Sundays are going to be tricky for our picks and analysis article because there’s not a whole lot of lead time with so many day games. We’ll do our best to get some stuff out there in a timely fashion so that you can build that bankroll on the day of rest. We’ll always have Sunday Night Baseball to consider, which can sometimes create some interesting situational betting spots. Teams playing that late game sometimes have tough travel schedules to be in a new city the following day, so that is always a game to consider for the future.
In any event, with a lot of matinee baseball on Sunday, we’ll take a brief look at these games and see if we can build off of a pretty solid Saturday with winners on the Rangers and Royals.
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Boston at Toronto (-130); Total: 9.5
Knuckleballer Steven Wright will hope to do better than RA Dickey did with his knuckleball on Saturday. He’ll be opposed by Marco Estrada as the Blue Jays try to salvage a game in this opening home series. Knuckleball guys are always tough to peg. The old adage is “if it’s high, let it fly” with a knuckler and the Blue Jays have some guys that can really punish flat knucklers.
On the other hand, Marco Estrada is a guy that really overachieved last season. Estrada hung a 3.13 ERA, but a 4.93 xFIP. There aren’t going to be a lot of people that expect a repeat performance from Estrada. I’m certainly not one of them. Estrada is a guy that I will look to fade against a lot of lineups this season. His changeup is a neutralizer against select hitters, but not all of them. Boston has a loaded lineup.
I don’t like to play overs in early games because the games can start a little bit sluggish. Overall, that’s the only play to consider here because both starters could be really bad.
Pittsburgh (-125) at Cincinnati; Total: 8.5
Jeff Locke battles Tim Melville in a game that will not excite anybody. Locke is a replacement-level starter taking on a below replacement-level offense. Melville exhibits really poor control and has at several levels throughout the minor leagues. The Pirates have to be the only way to go here. It’s the first MLB start for Melville, who hasn’t been touted as a prospect at all, and he doesn’t miss enough bats to be considered “effectively wild”.
Cleveland at Chicago (AL) (-120); Total: 8
This is a very interesting stance from the oddsmakers. Josh Tomlin doesn’t have a great public perception and the Indians have had very little success against Jose Quintana. Quintana owns a 2.58 ERA in 12 starts and two relief appearances against Cleveland. Tomlin has elite control, but does have a tendency to give up some dingers.
Tomlin is finally healthy, though, and maybe that’s the difference. He’s still giving up home runs, but he posted a 7/1 K/BB ratio in the second half last season. The White Sox lineup isn’t all that exciting, though there are some guys with some decent pop. As for Quintana, the Indians have a much different composition against lefties this season. He’s been able to prey on a lefty-heavy lineup over the last few seasons. That’s not the case now. With offseason pickups like Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis, Marlon Byrd, and Collin Cowgill, the Indians can send out eight right-handed hitters against southpaws with Michael Brantley on the shelf.
Oddsmakers have taken notice of that. This line will encourage White Sox money, but the Indians may not be a bad look at all. That’s what the line is suggesting, anyway.
Texas at Los Angeles (AL) (-115); Total: 8.5
The auto-fade of Jered Weaver has already begun. The Angels opened in the -125 or -130 range and that didn’t last long. Weaver’s atrocious Spring Training, coupled with declining skills during the regular season, have really turned the betting market against him. That should come as no surprise whatsoever. Martin Perez is going for Texas. While he’s not a guy I’m high on, the Angels offense is terrible.
I’m looking to fade the Angels any chance I get and this is still a chance, even though some of the line value is gone. Texas is a better team without a doubt. Nomar Mazara should make his MLB debut here in this one and it wouldn’t be a shocker to see him go yard off of Weaver.
Los Angeles (NL) at San Francisco (-135); Total: 7
The Dodgers send Scott Kazmir to the bump against Johnny Cueto. Cueto was a big free agent pickup for the Giants and he’s going to be really overpriced in the market for the foreseeable future. The reason is that “big splash” free agent additions are always viewed as something more than they are, at least in terms of the betting market. The Dodgers are the type of team that can put together a really good gameplan and have success against a good team and a top-tier starter.
Scott Kazmir was pretty good in his Dodgers debut and that’s worth considering here. This is a weird game because it seems like both teams are improperly valued. As a result, it’s probably best to stay away from this one.
San Diego at Colorado (-115); Total: 11
James Shields is a small underdog in Colorado and this is a line that has me raising my eyebrows. I am a Chad Bettis fan for this season, so maybe the oddsmakers are taking that under consideration because there are a lot of positive signs for him, including the fact that he wasn’t a complete disaster at Coors Field last season. Shields, meanwhile, dealt with some really significant command troubles last season. He had one of the worst home run rates of his career.
With San Diego’s offensive explosion in the last two games, it’s a bit surprising that there hasn’t been more of a correction in this line. The Padres did nothing of consequence against the Dodgers, but they have come alive in a big way against the Rockies in this series. Something about this game seems off, so it’s best to see what happens here.
New York (AL) at Detroit (-115); Total: 7.5
The Yankees and Tigers are the Sunday Night Baseball matchup with Masahiro Tanaka against Justin Verlander. This should be a very interesting game on a lot of levels. For one thing, Tanaka draws a really tough lineup, but one full of right-handed hitters. Verlander gets a stiff test of his new repertoire and plan of attack with his declining velocity.
There aren’t a lot of ways to bet this game, but one thing that is very interesting is that the Tigers host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday for a 1:10 p.m. ET first pitch. By the time this game is over, thanks to ESPN’s commercial breaks and the marathon-esque Yankees primetime games, the Tigers will have probably 13 hours off before having to take the field again. Keep a very close eye on this one because it could have some important implications for Monday afternoon. This is one of those times when a great situational betting opportunity arises from a Sunday Night Baseball matchup.