The day we have been waiting for since the end of November is finally here: the 162-game Major League Baseball season marathon starts today. All 30 teams take the field today, the 2023 MLB Opening Day, but we are going to focus on an interleague matchup between the Cardinals and the Blue Jays to start the season.
2023 MLB Opening Day – Cardinals vs. Blue Jays Betting Pick: Preview
The Toronto Blue Jays open their season at Busch Stadium, the home of the defending NL Central Champion Cardinals. Neither of these teams made it out of the Wild Card round last season, and both of these teams have high expectations again for this season.
Thursday, March 30 MLB Betting Notes, Courtesy of DraftKings
Moneyline: Toronto Blue Jays -115 vs. St. Louis Cardinals -105
Runline: Blue Jays -1.5 +145 / Cardinals +1.5 -170
Total: 7.5 runs (Over -110 / Under -110)
Game Time: 4:10 pm ET / 1:10 pm PT
Where: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Weather: 61 degrees and sunny
2023 MLB Opening Day – Cardinals vs. Blue Jays Analysis
Due to the new MLB scheduling format, every team will play a series against each other this season, which is fantastic for fans. Toronto and St. Louis both have implied probabilities over 50% of making the postseason, so this should be an exciting way to kick off the season.
Young stud Alek Manoah will get the start for Toronto, while recently extended Miles Mikolas will toe the slab for St. Louis. Which team will come out on top? Let’s break down this matchup.
2023 MLB Opening Day – Cardinals Preview
The Cardinal’s win total is set at 89.5 wins, and they are the favorites to repeat as NL Central champs. One thing that concerns me about the Cardinals is their pitching, but their offense is legit.
Miles Mikolas will take the ball for the first opening day start of his career after Adam Wainwright suffered an injury. In 32 starts last season, Mikolas had a 3.87 FIP, a 2.8 WAR, a 19% K percentage, a 45% ground ball percentage, a 1.03 WHIP, and a .224 batting average against. Mikolas was much better at home last season. In 94.2 innings pitched at home, he had a .192 batting average against, a 3.74 FIP, a .83 WHIP, and a 19.3% strikeout percentage.
St. Louis’s roster is highlighted by absolute studs Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado, but they have other great players in this lineup. Lars Nootbaar had a great World Baseball Classic, Jordan Walker is a sneaky NL Rookie of the Year candidate, and signing Wilson Contreras was one of the best moves in free agency. Manoah was great last season, so St. Louis by no means should dominate this game, but their offense stacks up well against Toronto.
2023 MLB Opening Day – Blue Jays Preview
Though they made the playoffs last season, it is not a stretch to say that the Blue Jays underperformed. Expectations are still high for this young, ascending team, and they should be. Toronto has a great lineup, and their pitching staff, on paper, should perform better this season.
Young stud Alek Manoah is getting the opening-day nod for the first time in his career. In 31 starts last season, Manoah had a 3.35 FIP, a 4.1 WAR, a 22.9 strikeout percentage, a .99 WHIP, a .200 batting average against, and an 82.6% LOB%. Manoah was just as good on the road as he was at home. Away from Toronto, Manoah had a 3.32 FIP, a 1.06 WHIP, a .213 batting average against, and a 23.2% strikeout percentage.
When looking up and down this Blue Jays’ lineup, it is hard not to love what they put together. With a mix of young studs like Bo Bichette, Vlad Guerro Jr., Alejandro Kirk, and Dalton Varsho, with their veterans like George Springer and Whitt Merrifield, Toronto has a ton of balance. Make no mistake about it – this team is built to score early and often. The way to get to Mikolas is to apply pressure early, and the Blue Jays can certainly do that.
2023 MLB Opening Day – Cardinals vs. Blue Jays Prediction
This is a very interesting matchup for a variety of reasons. For starters, these teams don’t play each other often. Furthermore, both of these are starting pitchers who have never pitched on opening day before. That may not seem like a big deal, but if you know, you know.
Manoah was hit hard in his first career playoff game – AKA the game he had the most pressure on him in his young career. Mikolas has made three postseason starts, and while his stats are not amazing, he fared better than Manoah did.
With that being said, these teams are really evenly matched, so I would recommend snagging the run and a half with the home team.
Prediction: Cardinals +1.5 -170
2023 MLB Futures Package and Betting Guide
GoldSheet has released eight futures bets for the 2023 MLB season, so you can get that package here. Also, GoldSheet teamed up with handicappers from WagerTalk and Sportsmemo to produce a 105-page MLB betting guide for the 2023 season. Check out team previews, stat logs, division odds, win totals, and more to help you prepare for the upcoming baseball season.
2023 MLB Transactions
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