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MLB picks: Rays vs. Red Sox, Brewers vs. Cubs

Profile Picture: Robert Criscola

April 5th, 2021

The opening Monday of the 2021 MLB season is anything but sleepy — 26 of the 30 teams are in action!

Let’s take a look at two of the 13 games on the slate, starting with the matchup between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, then wrap up with a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs.

Tampa Bay Rays (2-1) at Boston Red Sox (0-3), 7:10 p.m. ET, ESPN

Mon, April 5 2021, 11:10 PM

BOS Red Sox

Moneyline

+102

Spread

+1.5

Total

O 9.5

TB Rays

Moneyline

-118

Spread

-1.5

Total

U 9.5

The Rays were held to just one run in an opening-day victory over the Miami Marlins, but their offense came alive with 13 runs, as they split the remaining two games of the series. Tampa should feast on Nick Pivetta and the Red Sox — who stumbled out of the gate — at Fenway Park on Monday night.

Boston was probably encouraged by Pivetta’s final two appearances of 2020, when he produced a 1.80 ERA over 10 innings. But his larger body of work with Philadelphia suggests he is merely a replacement-level starter. Pivetta has a 5.40 career ERA and a 1.43 career WHIP.

He’ll have to tread carefully with Rays outfielders Austin Meadows and Manuel Margot. The former knocked in two home runs in the opening series of 2021, while the latter gathered four hits in 10 at-bats.

Michael Wacha will counter for Tampa. His 2020 was entirely forgettable, as he authored a 6.62 ERA, through stops and starts with the New York Mets. But the Rays seem to have discovered something with him, as Wacha had a 0.60 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP in 15 innings during spring training.

Boston’s offense seems nothing to fear. The Red Sox notched just five runs over the weekend against the Baltimore Orioles.

Trend bettors should note the Rays are 18-5 in their last 23 games following a loss. The Red Sox are 3-7 in their last 10 series-opening tilts.

MLB pick: Rays -118


Milwaukee Brewers (1-2) at Chicago Cubs (2-1), 7:40 p.m. ET

Mon, April 5 2021, 11:40 PM

CHI Cubs

Moneyline

-114

Spread

+1.5

Total

O 9.5

MIL Brewers

Moneyline

-103

Spread

-1.5

Total

U 9.5

Under bettors seem poised to cash against this high total at Wrigley Field, as the Cubs host the Brewers on Monday night.

Brett Anderson gets the nod for Milwaukee, and he has been a reliable starter for the last three years, with a 3.6 combined WAR. He has been a much better hurler on the road, dating back to 2019, with a 3.35 ERA over 118 1/3 innings.

Trevor Williams will counter for Chicago, and since June of 2019, he has struggled for a bad Pittsburgh Pirates team. But with a new atmosphere at “the friendly confines,” he could recapture his early 2019 form, when he sported a 3.33 ERA over nine outings.

Both clubs have trended Under lately. The Cubs have gone below the total in 20 of their last 26 home games against left-handed starters. The Brewers have helped Under bettors cash in eight straight road contests.

MLB pick: Under

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