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May 4, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take Toronto Blue Jays (-180) on the ML against Texas Rangers risking 5.4% to win 3%.
(Lewis must start for Texas for wager to have action)

This is the 3rd game of a 4-game series between these two AL clubs. Texas managed to take the opening contest in the series by a 2-1 score on Monday night. Last night however, playing behind the entire game, the Blue Jays rallied in the bottom of the 9th. Down 1-2 in the count, Justin Smoak crushed a solo shot to keep the Jays hopes alive and send the game to extra innings. In the bottom of the 10th, Smoak again stepped to the plate and took the first pitch yard for a 2 run shot to give his team the victory.

The momentum that the Blue Jays gained last night should carry over into this contest. Toronto has one of the most potent offenses in the league with nearly every batter possessing the ability to send the ball out of the park. That will likely not bode well for Colby Lewis tonight, who gets the start for the Rangers. Lewis has pitched well to start the season however there are things about him that make this a bad matchup. Lewis is a "strike" pitcher. He likes to throw a lot of strikes and that leaves his pitches vulnerable to hang over the plate. This is a big reason why he currently leads the league is homeruns (7) this early in the season. If he flirts too much with the strike zone, any number of Toronto bats will likely make him pay. He also hasn't had much success against the Jays in his career. This will be his 11th start against Toronto and he's gone just 3-6 with a 6.97 ERA and a 1.684 WHIP over 51.2 innings of work.

Aaron Sanchez will take the mound for his sixth start of the season tonight. He has pitched well in the early going and is 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA and a 1.149 WHIP over 31.1 innings of work. He was near flawless in his most recent start against the Tampa Bay Rays as he threw seven scoreless innings, allowing just 6 hits with 6 strikeouts. He has also shown to be comfortable in this venue as he has made 36 career appearances (8 starts) at the Rogers Centre and has a 2.85 ERA and 1.098 WHIP over a span of 82 innings of work! To say that we believe Toronto will have a pitching edge in this contest would be an understatement.

Other than the starting pitchers in this contest, we also believe the bats of Toronto should hold an advantage over the Rangers' bullpen as well. After just two games of the series, Toronto has seen all the relievers that the Rangers have. Between last night's game when Martin Perez lasted just 5 innings and the day before, they've seen everything the Rangers bullpen will throw at them and that only further increases their chances for success late in the game. Couple that with the fact that Texas closer, Shawn Tolleson managed to blow the save last night on a 1-2 count so his confidence is likely shaky at best.

There is no question the Toronto offense had been feeling the pressure heading into this season and the fact that they have been somewhat of a disappointment early on had to be weighing on them. A number of 1 run losses could not have helped matter so the fact that last night they got a walk-off win of their own will likely do wonders for their confidence now that the proverbial monkey is off their back. Tonight they should be able to simply enjoy the home field advantage and all of the perks (hitter friendly park) that goes with it. Texas is also "due" to make a couple of mistakes as they have gone 10 games without making a single error. We wouldn't be surprised if they made one (or a couple) tonight that alter the outcome of the game. Toronto is a heavy favorite, but we also believe this price tag is warranted and arguably could have been set even higher! Getting them at this line does show value and we expect them to come away with a comfortable victory tonight.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Blue Jays are 13-5 in their last 18 vs. American League West!
  • Blue Jays are 40-20 in their last 60 home games vs. a right-handed starter!
  • Blue Jays are 14-4 over the last 3 seasons as a -175 to -200 favorite!
  • Blue Jays have won 50 of 80 games at home over the last 3 years when the total is 9 or 9.5 runs!

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