After kicking off the Major League Baseball season last night with games between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals, as well as the late-night game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants, the rest of MLB gets to make their long-awaited return today as all 30 teams will be in action.
I suppose it is only fitting that one day into the baseball season, the Yankees and the Dodgers are alone in first place, as both are prohibitive favorites to win their respective leagues in 2020. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Chicago as the White Sox host the Twins.
Minnesota Twins (0-0) at Chicago White Sox (0-0)
The Chicago White Sox start their season tonight as they host the Minnesota Twins in a matchup of two American League contenders. The White Sox are finally on the other side of a multi-year rebuild and are hoping that they can make it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008. For Minnesota, the Twins are focused on winning their first World Series title since 1991 and return the bulk of the team that won 101 games and an AL Central Division title last year.
This Minnesota Twins lineup in loaded! Not only do they bring back basically all of their best hitters from last year’s team that broke the single-season all-time team home run record, they added in former American League MVP Josh Donaldson to the roster. They also get players like Mitch Garver, Miguel Sano, and Max Kepler, all guys that missed time to injury last season, back and healthy in 2020.
The heavy-hitting lineup will carry this team, but when you look at what the Twins did to address their biggest offseason concern, starting pitching, it makes you think this Minnesota team could win it all this year. Minnesota added veteran starters Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, and Homer Bailey. None of those guys are elite, but they do all have a wealth of experience, and adding them to the rotation makes this Twins team a World Series threat.
Jose Berrios (0-0 0.00 ERA)
Jose Berrios is the incumbent ace of the staff in Minnesota. And while he is the best starter that the Twins have, he doesn’t quite qualify as an ace just yet. But at still just 26-years old, he is quickly developing into a top of the rotation starter. Last year, Berrios went 14-8, made his second consecutive American League All-Star team, and posted a career-best 3.68 ERA.
The big knock on Berrios, is his tendency to give up the long ball. Berrios has given up 51 home runs in the last two seasons combined, which puts him high up on a list that he doesn’t want to be on in the American League, of most homers allowed. Berrios had a lot of success against the White Sox last season as he went 4-1 against Chicago in five starts, with an ERA of just 2.88. The four wins against the White Sox were double the amount he had against any other team in 2019.
Chicago White Sox
Is this finally the year for the Chicago White Sox? The Sox have been building to this season for a long time as all of their young studs are maturing at the same time, and for the first time, we will see guys like Luis Robert and Nick Madrigal on the Major League field. Chicago also added some veteran sluggers to the mix to go along with the young bats of Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, when they added Edwin Encarnacion and Yasmani Grandal.
They also added some veteran starting pitching as they brought in Dallas Keuchel and Gio Gonzalez, two guys that both have a bunch of experience pitching for winning teams and will help anchor this somewhat shaky White Sox pitching staff. The one guy that has been rock solid for Chicago on the mound, is tonight’s Opening Day starter, Lucas Giolito.
Lucas Giolito (0-0 0.00 ERA)
It wasn’t long ago that Lucas Giolito was one of baseball’s top prospects. The White Sox brought Giolito over in the same trade as fellow starter Reynaldo Lopez from the Washington Nationals, in the deal that sent Adam Eaton to Washington. Giolito got to figure things out in the Big Leagues as the White Sox weren’t overly concerned with winning baseball games for the last several seasons.
While his MLB results were pretty rough, to begin with, Giolito finally showed what all the hype was about last year, when he had a breakout season on the mound for Chicago. Giolito went 14-9 with a 3.41 ERA and 228 strikeouts, which was good enough to make his first All-Star team and finish in 6th place in the American League Cy Young Award voting.
And to be honest, he pitched even better than that for most of the season as he finished the year by losing his last four starts with an ERA north of five runs. He made four starts against this mighty Twins lineup last year. In one of those starts, he got rocked for seven runs, but in the other three, he combined for 20 innings of work and allowed just two earned runs while striking out 25. That includes a complete game shutout gem where he had 12 strikeouts against Minnesota on August 21st.
Who Do I Like?
I really like this Chicago White Sox team. They have tons of young hitters ready to mash, and the veteran players they surrounded them within the offseason signals that the White Sox are officially done rebuilding. They are ready to win and win now. The Twins are going to be a very hard team to beat this year, but I am a bit surprised that they are road favorites in this game tonight.
Home teams are going to have a major advantage this season as travel is going to be especially brutal during the pandemic. I would think that the home and away splits will be much more drastic than in year’s past. And with all other things looking about equal, I will lean on my favorite play in sports betting, the home underdog.
This line originally opened with the White Sox as heavy underdogs, but the early betting sharps quickly fixed that, as they saw the value and hammered Chicago. The line has moved nearly forty points since it was originally posted. I hate to get a bad number, and the line move shows me that I could have gotten this at a much better number early in the week, but I still see the White Sox as home dogs as being a high-value play. Give me the Chicago White Sox at +102 tonight at home!