MLB Odds & Picks for Nationals vs. Blue Jays: Max Scherzer Can Quiet Toronto’s Offense (Tuesday, April 27)

MLB Odds & Picks for Nationals vs. Blue Jays: Max Scherzer Can Quiet Toronto’s Offense (Tuesday, April 27) article feature image
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Randy Litzinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Max Scherzer

Nationals vs. Blue Jays Odds

Nationals Odds -145
Blue Jays Odds +133
Over/Under 8.5
Time 7:07 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Monday and via PointsBet.

A resurgent Max Scherzer has been tasked with carrying the Washington Nationals pitching rotation, while Trent Thornton is opening games for Toronto because somebody has to. The two have had different paths to get where they are for this game, but both have had success in their roles.

One thing is also certain: regression will happen to varying degrees for Scherzer and Thornton. Just not for both and not in this game. The Nationals and Blue Jays have ridden the struggle bus for the first month of the season, and it is difficult to see it changing Tuesday.

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Washington Nationals

Max Scherzer has pitched as well as one could expect this season. His ERA is down, the strikeouts are plentiful, and his Home Run Rate is at his career average. The issues? He is walking one less batter than his career average, he has a career-low .200 BABIP his Expected ERA (xERA) and Expected Fielder Independent Pitching (xFIP) are at least 1.10 runs higher than his 1.80 ERA, his has lost 1 mph off his fastball, and the Nationals offense is 27th in Offensive WAR.

Scherzer can go into his start against the Blue Jays knowing their offense is not anywhere it was projected to be and the defense behind him can make up for his mistakes.

Toronto is 20th in Offensive WAR and outside of baserunning (3.0 BsR, T-1st in baseball), does nothing better or worse than the Nationals. The Blue Jays do not have the comforts of home in Toronto due to COVID-19 travel regulations – a dome where their roster’s untapped power can excel.

The difference comes down to Scherzer being a more trustworthy option with a sterling track record.

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Toronto Blue Jays

This is Thornton’s second open in a row after starting the season in the bullpen. He has not allowed a run in four straight appearances but is also not expected to pitch with the Blue Jays defense behind him for long. As of Monday, the Detroit Tigers are the only team with a worse Defensive WAR than Toronto.

For what it is worth, the Blue Jays have won only two of the five games Thornton has appeared in, and they lost his opener appearance against Boston.

Toronto’s bullpen has been good despite a deluge of injuries. It recently got Tyler Chatwood and Jordan Romano back from IL stints, and Chatwood is the perfect pitcher to follow Thornton since he can pitch multiple innings.

A strong bullpen day coming off a day of rest for Toronto’s relievers is about as good of an outcome as one can expect while dueling Max Scherzer.

Nationals-Blue Jays Pick

A lot of variable could make this game ugly to watch – errors, mass strikeouts, poor swings – which is why betting under 8.5 runs is where I am going.

If Scherzer was pitching against a team such as the Dodgers, Red Sox, White Sox, or Reds, I would shy from the total. The Blue Jays are nowhere near those offenses and are prone to inconsistent scoring.

I also have zero expectations after being shut out three times last week, scoring 15 runs over six contests.

Pick: Total Runs Under 8.5 (-109, bet to -130)

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