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May 30, 2015 (Posted at 1:00 PM ET)

Sunday's picks will be posted at noon (12:00 PM ET).
 

Take Toronto Blue Jays (-108) on the Money Line against Minnesota Twins risking 3%.
(Sanchez and Gibson must start for wager to have action)

The art of handicapping has a lot to do with breaking down and dissecting matchups, trends, and statistics and so on. Crunching the numbers is a big part of our jobs. There are times however where the numbers simply don't add up and often creates more questions than answers. These are the matchups that we find most interesting and this is what we believe we have today. Looking at the lines we can see that the Twins opened as the favorites and for good reasons. They are a team that has the better overall record. They have a pitcher on the mound that has been statistically better than his counterpart this season and the road / home records of these two teams severely favor the Twins. Despite all of these “advantages” that the Twins should have, the line has shifted away from them. We feel that is a telling sign.

This is a shift that looks eerily similar to that of our play on the Boston Red Sox / Texas Rangers matchup 2 nights ago. On the surface it appeared that the Rangers would have similar advantages that Minnesota would have tonight. The better pitcher, the better record etc., yet the line shifted in favor of the Red Sox. We all saw how that game played out as Boston crushed the Ranger's pitching staff in that game coming away with an easy 5-1 victory. We believe this matchup will likely play out in a very similar fashion. 

Let's not forget, Toronto is not a poor team. This is a ball club whose run differential is +27! Other teams in the league that have a similar run differential have winning records yet the Blue Jays are only 23-27 because they've lost a bunch of games decided by 1-run (much like Oakland).But that won't continue forever and as we saw with our victory with Oakland last night, teams often break that trend once they get a morale-boosting win. Toronto happened to get theirs with last night's victory in Game 1 as they rallied from 4 runs down to pick up the victory! Winning in that fashion should give them confidence to pull out more close games and to not give up. Toronto is by far the highest scoring team in the Majors with 261 runs scored and with an offense and lineup like that which mixes both power and speed, they are never out of a ball game as they displayed yesterday.

Blue Jays may currently have an inferior win-loss record than the Twins but their run differential is in fact better and proves that there isn't as much that separates these two ball clubs as average fan thinks. Twins are a no doubt a solid team and one of the surprise teams of the season, but as usual, we believe the betting public is a bit late to the party and is now trying to jump on the bandwagon at the wrong time. They are now backing them too late when the value isn't there as much and when they are being over-estimated in relation to other teams like Toronto.

Blue Jays got a complete game from their starter Mark Buehrle yesterday while the Twins used 7 different pitchers! The Blue Jays should have a decisive advantage once the starters retire for the night and the bullpens are called in. Also Twins closer Glenn Perkins has yet to record a save against Blue Jays in his career. This is the only franchise he doesn't have a save against and he in fact took the 'loss' in yesterday's game.

As we had mentioned the Blue Jays have an extremely potent lineup and got even more explosive with the additions of both Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin in the off-season. This is a scary lineup for any pitcher to face and with the total on this game being high; it gives the edge to the Blue Jays since very few clubs can survive a shootout against them if it goes that way. 

Even though Aaron Sanchez doesn't have as much big league experience as Kyle Gibson, he may have a slight advantage on the mound given the fact that the Twins lineup has not seen him before. Sanchez was a former first round pick and the rookie is starting to gain confidence in the big leagues. Anxiety was obviously a factor in his first few starts but now off two quality outings, he should head into Target Field with renewed confidence. He does have talent and good stuff and having not seen him before it will likely take the Minnesota bats some time to get comfortable with the timing and delivery that Sanchez brings. If he can get through the first couple of innings this afternoon, it should give him confidence to have an impressive outing.  

Blue Jays come into this game having won 4 of their last 5 games. They have scored 17 runs in their last 3 games and four or more runs in five of their last eight; they have won six straight games when scoring more than three runs. They have quite a bit of momentum backing them in this contest and we expect it to spill over into their play this afternoon. We find it interesting that the Twins have not made a fielding error in their last 8 games! While that is indeed impressive, it is certainly unusual even for the best defensive ball clubs and we don't expect that to continue. With the on-base percentage of the Blue Jays and all the pressure they put on the opposition, we wouldn't be surprised to see 1 or 2 errors from Minnesota in this contest which could be enough to give Toronto the edge. 

Toronto's lineup is versatile where any player is a threat to run or go yard. Every player but Ryan Goins has at least 1 stolen base this season and that makes this squad extremely dangerous! There is a reason why the odds have shifted and why the Blue Jays are now small favorites. Despite obvious stats that the general public has access to pointing toward Minnesota having an advantage, Toronto is the correct side here.

Two other notable facts to consider:

  • Blue Jays have won 19 of their last 25 visits to Minnesota!
  • Blue Jays have scored the highest number of runs (261) in the Majors!
  • Blue Jays are a perfect 11-0 since 2008 if not a big underdog when facing an AL team after a win where they trailed by at least 4 runs! 



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