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Finally Time to Play Ball

If you build a baseball season, they will come. On Thursday, July 23, Major League Baseball will mark an unusually momentous Opening Day, and sprint into a fast and furious 60-game season.

Major League Baseball returns Thursday, July 23, as the New York Yankees visit the defending champion Washington Nationals and the San Francisco Giants face the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Here’s what to expect from top teams via the projected wins total. Keep in mind, this season is just 60 games, not the usual 162.

The Dodgers and Yankees are over-under 37.5 at most major books, equating to a little over 100 wins.

The Yankees acquired superstar pitcher Gerrit Cole, who had 326 strikeouts last year. There’s a strikeout prop for him this year at 100. He’ll have to do that in roughly 13 starts (remember, few Yankees pitchers ever go past seven innings).

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The New York Mets are 32.5 on the over-under. Seems like a lot until you realize they won 86 games last year. They made some off-season moves and should be good. Can Alonso “Re-Pete?”. Slugger Pete Alonso hit a major-league leading 53 home runs last year, setting an all-time record for rookies. Much of the Mets’ season rests on whether he comes anywhere close to that in his sophomore season.

The Mets picked up starters Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha in the off-season. If injured reliever Dellin Betances comes around, this team could be very tough.

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Here’s a key thing to consider: regional scheduling. The Philadelphia Phillies have an over-under for wins at 31.5. They also have four games each against the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, along with three against the Tampa Bay Rays. Tough stretch. The good news is they obtained fiery manager Joe Girardi, a major improvement over Gabe Kapler.

The Nationals lost three significant players. Keep an eye on that for the win totals of 32.5. Anthony Rendon went to the Los Angeles Angels. Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross refuse to play because of coronavirus concerns.

As for the games, there’s a new rule for extra innings: each team starts with a runner on second base.

Regional scheduling helps restrict travel and may fuel some rivalries. The Giants and Dodgers meet nine times in the 60 games.

Middle-inning relievers are going to be quite important, especially early in the season. Players have been off a long time. A team may use several pitchers in games early on.

But any way you analyze it, bettors will adjust. They’re just happy to have baseball back.

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Updated World Series Odds

  • Los Angeles Dodgers+350
  • New York Yankees+385
  • Houston Astros+8000
  • Atlanta Braves+1500
  • Minnesota Twins+1500
  • Washington Nationals+1800
  • Tampa Bay Rays+1800
  • Cleveland Indians+2200
  • New York Mets+2200
  • Chicago Cubs+2500
  • Oakland Athletics+2500
  • Philadelphia Phillies+2500
  • Cincinnati Reds+2500
  • Louis Cardinals+3000
  • Los Angeles Angels+3300
  • Chicago White Sox+3300
  • Milwaukee Brewers+3500
  • Boston Red Sox+4000
  • San Diego Padres+4000
  • Arizona Diamondbacks+4500
  • Texas Rangers+7500
  • Toronto Blue Jays+10000
  • Colorado Rockies+15000
  • Pittsburgh Pirates+17500
  • San Francisco Giants+22500
  • Kansas City Royals+30000
  • Miami Marlins+30000
  • Seattle Mariners+35000
  • Detroit Tigers+40000
  • Baltimore Orioles+40000
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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for sportsquare.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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