The 2018 MLB season is one week old and we continue our daily analysis by taking a look at Boston's success in home openers and the Bronx Bombers facing a starting pitcher with a penchant for giving up home runs. We break down those matchups and all of today's big league betting board with in-depth analysis, tips and our favorite picks in today's edition of MLB Daily Line Drive.
Tampa Bay Rays at Boston Red Sox (-240, 8)
The Boston Red Sox open their home schedule this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays under sunny skies and nothing but positive vibes at Fenway Park. The Sox are off to a great start to the 2018 season under new manager Alex Cora at 5-1 with all six games taking place on the road. There are no media controversies as of yet and they could have the best 1-2 starting pitching combo in the American League with Chris Sale and David Price.
Price gets the ball for the home opener today and he looked healthy and dynamic in his first start of the season, dominating this same Rays team for seven shutout innings in Tampa Bay this past Friday.
Yonny Chirinos gets the ball for the Rays and he will be making his first major league start. He has looked good out of the bullpen this season, allowing only one hit over four innings of work - but starting a game at the big league level is a different story.
We did some digging and the Red Sox are 11-2 in their last 13 home openers. In those 11 victories they have covered -1.5 each and every time.
Pick: Red Sox -1.5 (-135)
Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees (-230, 9)
After booing Giancarlo Stanton in their home opener the New York Yankees and their fans got exactly what they selfishly expect on a daily basis Wednesday - a convincing 7-2 victory over the visiting Rays led by long balls from Aaron Judge, Stanton, and Gary Sanchez.
On Thursday the Bombers welcome the Baltimore Orioles to town. It has to be a terrifying predicament for a starting pitcher to have to roll into The Bronx and face that lineup, especially when all three of their main boppers are such streaky hitters and coming off home run games.
Orioles starting pitcher Andrew Cashner is certainly a veteran of the pitching game but he does have a tendancy to serve up the long ball, and is coming off his first start of 2018 in which he gave up five runs over five innings to the Minnesota Twins, including three home runs.
Masahiro Tanaka is starting today for the Yankees. He certainly has the potential to totally shut down the Orioles but in three starts against the O's in 2017 he was touched up for an ERA of 6.11 and a WHIP of 1.755.
All of these stats aside - the wind is expected to be blowing out to right-center field at between 15 and 20 miles per hour.
Pick: Over 9
Yesterday's picks: 1-1
Season to date: 9-5
Streaking and Slumping Starting Pitchers
Kyle Gibson of the Twins had an electric start to the 2018 season when he no-hit the Orioles over six innings, only to see his potential shared no-hitter die in the at the hands of reliever Ryan Pressly. I guess starting the season with a no-hit performance qualifies him for the Streaking Starter section.
Let's see if Gibson can keep his run going today when he takes on the Seattle Mariners. Gibby and the Twinkies are slight home dogs at +100 against James Paxton and the M's.
Tyler Anderson's first start of the season was certainly not his best work. The Rockies' 28-year-old lefty was shelled for seven earned runs, five hits, and allowed four walks over 2.1 innings of work at Chase Field against the Arizona Diamondbacks in an eventual 9-8 loss (no decision for him).
This is not the Tyler Anderson the Rockies are expecting. With their starting rotation being so young, they will need everyone to step up and duplicate their efforts from 2017 in order to have any chance of returning to the post season.
Anderson gets a bit of a cushy start today against starting pitcher Joey Lucchesi and the struggling San Diego Padres. The Rox are slight favorites at -115 and the total is set at 7.5.
Thursday's Top Trends
* Red Sox are 11-2 in their last 13 home openers. -250 today vs. Rays.
* Rangers are 1-10 in the last 11 meetings in Oakland. +130 today @ A's.
* Twins are 10-1 in Kyle Gibson's last 11 starts. +100 today vs. Mariners.
* Over is 14-2 in the last 16 meetings between the Orioles and Yankees in New York. BAL/NYY total: 9.
* Under is 6-0 in Adam Wainwright's last six home starts vs. Diamondbacks. STL/ARI total: 7.5.
* Cubs are 1-11 in their last 12 road games vs. a left-handed starter. -120 today @ Brewers (Suter).
As mentioned in the Double-Play Picks section above, the forecast is calling for 15-20 mile per hour winds blowing out to right-center this evening at Yankee Stadium where the Yanks will be hosting the Orioles. The total is set at 9.
The only precipitation in the MLB forecast today is a possibility of SNOW at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago where the White Sox will be taking on the Detroit Tigers. It's going to be a miserable afternoon at the ballpark with temperatures in the low 30's and a 12-15 mile per hour cross wind. The Sox are -130 favorites and the total is set at 9.
Ump of the Day
Mike Estabrook will be making his 2018 home plate debut in today's game at Petco Park between the Colorado Rockies and San Diego Padres. Estabrook likes to call strikes (strike rate of 64.37 percent in 2017 and 65.12 percent in 2016) so that is great news for starting pitchers Tyler Anderson and Joey Lucchesi. More strikes means less runs and Estabrook owns an Under record of 34-18 (65.38 percent) over those that two seasons.
The total today in San Diego is set at 7.5.
Thursday's Top Consensus
Here are the top side and total plays for today according to the public in our Covers Consensus. Check out complete and up-to-the-minute consensus data here.