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We are just days away from Major League Baseball Opening Day, something that has gone from a certainty, to an almost impossibility, and then back to the point where we are now.

Kind of.

The New York Yankees will head to Washington, D.C. to take on the defending World Series champion Nationals this Thursday.

But as of a few days ago, even with all the wrangling over service time, salary, safety, and any other issue that popped up over the months before there was finally an agreement to play ball, this game was still not a certainty to be played at Nationals Park. That uncertainty was taken away a few days ago, when Washington was cleared to use its home stadium.

Now, the only precarious situation left is whether or not MLB can play a whole season and crown a champion for 2020.

All of that, though, is for another day: baseball is back!

Of course, fans in New Jersey have been able to get their baseball fix over the last week with the Last Dance Tournament going on across the state. But the professionals are back, and there are a lot of happy people around the state.

Thursday night will be a matchup of the two Game One starters from the 2019 World Series, Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer. The Nationals’ ace went five innings that night to pick up the win, which was the first of four Washington got at Minute Maid Park on the way to the title. If you remember, Scherzer and Cole did not match up again in the series due to Scherzer’s back stiffness, which pushed him back to Game Seven.

PointsBet NJ has Cole and the Yankees as the favorite to win the series opener Thursday (7:08 p.m. EDT ESPN), with money line odds of -140, and on the -1.5 run line at +125; you can get the Nationals at +140 on the money line, and -145 on +1.5 run line. Check this Pointsbet promo code review to learn more about current bonuses and offers ahead of MLB betting restart.

The over/under is set at 7.5, which might be low, if you have watched the “pre-season games” over the last few days. The Yankees’ duo Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been blasting tape measure shots left and right, and should be geared up to go Thursday night.

With the 60-game season, the teams that are predicted to make the playoffs and possibly win the World Series, such as these two teams, really need to get off to a good start.

I would predict the Yankees to jump out of the gate fast, especially in the competitive American League East.

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Friday night is the Philadelphia Phillies season (and home) opener, as they take on the hapless Miami Marlins (7:05 p.m. EDT NBCSP and Fubo.tv), who open the season with the lowest over/under win total, 23.5, in the league (odds via BetMGM).

There is some hope among fans, and bettors, that the Phillies can make a run at the playoffs in 2020. Other than four games with the Yankees, Philadelphia plays nine of its first 13 games against the Marlins and Toronto Blue Jays. With the strength of the two Eastern Divisions, this season could come down to how well the Phillies play against the poor teams, and then try to hold their own with the Yankees, Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, and Tampa Bay Rays.

First things first, though; beat the Marlins Friday. The Phillies are -189 on the money line, with the Marlins +170. With Aaron Nola looking dominant in the exhibition games, look at the run line of -1.5 when it comes out later in the week.

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