2-Unit Play. Take #969 Cleveland (-115) over Texas (7 p.m., Monday, April 3)
I will back the defending A.L. champions here. This is a great price on former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber! I will probably not get to bet him as an underdog the rest of this year. Cleveland has improved its team this offseason, bringing in Edwin Encarnacion, and I expect a fast start from them in this one. The Indians are 20-7 in Kluber’s last 27 starts and the Indians are 48-22 in their last 70 Game 1’s. The Rangers could be headed for a disappointing season. And I think it starts with a loss in the home opener. Take Cleveland.
2-Unit Play. Take #966 Baltimore (-125) over Toronto (3 p.m., Monday, April 3)
2-Unit Play. Take #966 Baltimore (-1.5, +160) over Toronto (3 p.m., Monday, April 3)
I will go with the Orioles here. This is a big rivalry game in the East. There was a lot of bad blood this offseason between these two teams. The Orioles tried to sign Jose Bautista but were unsuccessful and then spurned him. The Orioles will want to make a statement in this one. Kevin Gausman has had good stuff this spring. I think it will translate to success early in the season. The Orioles finished last year 7-1 in Gausman’s last eight home starts. And going back further the Orioles are 44-20 in their last 64 home games against a right-handed starter. I think the Orioles jump all over the Blue Jays in this one.
4 Unit Play. Take #99 Under 8 -115 Cleveland at Texas (7:55p.m., Monday April 3 ESPN)
Last night in the Cubs/Cardinals game we had a great starting pitching duel and tonight in Arlington, Texas we should see the same type of game. Indians will have Kluber and the Rangers will have Darvish on the mound and I just don’t see the hitters on both sides scoring runs early. The Indians bullpen is outstanding and with the Rangers missing some big bats in the lineup due to injuries (Beltre, and possible Gallo) I see this game going dead UNDER in Arlington. Cleveland is 1-7-1 O/U in their last 9 road games steaming from last year and the Indians are 1-7-1 O/U when Kluber starts against AL West teams. Texas is 1-4-1 O/U against AL Central teams and again both starters will have good outings.
SHARPEST EDGE SPORTS
Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 – 2 Units
Washington Nationals -1.5 – 1 Unit
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
This season is going to end properly as the two most complete teams in the nation battle for it all in the National Championship. This is what it is supposed to be…the hardest game to call. There is a reason there are no stats involved in this because they are thrown out of the window. These two teams are fairly equally matched. Gonzaga has been dominant all year and they check every box. North Carolina played in the ACC (rough tournament for the conference) so their record isn’t as gaudy but they easily check all of the boxes as well. Gonzaga is DEEP. North Carolina is DEEP. Gonzaga is experienced and loaded with stud transfers. North Carolina is experienced and loaded with high school superstars. The glass and the paint are important for both teams — because it’s a priority for the Zags to go inside to Karnowski, who can score in the post and also pass and get teammates uncontested shots. Karnowski has made defenses collapse all year allowing Williams-Goss, Matthews, Williams and crew to have open looks as they move the ball as good as anybody. North Carolina doesn’t have that problem even though nobody as big as Karnowski, the Tar Heels have absolutely owned the paint with their unbelievable combination of size and athleticism, but they have not faced a team this big especially when Collins plays alongside Karnowski. That is two 7-footers which I don’t even think an NBA can sport each night. Gonzaga has faced 1 team with this kind of depth; West Virginia and they won by 3. North Carolina has a different brand of depth. West Virginia players get minutes because of their style of basketball while North Carolina plays that many players because there is so much talent in the cupboard. Both Gonzaga and North Carolina have had a habit of disappearing for stretches of a game during the tournament. North Carolina did it against Oregon and Gonzaga has done it with Northwestern and South Carolina. They both have balance, experience, size up front and quality guards. However, I think Justin Jackson is the difference in this one. He has stepped up his game significantly from last season and is a prolific scorer who can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways. The Zags have an edge on defense, but their offense has struggled in the tourney as they have averaged just 73.2 points per game and that was against a lesser schedule than the Tar Heels, who have averaged 83.8 points per game versus a tougher slate of games. The Tar Heels have the overall talent edge and the experience factor, plus they will be highly motivated after last year’s last-second loss in this game. The Tar Heels have a slew of guys that felt the heartbreak of last year’s buzzer beating defeat. While both teams are battle tested from earlier tournament games, the Tar Heels experience in the championship game gives them the slimmest of edges and my lean.
LUCAS- April Record (0-1 -1.05)
Kansas City Royals/ Minnesota Twins UNDER 8 +100 (4pm)
Toronto Blue Jays/ Baltimore Orioles UNDER 8.5 -110 (3pm)
JEFF- April Record (0-1 -1.30)
Cleveland Indians -105 Texas Rangers (7pm)
Detroit Tigers -120 Chicago Whitesox (4pm)
Philadelphia Phillies/ Cincinnati Reds UNDER 8.5 -110 (4pm)