MLB Opening Night Offers Chance To Go High Risk, High Reward On Dodgers-Giants

Written By Derek Helling on July 8, 2020

The old moniker is nothing ventured, nothing gained. In terms of MLB opening night bets on the Dodgers-Giants game, bettors’ best chances to hit it big might involve some riskier plays.

Los Angeles opens as the heavy favorite in the game at online sportsbooks like BetMGM. A lot could change between now and July 23, however.

BetMGM Dodgers-Giants lines for MLB opening night

With over two weeks before the game, BetMGM sets Los Angeles as a -278 favorite to defeat the Giants in both teams’ first game of the 2020 season. The line on San Francisco pulling off the upset sits at +225.

BetMGM’s standard run total line is currently 7.5, with negative lines on both the over and the under. The odds on the under are slightly better at -105.

The spread sits at 1.5 runs, with the Giants +110 to spoil and the Dodgers -130 to cover. Those lines are in step with other sportsbooks.

For example, DraftKings has the same lines on the spread (1.5) and total (7.5). That sportsbook also has Los Angeles as a -278 favorite on a moneyline wager right now.

Handicapping this contest is more demanding this year than in normal season-opening scenarios because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several current unknowns for Dodgers-Giants

Right now, BetMGM expects the starting pitching matchup for this contest to feature Johnny Cueto for San Francisco and Clayton Kershaw for Los Angeles. Bettors shouldn’t consider that a foregone conclusion, however.

The possibility that one or both of the pitchers could opt out of the 2020 season still exists. Other players, like Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies, have already done so.

The same thing goes for every player on the Dodgers’ and Giants’ rosters. If any key players should forgo playing this year, it will dramatically affect game lines.

Even if all the players bettors expect to be on the field for these teams on July 23 are available and healthy, that’s no guarantee they will perform up to those expectations.

Players face some unusual circumstances this year. Among those are playing in empty stadiums, as far as spectators go. Additionally, players have not benefited from a full spring training to get into game shape and rhythm.

How that will affect both teams is anyone’s guess right now. It’s also questionable how the pandemic will continue to change these circumstances.

Recent spikes in COVID-19 hospitalizations and positive tests have caused businesses, like California cardrooms, to close again. Some MLB franchises have taken similar cautionary measures, such as canceling workouts, just this week.

While these unknowns present challenges for bettors trying to handicap this game, they do the same thing for oddsmakers at sportsbooks. In sports betting, uncertainty breeds opportunity.

Should bettors go big on the Giants?

If ever there was a time when sportsbooks aren’t posting markets with full confidence, it would be now. Oddsmakers are guessing just as much as bettors on how the unique circumstances will affect games.

That could mean it’s time to take advantage of the generous odds on the Giants. Although the Giants were a well below-league-average offense last season (just 4.19 runs per game on average), they were slightly better than the league average in terms of runs allowed.

Perhaps more importantly, San Francisco ranked seventh in all of baseball in defensive efficiency in 2019. While the runs may not be piling up, especially on opening night, the Giants may have the defense and pitching to keep the game tight.

In terms of taking some flyers with a big upside, San Francisco could represent a giant value. There’s every reason to expect the Dodgers to win this game. That, however, is exactly why this contest represents a great opportunity.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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