Major League Baseball
Best Opening Day Pitching Duels
Major League Baseball

Best Opening Day Pitching Duels

Updated Jul. 8, 2021 3:56 p.m. ET

By Jason McIntyre

MLB's full Opening Day slate is finally here. With a condensed, 60-game schedule, teams will face few fifth-day starters, which places extra emphasis on starting pitchers.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled the three most compelling "Starter vs. Starter" Friday matchups, in chronological order, as well as the moneyline odds on each.

(Note: Those odds below, via FOX Bet, reflect the chances that the TEAM will win, not solely the starting pitcher.)


Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves (+120) vs. Jacob deGrom, Mets (-143) — 1:10 p.m. ET, ESPN

J-Mac's Take: Mets -143. The Mets ace and 2-time Cy Young Award winner led MLB in strikeouts last year (255) and was utterly dominant in his last four performances of 2019 (12 hits in 28 innings, 1 run, 35 strikeouts).

Meanwhile, Soroka, who is just 22, is set to be the youngest Opening Day starter in Braves history. I believe Soroka has a bright future, but I'm willing to bet $143 on deGrom to make $100.

Hyun-Jin Ryu, Blue Jays (+140) vs. Charlie Morton, Rays (-162) — 6:40 p.m. ET, FOX Sports Sun

J-Mac’s Take: Rays -162. After the best season of his career with the Dodgers, Hyun-Jin Ryu goes East and will first face a dangerous Rays team that has World Series aspirations.

However, his counterpart, Charlie Morton, gave up just 0.7 homers per nine innings, best in the majors. That is why I'm taking Morton and the Rays -162 here.

Madison Bumgarner, Diamondbacks (+110) vs. Chris Paddack, Padres (-128) — 9:10 p.m. ET, FOX Sports Arizona/FOX Sports San Diego

J-Mac’s Take: Diamondbacks +110. It'll be weird to see Bumgarner in a Diamondbacks uniform after he spent 11 years and won three rings and a World Series MVP with the Giants.

Still, I think he might be the pitcher to push the Diamondbacks from 85 wins to the postseason. Yes, he's 13-10 with a 3.40 ERA in his career vs the Padres, but San Diego was 26th in baseball in OPS last year.

I'll happily lay $100 on the line to win $110 on the assumption that Bumgarner will show out in his highly-anticipated debut in a new uniform.


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