Opening Day of the Major League Baseball season could not have gone much worse for the betting public on Thursday afternoon.
Underdogs were barking early with heavy favorites falling short as the New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers all lost. That resulted in four of the five most popular wagers at PointsBet all lost, with only the San Diego Padres pulling out a win as the most-bet team of the early games.
Historically, Opening Day had brought fortune to those backing big favorites. Between the start of the 2005 season and last year, Opening Day favorites of -120 or more had gone 117-51, good for a 15.7% return on investment.
So much for that.
It began on Thursday in 2021 with an extra-inning loss for the Yankees, who were -160 favorites against the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto took advantage of starting the 10th inning with a runner on second base to win 3-2 and cash as a +152 underdog.
Defending AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber’s 13 strikeouts weren’t enough for the Indians (-157) to take down the Detroit Tigers (+148) as manager A.J. Hinch won his first game since being fired by the Astros, 3-2.
The Cubs (-250), the biggest betting favorite of the day, trailed 2-0 after two batters and never recovered in a 5-3 loss to the lowly Pirates (+185).
Finally, the defending World Series champion Dodgers (-210) faltered behind starter Clayton Kershaw, who gave up six runs (five earned) over 5 2/3 innings in a X-X loss to the Nolan Arenado-less Colorado Rockies (+190).
The Cubs, with 93% of bets and 96% of total money wagered, was the most popular play of the day. The Yankees took 94% of the money and 89% of bets against Toronto. The Dodgers had 93% of money and 92% of tickets, while Cleveland finished with 84% of total handle and 82% of bets.
A $100 parlay would’ve paid out $5,165.31, which you can figure out using The Action Network odds calculator.
It would’ve been an even uglier day for the betting public if the Padres didn’t come back against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Over 90% of bets came in on San Diego, which trailed 7-6 after allowing six runs in the top of the fifth inning but rallied for an 8-7 win.
The St. Louis Cardinals were even slight underdogs at +104, but they backed the 77% of bets that came in on them against the Cincinnati Reds. St. Louis scored six runs in the first inning and then four in the four en route to an 11-6 win at Great American Ball Park.