Noah K. Murray, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Blake Snell
Betting Odds: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Toronto Blue Jays
- Tampa Bay Rays Moneyline: -111
- Toronto Blue Jays Moneyline: +101
- Over/Under: 8.5 (-108/-112)
- First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
Tampa-Toronto is not a game anyone’s going out of their way to put on the television (or their phone, or their tablet). This is a battle to determine once and for all … who can finish third in the AL East.
But that’s one of the best parts about betting on sports, right? One man’s boredom is another man’s thrill ride.
This is a game that stood out to me mostly because the starters aren’t being evaluated correctly in the total.
Blake Snell was one of the randomly compelling stories of the first half of the season, putting up dominant start after dominant start. There was a ton of conversation about whether or not he should have been included on the All-Star team. I think that’s the “average” person’s impression of Snell even to this day.
What’s really been happening, though, is struggle. After throwing just three innings in his final start before the All-Star break, Snell did pitch in the Midsummer Classic, but then was placed retroactively on the DL with some form of shoulder fatigue and inflammation.
This prevented him from making another start until just last week, and his first stint back was shaky at best. He only went four innings (59 pitches), and was given extra time off to recover from this outing.
The likelihood you get a strong performance from Snell is low.
Meanwhile, while Snell has been basically on the shelf, Toronto’s offense has really caught fire after a miserable July. In the first part of August, the Blue Jays are hitting .295 as a team with an OPS over .850.
The bats have woken up, if only temporarily. This is a setup likely to produce runs.
Meanwhile, on the other side, Marco Estrada kind of is what he is at this point: A pitcher who somehow avoided regression projections for a while, but who has really struggled the past couple seasons.
His last start, seven strong innings against Seattle, might have provided some hope, but with a minuscule BABIP and just eight swinging strikes in 93 pitches, it’s really just possible he got insanely lucky.
The way to play this is similar to what I wrote about in yesterday’s piece about the Pirates-Giants game (a bet that won in the last possible moments), and that’s by playing the First 5 Over.
The Bet: First 5 Innings Over 4.5 (-105)