The 2021 MLB season is finally here, as all 30 teams are in action on an Opening Day, bringing plenty of excitement to the sports bettors. Therefore, I’ve prepared the best betting pick for the NL West showdown between the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres at Petco Park in San Diego.
The Padres opened as firm -220 moneyline favorites on BetMGM Sportsbook, while the totals are set at 8.5 runs. Last season, San Diego and Arizona split a 10-game series, but the Padres won five of their seven home encounters with the D-backs.
Arizona enters the new season as a huge underdog
The Arizona Diamondbacks went 25-35 this past regular season and finished bottom of the NL West standings. They are listed at +4500 odds to win the divisional title this term, and many experts highly doubt the D-backs’ chances to reach the playoffs.
Arizona was 18th in the MLB in runs scored per game last season (4.48). The Diamondbacks were 19th in batting average (.241), 23rd in on-base percentage (.312), and 22nd in slugging percentage. On the other side of the ball, they were allowing 4.92 runs per contest (17th in the MLB).
Madison Bumgarner will take the mound for Arizona in the opener, and the 31-year-old southpaw was a complete disaster in 2020, mostly because of his back injury. MadBum was 1-4 with a terrible 6.48 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but he should be at a much higher level this season. Bumgarner is 13-12 with a 3.63 ERA in 37 career starts against San Diego.
San Diego hopes to snap the Dodgers’ reign
The San Diego Padres were 37-23 in the shortened 2020 MLB season, finishing at the second spot of the NL West table, six games behind the mighty Los Angeles Dodgers. After a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals in the wild-card series, the Padres were blanked by the Dodgers in the NLDS.
San Diego was arguably one of the most exciting teams in baseball last year. Led by Fernando Tatis Jr. and Manny Machado, the Padres were third in the MLB in runs scored per game (5.42) and fourth in home runs (95). Also, the Padres had the eighth-best batting average (.257) and the third-best slugging percentage (.466). They were yielding 4.02 runs per contest (8th in the MLB).
Yu Darvish arrived in the offseason after spending the previous three years with the Chicago Cubs, and the 34-year-old righty will make his debut on an Opening Day. Darvish was 8-3 last season, posting a terrific 2.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP along with a 93/14 K/BB ratio.
- 4-14 in the last 18 games on the road
- 12-6 in the last 18 games against the NL West
Yu Darvish pitched at a high-level last season, and I’m expecting more of the same in 2021. The Padres have one of the best offenses in baseball, so they should roll over the Diamondbacks in the opener. Hereof, I’m taking the hosts to get off to a flying start and beat Arizona by two or more runs.
The Diamondbacks have dropped four of their last five games in spring training, allowing 33 runs in that span. I don’t trust their bullpen early in the season, and Madison Bumgarner might have another tough outing when he takes on the Padres’ loaded lineup.
Pick: Take San Diego -1.5 at -110
Four of Arizona’s last six games in spring training produced ten or more runs in total, as the Diamondbacks’ pitching looked pretty shaky. If the Padres catch the right rhythm, they could easily score six or seven runs on their own, so I have to take the over on the totals.
Six of San Diego’s previous eight contests in spring training produced nine or more runs in total. As well as the D-backs, the Padres have some problems in their bullpen.
Pick: Go over 8.5 runs at -110