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MLB Odds, Picks for Tigers vs. Blue Jays: Thursday’s Betting Value on Underdog

MLB Odds, Picks for Tigers vs. Blue Jays: Thursday’s Betting Value on Underdog article feature image

Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Miguel Cabrera.

  • The Detroit Tigers travel north of the border to take on the Toronto Blue Jays in an American League showdown.
  • The Tigers enter as big underdogs, but there may be betting value on them considering the pitching matchup.
  • Doug Ziefel breaks it down below and shares his best bet for Tigers vs. Blue Jays.

Tigers vs. Blue Jays Odds

Tigers Odds+190
Blue Jays Odds-225
Time7:07 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Detroit Tigers have made the trip up north, as they’re set to kick off this series with the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays.

While this may appear to be a massive mismatch on paper, we must remember that baseball is a game of failure and that failure is the great equalizer between clubs.

Tyler Alexander will take the mound for Detroit in this one. This will be his fifth start of the year and his first since April. Alexander has been substantially more successful out of the bullpen than in the rotation. However, he’s capable of going multiple innings, so he’s not your typical opener.

Making his first start since July 5 is Yusei Kikuchi, who was on the shelf with a neck strain. His return is a very welcome site for Toronto, as it’s needed a left-handed starter.

However, the big question is, which version of Kikuchi will we see in this one?

Even Tigers Should Hit Kikuchi

There’s no sugarcoating it. Detroit has been dreadful at the plate this season. It enters this matchup last in wRC+ and ISO. The Tigers also have the second-lowest team batting average and wOBA.

However, they say good pitching will beat good hitting, but when it’s bad hitting against bad pitching, the hitters will have the edge.

Yusei Kikuchi is the sight the Tigers need. He makes his return ranking in the bottom 1% of all qualified pitchers in average exit velocity, hard-hit rate, xwOBA, xERA and barrel rate. None of his other underlying metrics are above the seventh percentile either.

Righties have crushed Kikucki this season. They’re hitting .270 with a .399 wOBA, and Kikuchi holds a 6.26 FIP against them.

Detroit does have some righties who could do damage against Kikuchi. Javy Baez and Eric Haase excel against left-handed pitching, and Miguel Cabrera and Willi Castro — who have been two of the Tigers’ better hitters this season — will also have the matchup edge.

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Detroit Could Stifle Jays with Bullpen Game

As mentioned, Detroit should have no shot on paper, especially against this daunting Blue Jays lineup. However, the Tigers have plenty of quality arms that will give Toronto different looks.

Alexander will likely go three innings at most in this one, and that will be Toronto’s primary opportunity to strike.

Alexander has been an enigma. He’s been exponentially better out of the bullpen, which is shown through his underlying stats. He ranks in the top 15% in average exit velocity allowed, but he also ranks in the bottom 20% in every expected stat and strikeout rate.

If Alexander can work through the trouble and contain the Jays, that’s where this game gets interesting.

Alex Lange will be a middle-inning option, and he’s been outstanding this year. He holds an xBA of .201 and a strikeout rate over 30%. After him, the Tigers could turn to any combination of Jose Cisnero, Joe Jimenez, Michael Fulmer or Andrew Chafin in the later innings. All of them have near-elite xwOBAs and great stuff to keep the Jays off balance.

Toronto may be a top-five offense, but the barrage of excellent relievers out of the Detroit pen is more than enough to give it fits all night long.

Tigers-Blue Jays Pick

This game is dependent on how the first three innings go. Given the matchups on both sides, that’s where both lineups will have the opportunity to strike against the starters.

If the Tigers can get ahead by the fourth inning, we’ll be feeling pretty good when that Detroit bullpen door opens.

That formula makes the Tigers far more live in this one than their price indicates, so be sure to shop around and take the best price you can find.

Pick: Tigers ML +195

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