Sports are slowly making their way back as the UFC, NASCAR and the PGA Tour have been going strong, while Major League Baseball is set to return on Thursday. That means NJ sports betting is back with MLB opening day picks.
About a week later, we’ll get the NBA and NHL back, and then we’ll have NFL training camps firing up too.
FanDuel’s “Risk-Free For All”
Now, with all that in mind, we’re bringing back our best bets feature. Here’s a look at what we like and what to watch this week as the sports calendar starts to get back to normal.
New York Yankees at Washington Nationals
Date: Thursday, July 20th
Our MLB Opening Day picks kickoff in the AL. The New York Yankees and Washington Nationals will get the 2020 Major League Baseball season started on Thursday night. It’s part of a two-game doubleheader with the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers following up in the night game.
We’re looking at a pretty low total in this game as it opened at 7 and is now up to 7.5. I actually think that move is in the wrong direction as I like the under.
We’ll have two aces on the mound to start as Gerrit Cole will suit up for the Yankees against Max Scherzer of the Nationals. Scherzer is usually lights out in openers as in five season-opening starts with the Nats, he has a 1.54 ERA with 44 strikeouts.
The scores in his last six starts have been 2-1, 3-1, 4-3 (extra innings), 7-6, 2-0 and 2-0. As for the Yankees, they’ll have Cole on the mound, who has looked very sharp in summer camp.
The key here is for these pitchers to last at least six or seven innings. If that’s the case, we should hit the under. If we hit the bullpens early, we could be in trouble.
Pick: Under 7.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook
San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
Date: Thursday, July 20th
We go to LA for more MLB Opening Day picks.
The later game should be a little easier to handicap as this is a division rivalry. These teams face each other many times per season and both pitchers have seen these teams numerous times as well. Taking a look at the stats, Clayton Kershaw, who is starting for the Dodgers, is 23-12 against the Giants while his teams are 29-18 against them.
He has a lifetime 1.72 ERA against the Giants with a 0.86 WHIP. As for Johnny Cueto, who is starting for the Giants, he is 7-9 in starts against the Dodgers and his teams are 9-11 against them. He has an OK 3.54 ERA against them with a fairly respectable 1.14 WHIP.
I’m not up for laying a ton of juice here as this is the first game of the season. The Dodgers should win but the -290 on the moneyline and even the -138 on the run line is very pricey. Instead, I’m going to look to an under.
The Dodgers have a lot of firepower here but the Giants lineup is a question mark in my eyes. Remember, one of their key hitters – Buster Posey – has withdrawn from the season, so he’s not going to be in there. This is a team that has struggled against lefties (49-64) over the last three seasons.
As long as the Dodgers don’t run wild on Cueto, we should get an under here.
Pick: Under 8 at FanDuel Sportsbook
Philadelphia Phillies Regular Season Win Total
As the 2020 season is about to get underway, we have one last opportunity to get in on a number of season-long props like regular-season win totals. One that I like is the Philadelphia Phillies over 31.5 wins.
Last offseason, the team went on a spending spree but the results were there on the field. They finished 81-81. However, they did start really well as they were 33-22 after 55 games.
One of the things that really held them back last season, was manager Gabe Kapler, who compiled a 161-163 record with the team. Joe Girardi is an experienced manager with a track record of success and should help get more out of this team.
The other key here is they added Zack Wheeler to their starting rotation, Didi Gregorious to the lineup, and bolstered the bullpen with plenty of arms.
They’re flying under the radar a little bit heading into the season but with the New York Mets losing Noah Syndergaard and the Washington Nationals losing Anthony Rendon, the Phillies could have an opportunity to be the second-best team in this division. If that’s the case, they’ll get over the number here.
Pick: Over 31.5 Wins At DraftKings Sportsbook
Other NJ Sports Betting Events To Watch This Week
NASCAR Super Start Batteries 400 – After Austin Dillon surprised everyone on Sunday (one lucky better at BetMGM had him at 100/1), the NASCAR series now shifts to Kansas Speedway for another mid-week race.
The race will get going on Thursday, July 23rd at 7:30 PM ET. Chase Elliott has done particularly well at this track of late, finishing fourth or better (with one win) in four of his last five starts here.
UFC Fight Night 174 – This Saturday marks the end of the UFC’s run at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi. As of now, they are slated to return back to the UFC APEX Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the next five cards after this weekend.
Saturday’s main event is a middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Darren Till. Whittaker is the top-ranked middleweight (behind the champ, Israel Adesanya) while Till is No. 5.
3M Open – The PGA Tour rolls on as this week’s event is the 3M Open, which will be hosted at TPC Twin Cities in Minnesota. There will be some big names in the field as Dustin Johnson, Brooks Keopka and Tony Finau are all expected to participate.
Dustin Johnson has opened as the favorite this week. He missed the cut last weekend but won in his previous start (Travelers Championship) before that.
See you same time next week when we start off the week with our Best Bets Of The Week!