MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions for Blue Jays vs. Yankees
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images. Pictured: Yusei Kikuchi
Blue Jays vs. Yankees Odds
With just weeks left in the season, the Toronto Blue Jays are fighting for their playoff lives. The Jays enter this matchup currently holding the second wild-card spot in the American League.
However, their opponents are technically still in the playoff race as well. The New York Yankees are six games out of a wild card spot, but they are just seven games from elimination.
So, can the Yankees play spoiler down the stretch and steal a game from the Blue Jays? Or is there another angle to take for this matchup?
The Blue Jays may be squarely in the playoff picture, but they are not the same threat that they were last season. The Blue Jays have dropped to 22nd in xWOBACON.
While this lineup has plenty of threats on paper, it is not that deep from a contact metric perspective. Only Matt Chapman, Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette hold above-average exit velocities and hard-hit rates.
Their postseason outlook may not be that bright, but for this matchup, they should find success against Clarke Schmidt. Schmidt has surrendered a great deal of hard contact and was fortunate to escape with just three runs allowed when he faced Toronto back in April.
We go from one lineup that has underachieved to another that has been a flat-out disaster. The Yankees hold the second-lowest team batting average in baseball, and a big reason why is that they are last in BABIP.
New York does not have much behind Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton. The other six spots in the lineup have not made consistent hard contact and, in turn, have failed to provide much run support for a thin starting rotation.
Getting into this matchup, Yusei Kikuchi will benefit from facing this version of the Yankees as he's allowed hard contact, but only when hitters have put the ball in play. Kikuchi is a strike-thrower who has proven he can finish hitters off when getting ahead, and he has the potential to rack up strikeouts against this green Yankees lineup.
New York is 12th in team strikeout rate, and its inability to make Kikuchi work will allow him to work deep into this game.
Blue Jays vs. Yankees
Betting Pick & Prediction
Backing Kikuchi is the strongest angle in this matchup. While he can get into trouble, Kikuchi has the strikeouts to work out of it and give the Jays the length they need more often than not.
He has gone at least five innings in 20 of his 29 starts this season, which gives us implied odds of -222 that he will hit the five-inning mark in this start. Fortunately, Kikuchi's pitching outs prop is set at 14.5, which means he needs to complete five innings to cash the ticket.
What's even better is that there is exceptional line value at the current price, as we know the odds are in our favor here. So, back Kikuchi to work deep into this game.