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Royals vs Blue Jays Picks, Odds, Predictions | MLB Betting Preview

Royals vs Blue Jays Picks, Odds, Predictions | MLB Betting Preview article feature image

Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Greinke.

  • The Royals host the Blue Jays in the last game on MLB's Wednesday slate.
  • Toronto's offense has been mashing this season and our expert expects that trend to continue.
  • Nicholas Martin previews the game and offers up his best bet for Blue Jays vs Royals below.

Blue Jays vs. Royals Odds

Wednesday, April 5
7:40 p.m. ET
Blue Jays Odds
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Royals Odds
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Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The first time through the rotation was a disaster for the Toronto Blue Jays, who saw three of their five starters perform poorly in their first starts of 2023. That included ace Alek Manoah, who gave up five earned runs over 3 1/3 innings against St. Louis after a concerning spring.

Zack Greinke’s 39-year-old season started steadily against the Twins. The former American League Cy Young Award winner gave up two earned runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto’s lineup projects to be among the best in baseball in 2023, and its small stumble since a 10-run opening day seems to be nothing more than a spell of dreadful variance.

The Blue Jays own an MLB-leading 44.3% hard-hit rate, and they have the third most hits in the league (53).

However, Toronto has slugged just .269 and batted .231 in 52 plate appearances with runners in scoring position. That alarmingly low mark is hiding what has otherwise been an extremely sound process at the plate. It seems likely that the Blue Jays’ star-studded lineup breaks out soon.

Toronto hit to a 118 wRC+ against right-handed pitching last season and projects to be among the top five lineups against righties in 2023.

The greater concern for Toronto moving forwards is clearly the starting rotation, as Manoah, Jose Berrios and Chris Bassitt all had disastrous season openers.

One outing may not mean much, but Manoah in particular is displaying some signs of a potential letdown campaign.  As Anthony Dabbundo noted here,  Manoah’s stuff rated worse throughout the spring.

Therefore, getting absolutely crushed on Opening Day becomes more of a concern. Manoah pitched to a Quality of Pitch Average (QOPA) average of just 4.24 in that outing. He did average past 94 with his fastball and sinker with higher spin rate averages than a season ago, though, which does make the case he was keeping something in reserve in Spring Training appearances.

Kansas City Royals

As you would expect for a pitcher hanging around the big leagues for 20 seasons, Greinke has had to continue to work and refine his game as his velocity dips. He threw more curveballs than any other pitch on opening day, in an effort to help hide what has become a very modest fastball.

In 2022, Greinke pitched to a 3.68 ERA, which was more than a whole run below his xERA of 4.78. He struck out just 12.8% of batters faced and had a hard-hit rate of 39.6%.

Greinke did debut a new sweeping slider on Opening Day, which generated four whiffs on 10 swings. Whether that will be enough to keep hitters off balance as the league takes notice over a larger sample remains to be seen.

Blue Jays vs. Royals Betting Pick

Toronto’s stacked offense has been crushing the ball as projected, which is evidenced by a league leading hard-hit rate and a healthy share of baserunners. An unsustainable amount of hard-hit balls are not getting down with runners in scoring position, which is hiding a very solid process. A similar process is eventually going to be rewarded with a plethora of runs.

Greinke presents as a well-above-average target, and I’m not sold that his adjustments displayed on Opening Day will remain effective moving forward. Manoah is showing just enough legitimate concern for me to not back him either.

So for this game, I’m going to back the Jays offense to find success today, although it would not be overly surprising to see Manoah pitch significantly better Wednesday.

Toronto is priced at -120 to record over 4.5 runs, which is my favorite play for this game. The best number is at bet365, but FanDuel also has it available at -122.

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