In one matchup, Mookie Betts, Clayton Kershaw and the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers open the season on the road at Colorado. In another NL Matchup, the three-time reigning NL East champion Atlanta Braves are in Philadelphia and looking to take the next step to World Series berth after coming up agonizingly short of beating out LA in last season’s NLCS. Last, but not least, Fernando Tatis and the World Series-hopeful San Diego Padres host the Arizona Diamondbacks in another pairing of NL West rivals.
With the start of the 2021 MLB regular season set to get underway, it’s time to look at the top Opening Day games. The AL prohibitive favorite New York Yankees open at home against a talent-laden Toronto team and hey, both Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge are healthy. We’ll see two elite hurlers square off when Jacob deGrom and the New York Mets visit Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals.
Last, but not least, the Oakland A’s host the Houston Astros in an intriguing AL West matchup after Houston dispatched Oakland despite finishing second to the A’s in the regular season.
With the start of the 2021 MLB regular season set to get underway, it’s time to look at the top Opening Day games on the docket so you can place your bets against their MLB odds.
MLB Betting Preview – Dodgers, Braves, Padres Highlight Trio of Top Opening Games
Thursday, April 1st Games
LA Dodgers at Colorado at 4:10 p.m. ET
- Where: Coors Field, Denver, CO
- TV: SPN, SportsNet LA, ATT SportsNET-RM
The Dodgers went 43-17 a year ago to claim the NL West title for the eighth consecutive season. Los Angeles would go on to dispatch Milwaukee, San Diego and Atlanta in the NL playoffs before beating Tampa Bay in the 2020 World Series. The Dodgers finished the season ranked first in scoring (5.82 RPG) and first in team ERA (3.02). Staff ace lefty Clayton Kershaw went 6-2 in 10 starts with a fine, 2.16 ERA a year ago while striking out 62 and walking eight.
Colorado went 26-34 to finish fourth in the five-team NL West standings, 17 games behind LA. The Rockies finished 15th in scoring (4.58 RPG) and a dismal 29th in team ERA (5.59). Staff ace right-hander German Marquez went 4-6 with a 3.75 ERA in 13 starts spanning 81.7 innings. Marquez struck out 73 and walked 25 while allowing six homers. LA won seven of the 10 meetings against Colorado last season.
Atlanta at Philadelphia at 3:05 p.m. ET
- Where: Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia, PA
- TV: FSSO, NBC 10
The Braves 35-25 to win their third straight NL East crown. Atlanta ranked a stellar second in scoring (5.80 RPG), second in team batting average (.268) and second in home runs (103). Defensively, the Braves finished in the middle of the pack across the board, including 15th in team ERA (4.41). Staff ace Max Fried went a phenomenal 7-0 in 11 starts last season with a 2.25 ERA while striking out 50 and walking 19.
Philadelphia is coming off a 28-32 campaign a year ago that saw them finish third in the NL East standings, seven games behind Atlanta. The Phillies finished an encouraging fifth in scoring (5.10 RPG) and ninth in team batting average (.257), but they were a mess defensively in finishing 27th in team ERA (5.14). Staff ace Aaron Nola went 5-5 with a 3.28 ERA in 12 starts while striking out a whopping 96 batters and walking 23. Last season, these two longtime rivals split 10 regular season meetings.
Arizona at San Diego at 4:10 p.m. ET
- Where: Petco Park, an Diego, CA
- TV: FS-A, FSSD, FOX Deportes
Arizona went 25-35 to finish in last place in the five-team NL West standings, a whopping 18 games behind the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks finished a modest 18th in scoring (4.48 RPG) and 20th in team ERA (4.84). Veteran right-hander Madison Bumgarner went 1-4 with the D-Backs while compiling an ugly 6.48 ERA in nine starts. The former San Francisco Giants superstar struck out 30 and walked 13 – while giving up a whopping 13 home runs.
San Diego went an impressive 37-23 to finish six games behind LA. The Padres finished third in scoring (5.42 RPG) and an encouraging seventh in team ERA (3.87). Veteran right-hander Yu Darvish went 8-3 with a stupendous 2.01 ERA in 12 starts with the Chicago Cubs last season to finish second in the NL Cy Young voting. Darvish struck out 93 and walked just 14 in 76.0 innings. These longtime rivals split 10 regular season meetings with Arizona winning the last three.
Toronto at NY Yankees at 1:05 p.m. ET
- Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY
- TV: ESPN
Toronto went 32-28 last season to finish third in the AL East, one game behind the Yankees and eight back of Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays finished seventh in scoring (5.03 RPG) and 17th in team ERA (4.60). Veteran hurler Hyun-Jin Ryu is coming off season that saw the former Korean star go 5-2 in 12 starts with a stellar 2.69 ERA while striking out 72 and walking only 17 batters.
New York went 33-27 to finish seven games behind the division-winning Rays. The Yankees finished fourth in scoring (5.25 RPG) and 14th in team ERA (4.35). Staff ace right-hander Gerrit Cole went 7-3 in 10 starts with a 2.84 ERA while striking out 94 and walking 17. These two rivals split 10 regular season meetings last season.
NY Mets at Washington at 7:09 p.m. ET
- Where: Nationals Park, Washington, D.C.
- TV: ESPN
The Mets went 26-34 to finish last in the NL East, nine games behind Atlanta. New York ranked a modest 13th in scoring (4.77 RPG) despite finishing first in team batting average (.272). The Mets finished an uninspiring 22nd in team ERA (4.98). Two-time Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom went 4-2 in 12 starts with a 2.38 ERA while striking out 104 and walking 18.
Washington went an identical 26-34 last season. The Nationals ranked 10th in scoring (4.88 RPG) and fourth in team batting average (.264). Unfortunately, Washington also finished a dismal 26th in team ERA (5.09). Future Hall of fame right-hander Max Scherzer went 5-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 12 starts while striking out 92 and walking 23. Washington won six of 10 against New York last season, including each of the last three meetings in late September.
Houston at Oakland at 10:07 p.m. ET
- Where: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, CA
- TV: ESPN, NBCSA
Houston went 29-31 last season to finish second to Oakland in the AL West a year ago. The perennially-powerful Astros finished 14th in scoring (4.65 RPG) and a modest 13th in team ERA (4.31) while having their three-year division title run snapped. Veteran left-hander Zack Greinke went 3-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 12 starts last season while striking out 67 and walking just nine batters in 67.0 innings.
Oakland went 36-24 to finish atop the AL West standings. The A’s finished a modest 17th in scoring (4.57 RPG), but a stellar fifth in team ERA (3.77). Staff ace Chris Bassitt went 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts while striking out 55 and walking 17 in 63.0 innings.
The A’s won five of the last six regular season meetings year ago, but Houston beat Oakland senseless in the playoffs by dispatching the A’s 3-1 in the ALDS. The Astros scored 10 runs in one win and 11 runs to knock the A’s out of the playoffs in Game 4.