Arizona Diamondbacks center fielder Ketel Marte celebrates after the 13th inning of a baseball game against the Colorado Rockies, Tuesday, April 6, 2021, in Denver. The Diamondbacks won 10-8 in 13 innings. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
- There are nine games on the MLB schedule on Thursday, April 8th
- Season record: 8-10 with -$236 loss (based on $100 wagered per unit)
- See predictions and best bets for Thursday’s games within the article below
The nine-game Major League Baseball schedule for Thursday, April 8th, includes the Toronto Blue Jays’ “home” opener.
The Canadian government has barred the Blue Jays from playing home games at Rogers Centre for a second straight season because of COVID-19 travel restrictions. Thus, the Blue Jays will open the home portion of their schedule against the Los Angeles Angels at TD Ballpark in Dunedin, Fla., where Toronto holds spring training.
Ross Stripling (0-1, 8.10) is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays. Griffin Canning will make his season debut for the Angels.
The Boston Red Sox are the day’s biggest favorites at -165 over the Baltimore Orioles. Eduardo Rodriguez will make his first start since 2019 after missing last season because of a heart condition brought about by coronavirus. Matt Harvey starts for the Orioles in their home opener.
April 8 MLB Picks
|Matchup||Pick and Odds at DraftKings||Units Risked|
|Mariners vs Twins||Mariners +170||1 unit|
|Royals vs White Sox||Royals +155||1 unit|
|Diamondbacks vs Rockies||Under 11 (-100)||1 unit|
Odds as of April 8th.
Pick 1: Mariners +170
This pick looks counterintuitive on the surface, especially considering the drastically different results both starting pitchers had in their first outings of the season.
The Twins’ Jose Berrios pitched six no-hit innings to beat the Milwaukee Brewers, striking out 12 and walking none.
José Berríos, Feculent 85mph Curveball. 😮
There should be a 30 for 30 about the first 5 innings. pic.twitter.com/DLlO7bdQih
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 4, 2021
Mariners left-hander Marco Gonzales tied career highs by allowing three home runs and three walks in six innings of a no-decision against the San Francisco Giants. He also gave up five runs and eight hits while recording just two strikeouts.
However, that outing feels like an aberration. Gonzales issued just seven walks in 69.2 innings last season while going 7-2 with a 3.10 ERA in 11 starts. In 2020, he led the American League with 0.9 walks per nine innings.
— Seattle Mariners (@Mariners) August 10, 2019
Berrios is a quality pitcher on the mound in the Twins’ home opener. However, he also has a 4.02 ERA in five career starts against Mariners.
Gonzales is an attractive play at this price.
Pick 2: Royals +155
Like Gonzales, Brad Keller’s first start of the season for the Kansas City Royals was out of character.
Keller was pounded for six runs and nine hits in 1.1 innings by the Texas Rangers in a no-decision. He had no strikeouts and walked two.
However, Keller has proven to be a good major league pitcher since joining the Royals in 2018 after being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Rule 5 Draft of unprotected players. He has a career 3.63 ERA, including a 2.47 mark in nine starts last season.
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 21, 2018
Lance Lynn gets the ball for the Chicago White Sox in their home opener after being acquired from the Texas Rangers in an offseason trade.
The veteran had an inefficient debut for the White Sox against the Mariners. He did not allow an earned run in 4.2 innings of a no-decision but also needed 99 pitches to gets 14 outs.
Keller looks like a good value play, too, at these odds.
Pick 3: Diamondbacks-Rockies Under 11 (-100)
It is usually foolhardy to bet the under at Coors Field but let’s go bananas anyway.
Rockies right-hander Jon Gray will be making his second start of the season. He left his initial outing after allowing only one run in five innings while striking out seven in a no-decision against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors because of full body cramping.
Gray said he believes the cramping was the result of eating too many carbs and not enough protein the day of his start. He plans to have a banana before he takes the mound this time against the Arizona Diamondbacks and Merrill Kelly.
#Rockies Jon Gray said he has been feeling better since he left the game on Saturday with full-body cramps. He’s been hydrating and taking supplements.
He is going to eat a carb-heavy breakfast and a banana before his next start
— Danielle Allentuck (@d_allentuck) April 7, 2021
In his first start, Kelly took the loss against the San Diego Padres as he gave up three runs in four innings. A high pitch count contributed to the so-so performance as he threw 23 pitches in the second inning and 28 in third.
It is instructive to note, though, that Kelly had a 2.59 ERA in five starts last season.
John Perrotto has been covering and writing about sports for various outlets for over 40 years. His work has appeared in the likes of USA TODAY, ESPN.com, SI.com, Forbes.com, The Associated Press, Baseball Digest, and more. John is based out of Beaver Falls, PA.