas, scoring two runs one day and 15 the next. But going against Webb (who is the Giants' clubhouse leader), I don't see San Diego having incredible success -- look for starting pitching to shine in the Gaslamp Quarter this Thursday.

Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners

First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

Mariners Moneyline (-166)

Staying out on the West Coast, I am interested in a nightcap in the Emerald City. Let us head to T-Mobile Park for an Opening Day clash between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.

For this contest, the projected starters on the mound are Brayan Bello and Luis Castillo. We don't need to get too complex here -- I believe the Mariners boast a stronger lineup than Boston and have a better pitcher going. Additionally, the M's have the comforts of playing from home. With all that considered, I can get down with Seattle's -166 moneyline price at FanDuel Sportsbook.

In 2023, these sides actually split six head-to-head games. However, the Mariners won two of three games played in the Pacific Northwest. Fast-forward to now, and I have these sides trending in opposite directions. The Red Sox appear to be in a rebuild, while Seattle seems more motivated than ever to reach the franchise's first World Series.

The M's are built thoroughly strong up the middle, which is the foundation of any baseball team. In center field, Julio Rodriguez is one of MLB's brightest young stars. He slugged 28 homers as a rookie before producing his first 30-30 campaign (32 HR/37 SB) in 2023. After J-Rod, shortstop J.P. Crawford and catcher Cal Raleigh are high-quality players on both offense and defense.

To comfort my moneyline play on Seattle, the Mariners were one of the best pitching clubs in baseball last year. Collectively, the team produced a 3.74 ERA, which was tops in the American League. That is the sort of consistency I can trust for a Seattle outright victory against the BoSox on Opening Night.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.