MLB Betting: How Will Yoshinobu Yamamoto Perform in His Debut?

Kenyatta Storin
Kenyatta Storin@KenyattaStorin
MLB Betting: How Will Yoshinobu Yamamoto Perform in His Debut?

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 for the opening Seoul Series. 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 Seoul Series Best Bets

Dodgers -1.5 (+114)

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the Seoul Series opener, 5-2, over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday morning, and while the Padres suffered a bit of bad luck in that one, there's reason to expect a similar result in the second game.

Right-hander Yoshinobu Yamamoto is set to make his highly anticipated MLB debut for the Dodgers, and despite a rocky spring training (8.38 ERA) for Yamamoto, we should remain optimistic that he will get his season off on the right foot.

That's because Yamamoto's underlying metrics remained promising. Beyond that bloated ERA was a stellar 29.8% strikeout rate and 51.7% ground-ball rate, and his 8.5% walk rate was respectable. A sky-high .517 BABIP suggests Yamamoto's ERA was more a sign of bad luck, and his 3.47 xFIP also backed that notion. Season-long projections for the Japanese star are universally favorable, too.

On the other side, Padres starter Joe Musgrove has endured a much more concerning spring training. In addition to also posting an unsightly ERA (13.50), Musgrove's xFIP (5.90), strikeout rate (16.7%), and walk rate (13.3%) left a lot to be desired.

Of course, Musgrove has been quite good since joining the Padres in 2021 -- he's posted a 3.05 ERA over the last three seasons -- so perhaps he'll be good to go when the games count. The trouble is he'll have to contend with a Dodgers lineup that's arguably even more stacked than it was last year.

If we look at how L.A.'s active roster performed against righties in 2023, we see a massive 125 wRC+, a mark that's edged out by only the Atlanta Braves (126 wRC+). That's in stark contrast to the Padres' current lineup, which ranks just 21st in the split (97 wRC+).

In all, the Dodgers should have the pitching and hitting advantage in this matchup. Add in the plus odds for an L.A. cover -- likely due to the uncertainty of Yamamoto -- and I like the value we're getting here.

Mookie Betts to Record 2+ Total Bases (-110)

Mookie Betts logged a pair of singles on Wednesday, and we should like his chances of totaling two or more bases again.

As noted, Musgrove had a shaky spring training, which already sets up Betts to do some damage early in the game. But Musgrove also produced just a 20.6% strikeout rate in same-handed matchups last season, further increasing the likelihood of Betts making contact.

As for Betts, he's coming off a stellar campaign that concluded with him finishing second in NL MVP voting. He checked just about every box at the plate last season, ranking in the 95th percentile or better in all of xwOBA, xBA, and xSLG, per Baseball Savant. He also recorded a 15.4% strikeout rate, tying his best mark since joining the Dodgers.

Particularly with the greater likelihood of Betts getting additional plate appearances as a leadoff hitter, we should like his chances of hitting (literally) on this prop.

Yoshinoba Yamamoto Over 4.5 Strikeouts (-120)

The odds for this prop have fluctuated a lot on Wednesday morning, but if it stays in this range, this does seem like a low bar for Yamamoto to surpass in his debut.

Not only did Yamamoto post close to 30% strikeout rate in spring training, but he did so with a nasty 22.5% swinging-strike rate. While most projection systems peg him for closer to a 25%-26% strikeout rate this season, the league's unfamiliarity with his stuff should be to his advantage early on.

Admittedly, even if Yamamoto is on his game, there are a couple of hurdles he will have to overcome. The Padres' active roster combined for a 19.8% strikeout rate versus righties in 2023, which would rank as the league's fourth-best mark if that held this season.

On top of that, neither starter in Wednesday's Seoul Series opener reached 80 pitches, and Los Angeles is unlikely to push their $325-million man very hard in his first start.

Still, it's reasonable to expect Yamamoto to go at least five innings, which is what Tyler Glasnow logged on Wednesday despite issuing four walks. And if Yamamoto's spring training is any indication, that should be enough batters for him to pass this modest K total.

Get in on the action today! All FanDuel customers get a 30% Profit Boost Token to use on the MLB Seoul Series Game on March 21st! See the promotions page for more information.

Looking for more MLB betting opportunities? Check out all of the MLB odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook and FanDuel Daily Fantasy today!

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.