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July 3, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

Take Detroit Tigers (-118) on the Money Line against Toronto Blue Jays risking 3% of the bankroll.
(Sanchez and Hutchison must start for wager to have action)

The Detroit Tigers find themselves in a pretty interesting situation heading into tonight contest with the Toronto Blue Jays. Expectations were high for the Tigers coming into this season with thoughts of completely dominating there division. Thus far this season there is no doubt that this is a team that has failed to live up to those high expectations. Detroit is not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination. They have solid pitching, solid hitting and a few key playmakers in their batting order, the issue so far is that this s a team that has not yet adopted that winning mentality. Tonight we believe they almost have to. Already sitting at 3rd place within their competitive division, a loss tonight would drop the Tigers to below a .500 record; a place where this team is not used to being. In order for them to remain in the WildCard hunt and head into the All-Star break with some momentum, they are going to need to start winning games and we believe that starts tonight.  

The Tigers actually should find themselves in a fairly favorable spot tonight as the Blue Jays are coming off a somewhat shocking series loss to the Boston Red Sox. Last night the Jays were completely embarrassed at the Rodgers Center as the Sox jumped on them early and often, with SP Matt Boyd giving up 7 earned runs in the first inning without even retiring a single batter! John Gibbons had to go to his bullpen for all 27 outs! Toronto used 7 different pitchers from the pen to get through last night’s game and still managed to come out with the loss. We wouldn't be surprised if last night’s game has a lingering effect when they step on the field tonight. 

With their bullpen being completely blown out and likely fatigued tonight, Gibbons will be hoping for a quality start from Drew Hutchison. Hutchison, in our opinion has been one of the luckiest pitchers in all of the Majors this season. He has a very impressive 8-1 overall record this season, but he also has an ERA of nearly 5.00! That is simply incredible that this pitcher can continue to give up not only runs, but a lot of runs and because he is backed by a potent offense, he has been bailed out time and time again. That has been the calling card of this Jays pitching staff all season long. They do not have a true "Ace" as most teams do; they are relied on by the potency of their offense to mask the inefficiencies of both the SP and Bullpen rotation. When the Jays offense isn't clicking, it has been hard for them to win ball games. At some point, Hutchison will not receive the support he needs and will be made to pay for his mistakes. Detroit Tigers lead MLB in batting average (.275)! They also get on bases more than any other club in the Majors and rank #1 in OBP! Hutchison could find himself in trouble early in this contest. 

For the Tigers, Anibal Sanchez has in fact pitched better than him this season and yet is 6-7 on the year. He has better WHIP and ERA than his counterpart and yet hasn't been given the ample run support that Hutchison has received. That can change tonight. Sanchez got off to a rough start this season but has been pitching much better recently and has turned his season around. He is 3-0 in his last four starts with a stellar 2.05 ERA in that span. We expect that he will be the pitcher who has the better outing tonight as he outduels his counterpart on the mound. We believe Sanchez will get to 7-7 while Hutchison will drop to 8-2 once this game is said and done. Sanchez has tossed at least seven innings in each of his last six outings and 4 of those were quality starts while Hutchison on the other hand hasn't lasted more than 6 innings this season. Toronto 1st baseman Justin Smoak is hitless in 9 at-bats against Sanchez and he hasn't taken a walk either. Meanwhile Detroit's Yoenis Cespedes has absolutely destroyed Hutchison in his career. 

The Blue Jays are a club that has not had the most success this season in closely contested game. They have had the luxury of blowing out their opponents but Detroit is a team that can turn this game into a dogfight and keep things close on the scoreboard. The Jays are 9-16 in games decided by 1 run this season and that has been their Achilles heel. They are a good team but don't have that winning mentality until they get a couple of 'narrow' wins. Until that happens, they can't be trusted and won't have that character defending confidence that true contenders have.

Meanwhile Miguel Cabrera and the Tigers aren't going to lose confidence just because of their recent cold streak and yet at the same time having dropped 3 in a row at home and in danger of having their season derailed, they will put on an inspired effort. They know that their fans are expecting more. Being 6 games behind KC Royals and not in one of the two Wild Card spots, they know that they can't continue to waste time and games. They need to start winning now. This is a short price to back a solid and hungry team at home on a Friday night when they'll want to give their fans something to cheer about after being swept by the Bucs.

Toronto catchers have allowed 19 passed balls this season which is by far the highest in the Majors! With the Tigers being a team that gets on base as often as they do, those passed balls could allow runners into scoring position and be converted into runs. That is a huge overlooked advantage that Detroit should have in this contest. The Tigers are also the better fielding club since they have 75 double plays on the season, less errors and have also prevented more runners from stealing bases. It's these slight edges on the Tigers that make us believe they win this game. The Tigers are a bit more fundamentally sound and although their current record doesn't show it, they are a good ball club. Having won only one of the last 5 games in which they've hosted against their north of the border rivals, Detroit will certainly be looking to beat Toronto.

The Blue Jays aren't likely to win this game. Clubs that have a starting pitcher with a winning percentage of 70% or greater and yet find themselves installed as road underdogs have been terrible historically, going on to lose 39 of 50 games over the last 5 seasons! Vegas and sharps know that but the average sports bettor does not. Brad Ausmus and his club have numerous advantages in this contest and should make them count.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Detroit is 40-27 on Friday nights over the last 3 seasons.
  • Tigers are 22-14 after 3 or more consecutive losses over the last 3 years.
  • Drew Hutchison has an 8.92 ERA and a WHIP of nearly 2 in eight road starts this year!

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