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Boosted Odds for 2020 MLB Opening Day

Max Scherzer on the mound for the Washington Nationals
Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals play host to the New York Yankees on Opening Day and sportsbooks are offering numerous odds boosts on everything from the winner to strikeout totals. Photo by Corn Farmer (flickr).
  • The 2020 MLB season finally kicks off today (July 23rd)
  • Sportsbooks are marking the occasion with myriad odds boosts
  • See all of the available options in the table below, plus analysis of the best value

At 7:00 pm ET today, the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals will officially get the 2020 MLB season underway. With the biggest free-agent acquisition of the offseason, Gerrit Cole, facing three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, there is no shortage of intrigue. But sportsbooks are doing their part to make Opening Day even more exciting, offering a wide range of boosted odds for July 23rd’s two-game slate, which also includes SF Giants vs LA Dodgers at 10:30 pm ET.

The table below lists every odds boost, shows which sportsbook is offering it, and details how it compares to the original odds.

MLB Opening Day Odds Boosts

Sportsbook Boosted Bet Original Odds Boosted Odds
DraftKings Gleyber Torres & Juan Soto both to hit a HR +1700 +1850
DraftKings Dodgers to win + Over 7.5 total runs +110 +120
DraftKings Over 0.5 runs in 1st inning of Yankees vs Nationals +115 +135
DraftKings Any player to hit a grand slam on Opening Day +850 +925
FanDuel Yankees & Dodgers both to win +134 +170
FanDuel Gerrit Cole to record 10+ strikeouts vs Nationals +150 +220
FanDuel Yankees to beat the Nationals -130 +110
FanDuel Aaron Judge or Gary Sanchez to hit first HR of 2020 season +310 +400
William Hill Aaron Judge to hit a home run + New York Yankees win +380 +450
William Hill Gary Sanchez to hit a home run +275 +350
William Hill Juan Soto to hit a home run + Washington Nationals win +550 a+650

Which Odds Boosts Are Worth a Wager?

In terms of boosting the profit, there are two that stand out: Gerrit Cole to record 10+ strikeouts (46.7% increase in profit) and the Yankees moneyline (43% increase), both of which are offered at FanDuel.

While the Cole prop has a slightly bigger increase in profit, the Yankees moneyline is the better option for a few reasons.

First, the Nationals lineup had the fifth-best strikeout rate in all of baseball last year at 20.9%.

Second, Gerrit Cole faced an average of 24.7 batters per game in April 2019 (i.e. the start of the season, when pitchers are still ramping up their workload). If he faces 25 today, he will need a 40% strikeout rate to hit 10 Ks. Last year, in Cole’s Cy Young-worthy season with the Astros, he recorded a league-high strikeout rate, but that was still only 39.9%.

Cole has faced five of the nine hitters likely to be in the Nats’ starting lineup. He only has a 40% K-rate against one (Eric Thames).

Third, it’s pretty likely that Cole will be on an unstated pitch count. The Yankees will play it safe with their new ace and won’t risk overtaxing Cole’s arm in the first game of the year.

The +220 odds on this prop have a 31.25% implied probability. The realities of this situation and matchup render the actual probability lower.

The Yankees moneyline at +110 has an implied probability of 47.6%. At this stage of their careers, Cole is a more dominant pitcher than Scherzer. The Yankees also have the better bullpen and deeper lineup. They deserve to be favored and getting plus money is solid value.

Best bet: Yankees moneyline (+110)

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