MLB weekly betting preview: Sandy Alcantara deserves your attention
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We're barely two weeks into the MLB campaign, which means overreaction season is in full force. Are the Red Sox legit? Is it time to panic for the Mets? Is Byron Buxton the best player in baseball?

While the answers to all of those questions are probably "no," there is still value in knowing which trends to buy into this early in the year. Speaking of which ...

Marlins (+125) @ Braves (-145)
April 12, 7:20 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers: Sandy Alcantara (0-1, 1.50 ERA) vs. Huascar Ynoa (0-0, 0.00)

Alcantara is for real, and don't let this price suggest otherwise. The Marlins ace was an All-Star in 2019 and has logged 12 quality starts in his last 14 outings. After recording a career-best 3.00 ERA in 2020, he's dropped that to 1.50 through two impressive starts this season.

The right-hander has always leaned on his fastball, which is up to 97.6 MPH this year. Alcantara's complementing it with a heavier dose of his changeup this campaign, which has produced a wicked 50% whiff rate and .091 batting average on 40 pitches.

Miami has struggled offensively, but so have the Braves, who rank 24th in wOBA (.294) and have posted -11.8 weighted runs vs. fastballs to begin the season - by far the worst in the league. If Alcantara can play off his heater as well as he has been, he'll put the Marlins in a great spot to win outright.

Pick: Marlins +125

Angels @ Royals (N/A)
April 13, 8:10 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Dylan Bundy (0-0, 3.75) vs. Danny Duffy (1-0, 0.00)

Both of these teams have gotten out to impressive starts this campaign: The Angels (6-3) are tied for the AL West lead, while the Royals (4-3) are a half-game behind the Indians in the AL Central. However - assuming these two pitchers take the mound on Tuesday - this one shouldn't be close.

Duffy's final line from his opening start is a bit of a misnomer - the 32-year-old allowed just two hits but was hit hard on seven of 14 batted balls allowed, and he generated just five punch-outs to three walks against a power-light Cleveland lineup. Duffy won't have the same good fortune against an Angels side that is slugging .420 in the early going behind Mike Trout's MVP-level start.

Meanwhile, Bundy has carried his strong play into this season, striking out 16 batters through two starts with a 34.2% CSW rate - a stat he ranked second in during a shortened 2020 campaign. Don't expect the Royals' hot offensive start to extend into this one.

Mariners @ Orioles (N/A)
April 14, 7:05 p.m.

Starting pitchers: Justin Dunn (0-0, 5.79) vs. Matt Harvey (0-1, 5.59)

It's easy to talk yourself into Dunn, who allowed just one hit to a potent White Sox lineup in his season debut. The 25-year-old also walked eight batters and struggled to attack the zone, resulting in three runs and a ballooned ERA in 4 2/3 innings of work.

Dunn's stuff should play better against the Orioles, who have struck out 31.5% of the time - worst in the majors - and have one of the worst chase (29%) and whiff rates (31.7%) of any team at this point in the season. If Dunn can keep it anywhere near the zone on Wednesday, the Mariners will be in good shape.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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MLB weekly betting preview: Sandy Alcantara deserves your attention
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