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April 12, 2016

There are 2 picks tonight.

1: Take Toronto Blue Jays (-117) on the Moneyline against NY Yankees risking 3.51% to win 3%.

The Blue Jays lineup intimidates each and every pitcher and is packed with power and speed! This is a team that puts a lot of men on base and has gotten better and better at the running game as well. That puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenses and going up against a Yankees squad that has had not one but two days off, it could spell trouble for Joe Girardi's crew. Starlin Castro for example has had an excellent start to the season with his bat but is an error-prone infielder which is the primary reason he's no longer with the Chicago Cubs! It wouldn't surprise us if he or another Yankee had a miscue or two tonight, allowing Toronto to score unearned runs. This early in the season, players are fresh and don't need extra rest. For New York to have had the last two days off is a negative. The bats who were seeing the ball pretty well before that Sunday night matchup against the Detroit Tigers was postponed could be a bit rusty and need time to get their rhythm back. The Blue Jays meanwhile had only one day of rest (yesterday) which they've often turned into an advantage, going 26-19 over the last three seasons in this particular situation!

Not only the bats and the defense may be rusty, but the same could be said about Masahiro Tanaka who'll get the start. The Japanese hurler is a crafty veteran who may lose this game despite limiting the potent Blue Jay offense as unearned runs may decide the game. Whether he'll have a quality outing or not is a great question itself. He was scheduled to start Sunday's prime-time matchup against Justin Verlander and the Tigers before that game was cancelled due to inclement weather. To have his start pushed back not one but two days is problematic. It means his preparation has been altered and as creatures of habit and routine, pitchers are often frustrated by such changes. Being a veteran, we believe he'll deal with it reasonably well, nonetheless, this is yet another subtle edge that Toronto has in this matchup and one that is overlooked by most.

The Blue Jays lost their opening home series of the season to another AL East rival, Boston Red Sox. As an ambitious club that wants to not only repeat as division champions but make it to the World Series, they need to get on a winning streak. They did take the series finale against the Red Sox by shutting out Boston 3-0 thanks to a Marco Estrada gem! That gives them confidence going into this game and yet currently sitting 4th in the American League East with just a 3-4 record, means they are well aware that there is no room for complacency. This is a team that has high expectations of itself and needs to get a 'W' tonight to pull back to a .500 record. It's worth noting that the Blue Jays have won 10 consecutive games after shutting out their previous opponent! Look for Toronto to start this series with an important win at Rogers Center as they remind the Yankees who the division champs are.

Aaron Sanchez was outstanding in his first start of the season against Tampa but got a no-decision and the bats will want to help him out more than they did on that day in Florida! The Yankees have only ever faced him briefly in a handful of at-bats since he was the 'set-up man' for Toronto last year. Pitching as a reliever means most of the NY bats have very limited experience against him if any and that gives Sanchez an important advantage over them. The hard-throwing Californian really worked on his off-speed pitches this Spring and showed great use for them against the Rays. This could be a closely contested battle but the Blue Jays have several unique advantages and should edge this game. It helps that Josh Donaldson and his excellent defensive skills will be back at 3rd base where as he was the DH in the series against Boston due to carrying an injury. Look for the noisy home crowd to give the Jays momentum just when they need it most.

2: Take NY Mets (-133) on the Moneyline against Miami Marlins risking 3.99% to win 3%.
(Syndergaard must start for wager to have action)

There is a right and a wrong time to back every team and the Mets are a good example of that right now. After costing Joe Public big money over the weekend with the likes of Matt Harvey who was nearly a -300 favorite over the Phillies, their prices have come back down to earth and yet now few are ready to take advantage. They began the season with enormous hype and SPS wisely stayed away until this moment, when for this particular matchup, they are actually being undervalued. The Metropolitans have dropped 3 in a row and are in a great position to bounce back tonight! They can't afford to fall any further behind their NL East rivals and are 20-14 after three or more consecutive losses over the last 3 seasons! Terry Collins' team has a history of elevating its performance when needing to snap out of losing streaks therefore and has an excellent chance to do so again tonight.

Noah Syndergaard will toe the rubber in front of a supportive Citi Field crowd and will prove a tough test for the Miami bats. The Marlins were up against a left-handed pitcher in Steven Matz last night and while they saw the ball very well against him, they will have to make a big shift seeing it come out of the right-handed delivery of Syndergaard. The talented youngster had a breakout season last year and has maturity and poise well beyond his years. The fact that he has World Series experience means he won't be rattled when facing the likes of Giancarlo Stanton and company as many other young pitchers would. He was excellent (especially in NY) last year and started this season with an impressive performance in Kansas City that saw him fan 9 batters on his way to 6 strong innings! Look for him to record another quality start in his second appearance of a season and have a unique advantage up his sleeve. That's because Miami hitters have not seen him before! The fact that they have no prior experience stepping up to the plate against him means they're likely to be baffled in the first couple of orders through the lineup. It'll take them a few at-bats to 'figure him out' and by then the Mets should have the lead. It's also worth noting that the Mets have won 18 of 20 games over the last two seasons when installed in the -125 to -150 home favorite range!

Jose Fernandez is another outstanding talent who much like Syndergaard throws hard and can get the better of hitters. Nonetheless he's hardly been unbeatable away from home where he sports a career 3.78 ERA with just a 5-9 record! Fernandez has good stuff and will start having success in other ball parks but on this occasion, we believe the starting pitching matchup favors the home side. That's because the NY bats have faced him before and that experience should give them a slight boost. They will still have a tough time going up against the talented righty but we believe they'll have more success than Miami will off of the former Toronto prospect, Syndergaard. It also doesn't help that he was rocked in his first outing of the season by the Detroit Tigers which broke his 17-game home winning streak at Marlins Park! His confidence which is a big part of his fearless style of pitching may have taken a hit and translate into another less than stellar outing.

All in all, we believe this could be a relatively low-scoring pitchers' duel that could be tightly contested. However, the Mets will have home field advantage as well as what we believe is the stronger bullpen. If Syndergaard can give them at least 6 innings which is reasonable to expect given his track record, the Mets have the arms to get those final 6-9 outs. Terry Collins and his squad need to snap out of their current losing streak and get back to winning ways and we believe they'll do just as they'll be the team that plays with more urgency and desire. Jacob deGrom will miss his scheduled start tomorrow and that puts even more onus on the home side to win THIS game knowing that Verrett could be starting on the mound tomorrow! Having lost the opener of this 3-game set and knowing they won't have their best arm starting tomorrow means this middle game suddenly becomes even more important to win. They already lost a home series to the lowly Phillies and can't afford to drop another one to the Marlins if they want to win the division again. In order to at least avoid a sweep, the bats will do all they can to give Noah Syndergaard some run support tonight.

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