Mets vs Marlins Predictions, Picks, Odds: Starting Pitchers Dominate to Start New Season

A new MLB season is upon us, and boy did they give us a pitching duel today. With Max Scherzer taking the mound for the Mets and the reigning Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara hurling for Miami, our MLB picks don't expect many early runs.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2023 1:35 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Max Scherzer New York Mets NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Two of the best pitchers in the National League will be on the mound on Thursday as the New York Mets visit the Miami Marlins for Opening Day of the 2023 MLB season.

The Mets are sending Max Scherzer to the hill as they look to pick up where they left off after a 101-win campaign last year. Miami will counter with defending Cy Young Award winner, Sandy Alcantara.

While these pitchers — like every other starter in the league — may be limited on Opening Day, there’s no reason to think either will struggle in their 2023 debuts. We’ll break down what this means for bettors in our free MLB picks and predictions for the Mets vs. Marlins on March 30.

Mets vs Marlins odds

Mets vs Marlins predictions

The New York Mets had their first major success of the Steve Cohen era in 2022, winning 101 games on their way to a playoff berth. However, the year ultimately felt like a disappointment after the Atlanta Braves overtook New York for the NL East crown, leading to a first-round playoff loss against San Diego. 

The Mets are back with a similar roster in 2023, though their pitching staff has a decidedly older look. New York replaced the outgoing Jacob deGrom with Justin Verlander, who might be a more reliable option than deGrom even at 40 years old. Verlander joins the 38-year-old Max Scherzer at the top of the rotation for the Mets.

It’s Scherzer who gets the ball on Opening Day. While "Mad Max" only managed 23 starts for the Mets last year, he was great when he was on the mound — going 11-5 with a 2.29 ERA in 145.1 innings.

While his strikeout rate was down slightly, Scherzer maintained his outstanding control, and compiled an elite .908 WHIP on the year. There’s no reason to think Scherzer won’t continue to be a Cy Young candidate even in 2023, provided he can stay healthy. 

The Miami Marlins have no such worries about their Opening Day starter. Sandy Alcantara was the class of the National League last year, winning his first Cy Young Award in a breakout season. Alcantara went 14-9 with a 2.28 ERA and a .980 WHIP, all excellent numbers.

What really set him apart from the crowd was the fact that he threw 228 2/3 innings and six complete games, numbers that buck all the recent trends for starting pitchers at the major league level. 

That was the second straight year in which Alcantara topped the 200 innings pitched mark. While it’s understandable if some pundits want to see another excellent season out of the Marlins ace before placing him among the best starters in the world, there’s no doubt that Alcantara is reliable and dependable at a level few — if any — other starters can match.

With Scherzer and Alcantara on the mound, this will be a difficult Opening Day for the two offenses in Miami. Alcantara wasn’t dominant against the Mets last season, but he held the powerful New York lineup in check, going 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA in four starts last year. Scherzer didn’t get a look at the Marlins last season, but Miami was one of the weakest offensive teams in MLB last year, averaging just 3.62 runs per game.

I expect both Alcantara and Scherzer to have strong starts to the season on Thursday. However, starting pitchers rarely go deep on Opening Day, and that makes me think we could see a lot of both bullpens later in the game. So while I want to play the Under here, I’m more interested in focusing on the first half of the game, when these two elite arms will be going head-to-head. Let’s bet the Under, but do it on the first-half total instead.

My best bet: First five Under 3.5 runs (-132 at DraftKings)

Best MLB bonuses

Looking to bet on some baseball action? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:

A) Get a 25% profit boost on any player to hit a home run today at Caesars! Opt-in Now

B) Get a profit boost (up to 100%) on one MLB same-game parlay today at DraftKings! Opt-in Now

*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Mets vs Marlins moneyline analysis

The Mets opened today’s game as a -125 pick to win their opener. While that number has bounced around a bit New York -125 is the consensus line, with Miami getting +105 as the underdog.

The Mets finished 32 games ahead of the Marlins last season, and while the gulf shouldn’t be that big in 2023, New York is still the better team with the far more realistic postseason ambitions.

While the Marlins will see their lineup improve with the acquisitions of infielders Luis Arraez and Jean Segura, they still project to be on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of run scoring. 

However, Miami is a strong team with Alcantara on the mound. Like many middle-of-the-road clubs, the starting pitcher makes a huge difference in how we evaluate this team, and Alcantara will keep the Marlins in any game he pitches. 

Still, this is a game where Alcantara is arguably the second-best starter behind Scherzer. The Mets were solid on the road last season at 47-34, and are historically a great Opening Day team, going 40-21 historically to start the season (largely due to their long history of great aces at the top of their rotation). That has me leaning towards New York in this game, even with the -125 price on the road.

Mets vs Marlins Over/Under analysis

The total on today’s game opened at 6.5 runs. That number has come up a bit, with the consensus Over/Under now sitting at 7. Most sites are offering reduced juice on the Over at that number, however, with the Over at -105 and the Under at -115 at many sportsbooks.

While the Marlins are not a big run producing team, the Mets were among the top offenses in MLB last year, averaging 4.77 per game. Miami has improved its lineup, and the Mets mostly held firm on their offense, with catcher Omar Narvaez being the largest addition. 

Both Scherzer and Alcantara are elite pitchers that can keep opposing offenses in check, which helps to explain why the total is so low. However, as I mentioned above, I think this will mostly influence the first five to six innings of the game.

No matter who is on the mound, this is Opening Day and managers will be hesitant to push their starters.

The pitching matchup and the typical early-season trend towards lower scoring has me leaning towards the Under, though again, I’m more interested in the first-half total here. We’ll also get a good luck at whether elite or veteran pitchers can get some advantage out of the pitch clock — a new rule that could actually have a bigger impact on hitters than pitchers — at least for a little while.

Mets vs Marlins game info

Location: loanDepot Park, Miami, FL 
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2023
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Florida, SNY

Mets vs Marlins betting preview

Starting pitchers

Max Scherzer (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Scherzer gets the ball on Opening Day for the Mets a year after he showed he still has elite ability even in his age 38 season. While Scherzer pitched to a career-low ERA, he also spent two stints on the IL, one for a left oblique strain and later due to left-side fatigue.

Sandy Alcantara (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Alcantara enjoyed a breakout season for the Marlins last year, posting career bests in ERA, innings pitched, complete games, strikeouts, and FIP. While Alcantara is not an elite strikeout pitcher, he keeps the ball in the park, giving up just 0.6 home runs per nine innings on the year.

Latest injuries

Trend to know

The Under is 4-1-1 in Miami’s last six home games. Find more MLB betting trends for Mets vs. Marlins


Pages related to this topic

Popular Content

Legal Canadian sports betting

Best Canadian betting sites Ontario sports betting
Covers 25 Years Logo Established in 1995,
Covers is the world
leader in sports
betting information.
Covers is verified safe by: Evalon Logo GPWA Logo GDPR Logo GeoTrust Logo Evalon Logo