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MLB Opening Day, Part 2: Sharp Action hitting Braves-Mets, Twins-White Sox and Angels-Athletics

July 24, 2020 12:45 AM

Sportsbooks took a hit and public bettors cleaned up in Thursday's two Opening Day games. 

In the early matchup, the Yankees beat the Nationals 4-1 in a rain-shortened affair. Roughly two-thirds of bets took New York, who moved from -130 to -165 after Washington star Juan Soto was a late scratch due to a positive Covid-19 test. Because the game was called in the 6th inning, most sportsbooks paid out moneyline bets but voided and refunded bets on the total and the run-line (spread).

In the nightcap, the Dodgers cruised past the Giants 8-1. Nearly three-out-of-four bets laid the big -285 price on Los Angeles, who also cashed on the run-line (-1.5 at -160). The Dodgers reached -320 but then ticked back down when Clayton Kershaw was a late scratch due to back stiffness. It's important to remember that most books are now only offering "action" bets during this shortened season, not "listed pitcher" bets. 

Now it's on to Opening Day, Part 2. We have 14 games to get down on today. Let's discuss a trio of matchups receiving notable line movement and heavy action. 

For an updated breakdown of Friday's MLB betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at Noon ET. 

4:10 p.m. ET: Atlanta Braves at New York Mets

The first game of the day is also taking in the most amount of action. Atlanta won the NL East last season with a 97-65 record. New York finished 11 games back at 86-76. In a stellar pitching matchup, the Braves send Mike Soroka (13-4, 2.68 ERA in 2019) to the mound to face the Mets 2-time defending Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom (11-8, 2.43 ERA). 

The Mets opened as modest -137 home favorites and the Braves a + 126 road dog. The public respects deGrom but also can't believe Atlanta is getting plus money. However, despite roughly two-thirds of bets siding with the Braves, the line has inched further to the Mets -140. This signals some sharp, respected money fading the trendy dog and laying the minus number with deGrom and the Mets.

The total opened at a super low 7, which makes sense with two aces toeing the rubber. It appears that both Pros and Joes are taking the over as the juice has moved from 7 over -110 to over -120. This signals a possible jump up to 7.5. The forecasts calls for mid 80s, overcast and 5 MPH winds out to left center. 

8:10 p.m. ET: Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox

Minnesota ran away with the AL Central last season, going 101-61. Chicago finished a disappointing 72-89, but enters 2020 as a trendy public darling thanks to several big offseason additions, including Yasmani Grandal, Dallas Keuchel and Edwin Encarnacion. This divisional showdown features an impressive pitching matchup with the Twins' Jose Berrios (14-8, 3.68 ERA in 2019) facing the White Sox ace Lucas Giolitio (14-9, 3.41 ERA).

Some books opened this game at a virtual pick'em with both sides at -105. Since that time, the line has moved slightly toward the Twins (-107) and away from the White Sox (-103). However, earlier market setting books opened this game much further toward the home team, listing Chicago close to -120. Either way, we've seen the line move toward Minnesota, who is receiving roughly two thirds of bets but even a bigger share of money. Minnesota went 55-26 on the road last second, the best record in baseball. 

The total opened at 8.5 with even -110 juice on both sides. A steady diet of over action has come in, pushing the juice up to 8.5 over -115. Some books are even reaching 9. 

10:10 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Angels at Oakland Athletics

This AL West showdown is the final game of the night. The Angels went a disappointing 72-90 last season while the Athletics went an impressive 97-65. Los Angeles sends lefty Andrew Heaney (4-6, 4.91 ERA in 2019) against Oakland's Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.63 ERA). Montas was a Cy Young candidate for the first half of last season before being suspended 80-games for PEDs. 

The A's opened as a short -130 home favorite and the Angels a + 120 road dog. The public loves betting favorites and home teams but also doesn't mind grabbing Mike Trout and the Halos at a plus-money payout in Joe Maddon's debut. However, despite even betting, sharp money has sided with Oakland, pushing the line up to A's -140. The Angels have value as a road divisional dog with a high total. However, they will be without prized free agent acquisition Anthony Rendon who was ruled out with a sore oblique. 

We're also seeing some liability on the over. The total opened at 8.5 and the juice on the over has moved from -110 to -115. The forecast calls for 10 MPH winds to straightaway centerfield. 

Remember: the sports betting market is fluid and constantly changing based on injuries, scratched players, weather and, most of all, the action coming in. Stay up to date with the latest odds by visiting our free VSiN MLB Live Odds Page

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