MLB Odds & Picks for Blue Jays vs. Cardinals: Why to Target Monday’s Total
Cole Burston/Getty Images. Pictured: Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher José Berríos.
- The Toronto Blue Jays take on the St. Louis Cardinals in Monday's MLB action.
- The Cardinals are slight moneyline favorites, but analyst Michael Arinze has found betting value on the over/under.
- Check out below which side of the total he has landed on.
Blue Jays vs. Cardinals Odds
|Blue Jays Odds||+100|
|Over/Under||7.5 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||7:45 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Fresh off a three-game sweep on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the St. Louis Cardinals return home to face the Toronto Blue Jays in a two-game series. José Berríos will get the start for Toronto, while St. Louis counters with Miles Mikolas.
This is a fascinating matchup to handicap for two reasons. For one, it’s an interleague series. And second, the Cardinals are coming off an impressive 18-run performance in Sunday’s victory.
So, will we see more fireworks and runs scored in this meeting? Let’s take a look.
Toronto Blue Jays
At 22-19, the Blue Jays are seven games out of first place in the AL East, but game ahead for the third and final wild-card spot.
While Toronto is clearly behind its projected win total of 91 games, it did recover from a slow start to finish 45-29 in the second half of last season, only to miss out on the wild card by a game.
The Blue Jays finished the year averaging 5.2 runs per game while racking up a +183 run differential. This season, Toronto is averaging just 3.59 runs per game, and its run differential is -10. Its wRC+ value is below-average at 95 compared to last year’s mark of 112.
One area the Blue Jays have improved in is their pitching. Their team ERA is down from 3.91 to 3.59 this year. And the combination of good pitching and a struggling offense is why Toronto has been very profitable for under bettors with a 26-13-2 (+10.99 units) mark.
However, Berríos is a pitcher who hasn’t yielded similar results for under bettors. In eight starts, he’s 3-2 with a 4.83 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP.
Before pitching seven shutout innings against the Mariners in his last outing, Berríos allowed 11 runs in nine innings of work against the Guardians and Yankees. There’s no question that he’s been hit-or-miss this season, and I’m not sure I can trust him to slow down this red-hot Cardinals offense.
Berríos’ pitch arsenal includes a four-seamer (35.3%), a slider (30.5%), a sinker (22.6%), and a changeup (11.5%). Although FanGraphs rates his sinker (+3.9 runs) and slider (+0.9 runs) as above average, St. Louis has had success against those pitches. This season, the Cardinals’ offense is above average against the slider (+2.0 runs) and the sinker (+0.7 runs).
St. Louis Cardinals
Mikolas might be the major’s biggest surprise, given his 3-2 record with a 1.68 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP. For example, his ERA is almost two runs lower than his career mark (3.67). Last year, he finished with a 4.55 SIERA, so he’s undoubtedly outperforming his year-over-year projection.
I’ll be honest in that I do have a bit of bias against Mikolas because I’ve never thought he had great stuff, to begin with. Perhaps I’m a bit worn out with his attempt at a Jack Morris-style mustache, but I digress.
I expect we’ll soon see some regression from Mikolas, given his 3.66 xFIP and 2.76 xERA. I’m struggling to see how he can maintain this success, given he doesn’t overpower hitters. He’s only striking out 6.70 batters per nine innings.
It’s not as if Mikolas is inducing a ton of ground balls to be effective. His 1.44 GB/FB ratio isn’t necessarily elite. Mikolas’s style is about guile and keeping hitters off-balance with his five-pitch arsenal. That’s why opposing hitters have just a 4.1% barrel rate against him, which is a career best.
According to Baseball Savant, his pitch mix includes a slider (29.6%), sinker (24.7%), curveball (20.2%), four-seamer (18.6%) and changeup (6.9%). Therefore, he pitches backward and uses an off-speed slider as his dominant pitch.
Interestingly, he’s never featured his slider as much as he has this season. His previous high was 25.7% in 2018, and he finished the year 23.6 runs above average with the pitch. Thus, he might be on to something by deciding to throw the pitch more frequently. Per FanGraphs, his slider is currently 5.9 runs above average this year.
Blue Jays-Cardinals Pick
I’m conflicted with this game, because my model is projecting 7.41 combined runs, which is right around the total of 7.5 runs across the market.
While the Blue Jays enter into the contest on an 8-0 run to the under, I can’t overlook this Cardinals offense that ranks sixth with a wRC+ value of 112.
St. Louis is averaging 5.1 runs at home, and the over is 11-6-1 for 4.35 units. Lastly, this situational spot does call for some runs as home teams with an opening total of 8 or more runs, in a non-divisional game after scoring at least 18 runs, are 22-9-3 to the over for 12.47 units.
Hopefully, you know by now that I don’t trust either of these pitchers. As a result, I can only lean to the over in this spot. I plan to use this game as more of a fact-finding mission on Mikolas.
After all, perhaps it’s time I finally move past this bias I have for him.
Lean: Total Over 7.5 Runs
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