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MLB Opening Day Friday Bets: Underdogs to Back

The Red Sox, Mariners and Tigers can provide value as underdogs in their Opening Day games Friday.

We get an early start Friday with the Red Sox and Yankees kicking off in the Bronx at 1:05 pm ET. There’s a full slate of games wrapping up at 9:40 ET as the Padres visit the Diamondbacks in Arizona for the second game of their series.

For Friday’s bets, I am going to give you the case for underdogs!

If you want to profit more than your original investment, you have to look for plus-money. So, here are a few opportunities for simple moneyline bets that aren’t considered likely but are certainly worth a gamble.

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A member of the grounds crew prepares the field before the New York Yankees baseball workout on Thursday, April 7, 2022, in New York. The Yankees will face the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

Time: 1:05 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Red Sox (+140) | Yankees (-167)
Run line: TBD
Total: TBD
Projected starters: BOS RHP Nathan Eovladi vs. NYY RHP Gerrit Cole

Should the Yankees win this one? Yes. Gerrit Cole is on the mound and he is arguably the best pitcher in the AL, but don’t count out the underrated Red Sox. The Red Sox scored the fifth-most runs in MLB last season (829) to the Yankees’ 711, and their lineup remains mostly unchanged, except for losing Hunter Renfroe and gaining Trevor Story. Gerrit Cole had an ERA of 4.91 across 22 innings pitched to the Red Sox in 2021, so he isn’t bulletproof. The Yankees lost their opener to the Jays in 2021 with Cole allowing two runs. At +140 odds, the Red Sox do look attractive.

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Underdog Bet: Red Sox +140

Detroit Tigers pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez throws in the second inning of a spring baseball game against the New York Yankees, Monday, March 28, 2022, in Lakeland, Fla.

Chicago White Sox vs. Detroit Tigers

Time: 1:10 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Tigers (+110) | White Sox (-133)
Run line: TBD
Total: TBD
Projected starters: CWS RHP Lucas Giolito vs. DET LHP Eduardo Rodriguez

The White Sox are heavily favored to win the AL Central and for good reason. Their pitching staff is excellent and their young hitting corps is phenomenal. Lucas Giolito will start for the Sox verus Detroit’s Eduardo Rodgriguez. Looks like a layup, right? But guess what? Eduardo Rodrguez has a 32.8% K rate versus this Chicago White Sox roster with an expected batting average of only .291! Meanwhile, Giolito has a 20.9% K rate versus this Tigers team with a .272 expected batting average. The Tigers have put together an impressive opening day lineup that includes promising rookie Spencer Torkleson, sophomore Akil Badoo and newly acquired outfielder Austin Meadows. They might just have enough swagger in their home ballpark to win.

Underdog Bet: Tigers (+110)

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Robbie Ray throws during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the Texas Rangers Monday, March 28, 2022, in Peoria, Ariz.

Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins

Time: 4:10 p.m. ET
Moneyline: Mariners (+100) | Twins (-118)
Run line: TBD
Total: TBD
Projected starters: SEA LHP Robbie Ray vs. MIN RHP Joe Ryan

The Mariners head to the Twin Cities with the reigning AL Cy Young getting the start versus Joe Ryan. I don’t know about you, but I am going to give Robbie Ray the advantage here. The Twins have been an interesting team in the off-season—most notably adding star shortstop Carlos Correa in a record-breaking contract. They have plenty of hitting talent, especially if Byron Buxton can remain healthy, but the Mariners have had an even smarter offseason by adding Jesse Winker, Eugenio Suarez and promoting their own farm talent to the opening day roster: Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez. Look for the Mariners to come to Minneapolis and make a statement.

Underdog Bet: Twins (+100)

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