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MLB Opening Day Betting Preview
Boston Red Sox at Seattle Mariners

Like eight of the past nine defending World Series champions before them, the Boston Red Sox open up the 2019 campaign on the road as they look to start off the year with a W. Defending champions have gone 3-1 SU in season openers the past four years – with an average total score of 7 runs – and only one of those three wins have come by more than a single run.

But defending champs aren’t as successful if you go back a bit further, as they’ve got just a 5-6 SU record in their season opener since the start of 2008, another year that saw this Red Sox organization open up with a championship in tow. Given that Seattle’s already had a chance to get those first game jitters out of the way with their two-game sweep of Oakland over in Japan, can the Mariners pull off the upset tonight?

Sportsbetting.ag Odds: Boston (-200) vs Seattle (+185); Total set at 7

It’s been about a week since the Mariners touched down on American soil again and it’s got to feel good that they were able to do so with a 2-0 record in the standings. The MLB season is a long, grinding marathon, but every win counts no matter the time of year, and to have a bit of confidence coming into a matchup against Chris Sale and the defending champs never hurts.

But Boston comes in as a -200 favorite for many reasons, as they are a team that’s poised to do some big things this year once again. From top to bottom in the Red Sox lineup they are a team to be feared, and while the bullpen might be considered a concern coming into the season, you’ve got to believe Boston will have that figured out relatively quickly. Heck, with Sale on the hill tonight there may not be any need to rely on much of Boston’s bullpen as it is.

But from a market standpoint, there does seem to be a bit too much love for Boston at this price tonight – currently about 80% of action on the Red Sox ML and 75% on the RL according to VegasInsider.com – and given that the line has been hovering between the -190 and -200 range all morning after an initial early jump, the Red Sox appear to be in a spot I really want little to do with. That’s not to say they can’t win this game, but do you really want to jump on board with the masses on Boston ML with the price staying relatively stagnant at a perceived true number now?

I sure don’t, and while I do expect Seattle to at least put up a fight for the majority of this game, I’m not too keen on taking a stab with a big underdog just yet either. April (and September) are arguably the best months to back underdogs because the market hasn’t caught up to true numbers yet in April (and overreacts to dominant teams in September), but there is no need to try and force things too much on Opening Day.

So, instead, with history on my side in terms of defending champs either winning by one run or losing their season opener in nine of the past 11 seasons, I’m looking to the Mariners on the +1.5 RL tonight at +100 odds.

Seattle’s team may look quite different from last year’s squad, but in the four home games they hosted Boston in a season ago, they covered the +1.5 line in three of them (2-2 SU overall), and managed to do the same thing in 2017 as well. Strange things can happen on Opening Day, and while I do believe Boston’s got a great shot at another AL East title this year and who knows from there, I’ve got no problem going against them in this regard tonight.

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