Opening Day proved to be a profitable one for us at thesportsgeek.com, staring the year with a nice 2-1 day as games in colder weather cities favored the pitchers all day with some low scoring games. Add in the fact that on Opening Day every team is throwing their ace against their opponent’s ace, and it isn’t too surprising that runs remained at a premium. As we move into the second day of the season, it will be interesting to see how offenses fare now that they are getting to teams second starters…
A few teams open their season today, like Baltimore and Tampa Bay, but for today’s pick, let’s start with a pair of teams who have already had an OFF day due to the unique Sunday Night “opener” specifically for ESPN.
Texas Rangers -169 at Houston Astros +162 (Total: 8)
Yu Darvish vs. Lucas Harrell
The Astros delighted their home fans with an opening night win over the vaunted Texas Rangers, but I imagine it will be one of the few bright spots on what looks like a very long season in Houston. They are attempting to avoid becoming the first team in fifty years to lose 106 games in three consecutive season. I’d say they have a decent shot to avoid that inglorious fate, if only because of the sheer improbability of it, but banking on them to win much more than 60 games is probably foolhardy.
Meanwhile Texas sends their second starter, but arguably their most talented pitcher, Yu Darvish to the hill tonight, which gives them a huge advantage. Much was made last year about the difficulties Darvish faced when teams got their second look at him. Good news for Texas! With Houston switching from the NL Central to the AL West this year, for most of the players it will be their first chance to face Darvish and his bizarrely vast assortment of pitches.
Harrell was Houston’s “Pitcher of the Year” recipient last year. He was 11-11 with a 3.67 ERA. That about sums up all you need to know about Houston’s season. Meanwhile, Texas’s Darvish finished the year on fire, going 5-1 with a 2.35 ERA and was even better in this year’s spring training. He finished the Spring with a brilliant 1.98 ERA and held batters to a .167 batting average.
I like Darvish to bring Houston back to reality tonight and to shut down a relatively weak Astro lineup. Give me the Rangers to win, but they are also a real attractive runline wager at even money.
Free Pick: Texas Rangers to WIN -169 & Texas Rangers (-1.5) +100