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Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – March 27th, 2023

By Hank Blaine

Opening Day around Major League Baseball is Thursday and for the first time since 1968, every team in the majors is scheduled to play on Opening Day — although weather could change that. Here are two marquee matchups on the schedule Thursday. Check back for MLB odds.

Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week (March 27th, 2023)

San Francisco Giants vs. New York Yankees

  • When: Thursday, March 30, 2023, 1:05 PM ET
  • Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
  • Radio: KNBR-FM 104.5 FM (Giants) // WFAN 101.9 FM (Yankees)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

The San Francisco Giants thought they had signed 2022 AL MVP and Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in free agency this winter and it was even reported as a done deal, but Judge spurned his hometown team to remain in the Bronx so it’s rather ironic that the Yankees host the Giants on Thursday to kick off the season.

Judge hit an AL-record 62 homers last season, the seventh-most in MLB history. He was just the fourth MLB player to reach the mark, joining Barry Bonds (2001), Mark McGwire (1998-99) and Sammy Sosa (1998-99 and 2001). Judge led the majors in home runs by 16, the largest gap to lead the MLB since 1932. Judge’s 1.111 OPS was the highest OPS by any Major League player in a 162-game season since Albert Pujols’ 1.114 OPS in 2008. Judge’s MLB-leading 391 total bases were the most by a Yankee in the last 85 seasons (since 1938). Judge has been hitting well this spring as well after getting the nine-year, $360 million extension.

Yankees fans will get a look at perhaps the team’s next star in rookie Anthony Volpe, who has won the starting shortstop job and is among the favorites for AL Rookie of the Year. Rated as the No. 5 prospect in all farm systems by MLB Pipeline, Volpe forced the Yankees’ decision with a terrific spring, outplaying shortstop contenders Oswald Peraza and Isiah Kiner-Falefa. In 17 spring games, Volpe batted .314 (16-for-51) with six doubles, a triple, three homers and five RBIs.

Volpe will be 21 years and 336 days old when the Yankees open the regular season on Thursday against the Giants; the last player that young to start a season opener for the Bronx Bombers was Derek Jeter (21 years, 281 days) in 1996.

Gerrit Cole will get the call on the mound. It will be the fourth consecutive Opening Day outing for Cole, who was 13-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 33 starts for the Yankees last season. He led the majors with 257 strikeouts. Cole tossed 5 ²/₃ innings of one-run ball against the Twins last Friday, working his pitch count up to 84 without issuing a walk and striking out three in his final spring tuneup. Cole’s fastball averaged 96.4 mph — down a tick from where it was earlier this spring.

Logan Webb will get the call for the Giants. With the loss of Carlos Rodón in free agency to the Yankees, there was really no competition for the role of staff ace. Despite setting personal bests in games started (32), innings pitched (192 1/3), ERA (2.90) and wins (15) in 2022, Webb has expressed some dissatisfaction with last year’s results and will be aiming to raise the bar for himself this season.

A major focus for him this spring was regaining his feel for his slider, which held opposing batters to a .202 average and induced 60 strikeouts in ‘22. That was a slight dip from the .156 opponents’ batting average and 88 strikeouts he recorded with the pitch in ‘21. Webb’s spring ERA this year was 4.50 over five starts.

MLB Betting Pick: Yankees

Philadelphia Phillies vs. Texas Rangers

  • When: Thursday, March 30, 2023, 4:05 PM ET
  • Where: Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX
  • TV: NBC 10, BSSW
  • Radio: WIP-FM 94.1 (Phillies) // 105.3 The Fan KRLD-FM (Rangers)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Betting Odds: TBA

It will be the Rangers debut of two-time National League Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom, who signed in free agency from the Mets. The veteran righty isn’t going to be fully stretched out after dealing with a side issue for much of this spring, and deGrom will be limited to around 75-80 pitches against Philadelphia.

DeGrom will make his fourth career Opening Day start. He will be the club’s 14th different Opening Day starter since 2010. The last Texas pitcher to start consecutive season openers was Kevin Millwood from 2006-09, something the Rangers would like to change with deGrom over the next five years, the length of his contract.

DeGrom will be the first Opening Day starter in Rangers history to take the mound after having won multiple Cy Young Awards, and just the third Texas pitcher to start on Opening Day after having won one at all, joining Fergie Jenkins (National League Cy Young in 1971) and Gaylord Perry (American League Cy Young in ‘72). This spring despite a minor injury, he fired 6 2/3 scoreless frames with a 0.90 ERA and a 10/2 K/BB ratio.

The Phillies are without two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper as he works his way back from Tommy John Surgery. He won’t be ready until likelyJune at the earliest. Last week, slugging first baseman Rhys Hoskins was lost to a season-ending torn ACL in a spring game. Hoskins hit 30 homers with 79 RBIs last season for the reigning National League champions.

Phillies president Dave Dombrowski said Friday that Darick Hall is expected to see most of the playing time at first base due to the Hoskins injury. The 27-year-old Hall, who played in 41 major league games last season, has 5 home runs and 11 RBIs in spring training to go along with a .319 batting average. He hit .250 with 9 home runs and 16 RBIs in 41 games for the Phillies last season.

It will be Aaron Nola on the mound. This will be Nola’s sixth straight opening day start. Only Robin Roberts (12) and Steve Carlton (10) made more consecutive opening day starts with the Phillies. Nola is coming off of the second-best season of his career. In 205 innings, he pitched to a 3.25 ERA and 0.96 WHIP with 235 strikeouts and just 29 walks. He threw 25 more innings than the year before and allowed seven fewer home runs.

MLB Betting Pick: Rangers

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.

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