The Cubs open their season with the Milwaukee Brewers–Corbin Burnes is the Brewers’ probable starting pitcher, and the Cubbies will counter with Marcus Stroman.
The White Sox head to Houston for Game 1 of a four-game series with the defending World Champion Astros. Dylan Cease is on the bump for the pale hose, and Framber Valdez takes the hill for Houston.
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Milwaukee Brewers vs. Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee is a -145 favorite with a 7.5 run total when they meet the Cubs Thursday afternoon for a 2:20 pm National League Central tilt at Wrigley Field.
Phil’s Best Bet: Cubs Under 7.5 runs -110 Caesars
Rain is expected throughout the day in Chicago, and if they do play, Burnes and Stroman will have a huge advantage pitching on a cold, rainy March day at Wrigley.
Burnes is a +550 favorite to win the NL CY Young Award, and he has the stuff to make an unpredictable Cubs offense miserable. The Brewers righty finished 2nd in strikeouts last season, and if he gets his curveball working, it will be tough for the Cubbies to get anything going.
Stroman is coming off a decent 2022 campaign and, while getting on in years, still has good control with 6+ strikeout capabilities. Milwaukee doesn’t have an eye-popping offense, and Stroman should be able to keep the ball in the yard against an average Brewers offense.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 27, 2023
Finally, Milwaukee has one of the best closers in baseball, and the Cubs’ offense will struggle all day against Burnes and the Brewers’ bullpen. Stroman should be able to do his part, and hopefully, the weather will help keep the Milwaukee bats from attacking what could be a mediocre, at best, Chicago bullpen.
Chicago White Sox vs. Houston Astros
The White Sox are a +130 underdog with a 7-run total when they meet the defending world champion Houston Astros at 7:00 pm at Minute Maid Park.
Phil’s Best Bet: Houston -150 Caesars
Cease is a +900 favorite to win the AL CY Young award, and he’s coming off a career year and is expected to be one of the best this season. He’s up against an Astros offense missing spark plug Jose Altuve, but Cease has struggled against this collection of Houston bats, and he could be in for a rough go of things Thursday evening.
Romy González got all of that one! pic.twitter.com/0sp5Hnal8D
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 28, 2023
Valdez is coming off a career year and won 17 games last season for the world champions, but the Astros ace wasn’t the same pitcher at Minute Maid Park as he was on the road. The White Sox can hit the ball, and the one-two punch of Luis Robert Jr and Eloy Jiminez might challenge Valdez.
Finally, the White Sox bullpen was dealt a huge blow with the injury to closer Liam Hendricks and Kendall Graveman closing is less than ideal. Houston closer Ryan Pressly is as good as it gets, and Houston wins a wild one on Thursday.