2017 MLB Opening Day PicksNoah Williams
Will the Chicago Cubs kick off their defense of their 2016 World series title with a big victory over the NL Central division rival St. Louis Cardinals? Will the World Series runner-up Cleveland Indians do likewise against an offensive-minded Texas Rangers ballclub that won more regular season games than the Tribe a year ago?
Let’s find out the answers to both questions while examining some other Sunday and Monday openers.
2017 MLB Opening Day Picks
New York Yankees at Tampa Bay
When: Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM ET
Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida
Line: Tampa Bay +106
Analysis: The Yankees will hand the ball to right-hander Masahiro Tanaka (14-4, 3.07 ERA) while Tampa Bay counters with right-hander Chris Archer (9-19, 4.02 ERA) and that’s not a good thing or the Rays seeing as how they were on the wrong end of a humbling 11-5 loss in Tanaka’s final start last season.
New York may not be a legitimate World Series title contender in 2017, but the Yankees are still far and away a better ballclub than the perennially rebuilding Rays. The Yankees have gone 8-0 in Tanaka’s last eight starts against the Rays, making the Yankees the easy pick to get the road win in their 2017 opener. Ply the Yankees and the Over to cash in twice!
Pick: New York 6 Tampa Bay 4
San Francisco at Arizona
When: Sunday, April 02 – 4:10 PM EST
Where: Chase Field, Phoenix, Arizona
Line: Arizona +111
Analysis: The Arizona Diamondbacks will trot out veteran right-hander Zack Greinke (13-7, 4.37 ERA) and that would normally give the D-Backs a great chance to win. However, with Frisco going with staff ace lefty Madison Bumgarner (15-9, 2.74 ERA) and the Giants looking to get back in the postseason in a big way, I like San Francisco to eke out narrow road win in this NL West showdown. The Giants are 13-3 in their last 16 games against the D-Backs and 9-4 in Bumgarner’s last 13 starts against Arizona.
Pick: San Francisco 4 Arizona 2
Chicago Cubs at St. Louis
When: Sunday, April 2, 2017 at 8:35 PM ET
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Line: Chicago -120
Analysis: Jon Lester (19-5, 2.44 ERA) will take the mound for Chicago in his second opening day start for the Cubs opposite St. Louis Cardinals’ starter Carlos Martinez (16-9, 3.04 ERA).
While the Cardinals improved their roster and detracted from Chicago’s by adding versatile outfielder Dexter Fowler Jr. via free agency, I’m going to say the Cubs are the pick to get the narrow road win in their opener for one main reason – Chicago likely wants to send a message that they are going to go all-out to defend their World Series title in 2017.
The Cubs beat the Cardinals 7-0 the last time Lester made a road start in St. Louis last September and has gone 3-2 in five career road starts against the Cards. On the flip side of the coin, Carlos Martinez has lost two straight home starts against Chicago last season and was on the mound opposite Lester in St. Louis’ 7-0 drubbing in his last home start
against the Cubs.
Chicago is simply too loaded with talent and will outscore the Cardinals by two runs at the very least in this 2017 opener.
Pick: Chicago 4 St. Louis 2
L.A. Angels at Oakland
When: Monday, April 03 – 10:05 PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
Line:L.A. Angels -115
Analysis: The Angels (74-88) and A’s (69-93) both underachieved in a big way last season, but I’m thinking the Halos could rebound in a big way in 2017 I they get any kind of decent pitching to go with the best player on the planet today in centerfielder Mike Trout.
The Angels will hand the ball to veteran right-hander Ricky Nolasco (8-14, 4.42 ERA) while the A’s counter with right-hander Kendall Graveman (10-11, 4.11 ERA). With both starting pitchers in this matchup being mostly mediocre, even on their best days, I like the Over 8 runs as my top pick.
These AL West division rivals have played Over their Over/Under Total in two straight meetings – and seven of the last 10 meetings overall. The last time Nolasco faced the A’s the Halos recorded an emphatic 8-1 home win while the last time Graveman took the mound for the A’s, Oakland was on the wrong end of a 8-6 road loss.
With both starters in this affair recording ERA’s last season over 4.00 and the Over going 10-3 in the last 13 meetings, I say keep it simple and play the Over – and if you must, back the better hitting Halos to win.
Pick: L.A. Angels 6 Oakland A’s 4