Tuesday Teaser

March 26, 2024


MLB: Cubs at Rangers (Thursday, 7:35 PM ET, ESPN)

© Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The defending World Series champion Rangers will host the Cubs to kick off their title defense, trying to become the first MLB team to repeat since the 2000 Yankees. Opening Day starter Nathan Eovaldi was brilliant in the postseason last year, going 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA.

He’ll try to continue that magic, matching up with Chicago’s Justin Steele. Steele burst onto the scene last season, going 16-5 with a 3.06 ERA and finishing fifth in NL Cy Young voting. 

Both teams project to be playoff teams in 2024, but there’s something about ring ceremony night that leans toward the home team in what Vegas projects as essentially a coin-flip game. Corey Seager, Marcus Semien and Adonis Garcia will be ready to swing for the fences, while a pumped up Eovaldi mows down the Cubs.

Richard DeMala’s Pick: Texas ML (-115) 

The Rangers will get off to a 1-0 start on the season with a 6-2 victory. The pomp and circumstance that comes with celebrating their first-ever championship will carry the night.


MLB: Rockies at Diamondbacks (Thursday, 10:10 PM ET)

© Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Diamondbacks came close to winning their second World Series in franchise history last year, but ultimately had a fantastic postseason run fall short when the Rangers beat them in five games in the Fall Classic. Still, Arizona way overachieved in 2023 and will look to ride that momentum into 2024.

They get a favorable opening series, as the Rockies are projected to lose more than 100 games once again. Arizona ace Zac Gallen went 17-9 with a 3.47 ERA last season and added two more wins in the playoffs. 

Meanwhile, Colorado is totally devoid of top-tier pitching, trotting out the aging Kyle Freeland for game No. 1 of the season. Freeland had a rough go of it last year, compiling a 6-14 record with an ERA above 5.00. He gave up 29 home runs which was the most on the team.

The Diamondbacks have some studs in their lineup in Corbin Carroll and Gabriel Moreno, and others brimming with potential like Alek Thomas. This is a total mismatch.

Richard DeMala’s Pick: Arizona ML (-220) 

The Diamondbacks should have no problem getting to Freeland, while Gallen shuts down the Rockies in an 8-1 opening night win. It’ll be a celebratory night in the desert, as the NL champs look to build upon last year’s surprise success.

And keep an eye on…

MLB FUTURES: Astros win World Series (+1000)

© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston has been in MLB’s “final four” each of the last seven years, advancing to at least the ALCS in all seven campaigns. That includes four trips to the World Series and championships in 2017 and 2022.

They’re on a historic run of being competitive year in and year out, and will return household names like Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez and Jeremy Pena in one of the best lineups in baseball. Framber Valdez is a monster on the mound, the Astros added Josh Hader to a stellar bullpen and Justin Verlander should be back sooner rather than later.

Getting 10-to-1 for a team that’s always right there to win the whole thing? Sign us up, as Houston has no business having the fourth-best World Series odds behind the Dodgers (+300), Braves (+550) and Yankees (+900).


MLB FUTURES: Nolan Arenado to win NL MVP (+6000)

© Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

A player as talented as Arenado is worth a shot when the oddsmakers only give him the 16th-best odds to win MVP of his league. He’s arguably the greatest defensive third baseman ever and still one of the most-feared hitters in the game.

Arenado had a down year in 2023, “only” hitting .266 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI. Then again, so did the entire Cardinals team, as they went a shocking 71-91 and missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

But that’s the fun thing about St. Louis, they’re never down for long and should be a prime bounce-back candidate in 2024, along with Arenado. If he can capture his 11th Gold Glove after a season off from the award, while returning his power numbers to more than 30 HR and raise the batting average by 20 points, Arenado could garner some consideration.

That’ll especially be the case if the Cardinals are back in the postseason, as many suspect they could be. Take a flyer on this one.