HomeMLBMLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday March 28

    MLB Best Bets Today: Odds, predictions and picks for Thursday March 28

    Adam Burke's top MLB best bets for today, March 28.

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    MLB Best Bets Today March 28

    HAPPY OPENING DAY!!!

    For 28 of the 30 teams, anyway, as the MLB season technically kicked off in Seoul, South Korea last week, but today is the day that most everybody has designated as Opening Day. I’ll be writing my MLB best bets today article Monday-Saturday over the course of the season, but those that have read it in the past will notice a few wrinkles.

     

    Top MLB Resources:

    I will only be writing up games I have picks on. In the past, I would share information about other games and pitchers on my radar, but I’ll just be filing those things away in my own mind in hopes of finding bets down the line.

    Also, I will be incorporating more props into my MLB article this season, rather than just sides, totals, and run lines. Pitcher strikeout props, outs props, and other things that are widely available in the legal U.S. markets will be included.

    The VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast is gone (RIP), but I will be co-hosting the Double Play Baseball Podcast for DraftKings with Dustin Swedelson. That will be less of a betting podcast and more of a general baseball podcast, but we will sprinkle in a little bit of handicapping content.

    The season-long tracking sheet can be found here. Typically, this article will come out around 9-10 a.m. PT, but I’ll try to get it out quicker on days with a lot of day games.

    Lines will be from DraftKings Sportsbook and accurate at time of publish. In the interest of transparency and a lack of confusion, I will cite lines from the “Game” tab, which, unfortunately, means “Action” regardless of who starts. When possible, always select the “Listed Pitcher” odds where both pitchers must start, especially if there is no significant price difference. The game I handicapped and the game you handicapped is with the two listed, probable pitchers. In the era of openers and late scratches, pitching changes will happen and odds will change. Protect yourself the best you can.

    Finally, SHOP AROUND. Have multiple sportsbooks to choose from so you can get the best line possible. My lines in the article are from DraftKings because they own VSiN, not because they have the best odds on that game. It is your responsibility to get the best line that you can.

    Check out all my preseason content, including previews for all 30 teams and baseball betting tips, right here.

    MLB Odds | MLB Betting Splits | MLB Matchups

    Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays (-135, 7.5)

    4:10 p.m. ET

    The Jays and Rays play the first of 13 head-to-head meetings on Opening Day, as we’ll see Jose Berrios up against Zach Eflin. Both guys had strong 2023 seasons, with Berrios posting the second-best ERA of his career at 3.65 and a FIP under 4.00. Eflin had a career year with 4.8 fWAR and a 3.50 ERA and a 3.01 FIP. He also threw a career-high with 177.2 innings, so we’ll see if there’s any kind of hangover of carryover effect.

    For this AL East tilt, I’m looking at the Blue Jays 1st 5 at +105. I’m a little bit scared of the full game, despite it being a few cents better at DraftKings, because of the reliever injuries to Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson. Those two guys were nails for Toronto last season, as Romano had a 2.90 ERA and 3.46 FIP over 59 innings and Swanson followed up a great season in Seattle with another strong one in Toronto with a 2.97 ERA and a 3.51 FIP in 69 appearances.

    However, there are two injuries for the Rays that make me like the Blue Jays at a dog price. The Rays were second in wRC+ against RHP last season at 117, but Josh Lowe had a 136 wRC+ against righties with 18 homers and 30 stolen bases in that split. Aranda only had 94 PA, but had a 107 wRC+ with a .340 OBP. The Rays won’t have a couple of lefties that they were counting on against righties and may very well only have two in the lineup.

    Berrios held righties to a .220/.275/.341 slash with a .270 wOBA last season, had a lower BB% by 2%, and only allowed nine of his 25 homers in that split. Berrios is also a guy who was really good the first two times through the order, holding opponents to a .277 wOBA the first time through and a .286 wOBA the second time through. He allowed a .360 wOBA the third time through, but it’s hard to see a lot of guys working that deep into games this early, so Berrios should be a little protected from that.

    Eflin actually had mild reverse platoon splits, as lefties had a .255 wOBA and righties had a .295 wOBA. I feel like he was able to ease into the season last year with the Tigers, A’s, and White Sox twice. This is a stiffer test coming off of a high workload, so add it all up and I think Toronto is worth an underdog look.

    Pick: Blue Jays 1st 5 (+105)

    Cleveland Guardians (-155, 7.5) at Oakland Athletics

    10:07 p.m. ET

    A new era of Guardians baseball begins today. For the first time since 2012, it doesn’t say “Terry Francona” next to “Manager” on the team’s coaching staff page. It says Stephen Vogt, whose managerial tenure begins in Oakland, a place very near and dear to his heart as a former Athletic for six seasons. The Guardians roster and rotation are already littered with examples of how a new day has dawned for the organization.

    With at least two future managers – Craig Albernaz and Kai Correa – on the staff and a future-is-now manager in Vogt, the Guardians felt different in Spring Training and look different now, which is weird to say with a similar roster and virtually no free agents, but there is an increased level of trust in young players and clearly a little more forward thinking, as Logan Allen will follow Opening Day starter Shane Bieber to separate Bieber and AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Tanner Bibee, who are fairly similar pitchers. Carlos Carrasco slots in as the No. 4 to avoid being matched up with the other team’s ace while waiting on Gavin Williams, putting Triston McKenzie in the No. 5 spot.

    The Guardians are also potentially sacrificing defense for offense with Myles Straw and a whole lot of guaranteed money for a thrifty organization accepting an assignment to Triple-A. These are not decisions I think we’d have seen in the Francona era.

    Also, the Guardians preached making hard contact in Spring Training as opposed to making contact for the sake of making contact. It is only Spring Training and say what you will about the stats, but the Guardians did rank 17th in homers and top 10 in batting average, plus they were fifth in ground outs vs. air outs, so it does seem like they collectively got more guys to hit the ball in the air.

    The other big development is that Bieber looks fixed. His velocity was back, the shape of his curveball looked more like 2021, and he mowed through 17.1 innings with a 1.56 ERA and a 2.76 FIP. He struck out 19, didn’t allow a homer, and actually went six innings in his final ST start after going 5.1 in the one prior. In 2021, Bieber was limited to 96.2 innings because of a back strain, but he had a 3.17 ERA with a 3.03 FIP and struck out 33.1% of opposing batters. After an offseason spent at Driveline Baseball, he might have regained his Cy Young form.

    Even with his curveball usage going from 31.2% to 17.9% in 2022 with decreased velo, he still had a 2.88 ERA with a 2.87 FIP. Now, I think he’ll add more swings and misses back into the fold and return to form.

    The A’s are sending out Alex Wood, who pitched to a lot more contact last season with the Giants. He had a 4.33 ERA with a 4.47 FIP. Oakland Coliseum is a good fit for a pitch-to-contact guy, but I am concerned about his BB% spike last year. His SwStr% of 9.0% was also the lowest he’s had since 2015. He’s fine, but he doesn’t have the upside of Bieber.

    The Guardians project to be an elite defensive team once again and I like their bullpen on the whole. The A’s may truly have something in Mason Miller, but the bridges to him, especially early in the season, are very questionable. Bieber should work deeper than Wood here and the Guardians should be really engaged to help make Vogt a winner in a place that means so much to him with so many friends and family in attendance.

    To cut down on the vig, and because the Guardians are guaranteed to hit nine times as the road team, I’m good with the -1.5 run line here or, if you’re so inclined, DraftKings is offering -1 at -121 on the “Alternate Run Line” tab. That means you’d push with a one-run win for Cleveland. I’m good with the -1.5 at plus money, though, as I think the A’s have a really low offensive projection here against Bieber, and the pitch efficiency he showed in ST that could help him work deep into the game.

    I believe in Stephen Vogt.

    Pick: Guardians -1.5 (+114)

    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke
    Adam Burke is the Managing Editor of VSiN.com and has spent well over a decade in the sports betting content creation space. He has been with VSiN since 2021 and covers a wide range of sports, along with hosting the VSiN Daily Baseball Bets podcast.

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