The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays meet for the first time this season, opening a three-game series at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, so here’s the best MLB betting pick for Friday, April 23, 2021.
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the Rays are -147 moneyline favorites with a total of 7.0 runs. Tampa has won eight of its last 11 contests against Toronto including a couple of games in the 2020 American League Wild Card Series.
The Blue Jays continue a nine-game road trip
The Toronto Blue Jays just split a two-game series against the Boston Red Sox on the road. They are coming off a 6-3 victory at Fenway Park, snapping a three-game losing streak and improving to 8-10 on the young season.
The Blue Jays are scoring 4.11 runs per game (19th in the MLB) while surrendering 3.56 in a return (5th). They rank 18th in batting average (.228) and 23rd in slugging percentage (.369). Toronto is still without George Springer (oblique) and Teoscar Hernandez (COVID-19), and Springer could return for Saturday’s middle contest against Tampa.
Steven Matz will toe the slab Friday, looking to extend his perfect season. The 29-year-old lefty has been victorious in each of his first three starts this term, sporting a 1.47 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, and 18/6 K/BB ratio through 18.1 innings of work. Matz is 0-1 with a 2.45 ERA in one career start and one relief appearance against Tampa.
The Rays open a ten-game homestand
The Tampa Bay Rays put an end to a five-game winning streak last Wednesday, suffering a 9-8 defeat in the closing contest of a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals on the road. They are now 10-9 on the season, sitting at the second spot of the AL East standings, 1.5 games ahead of Toronto and Baltimore.
The Rays are tallying 4.95 runs per game (5th in the majors) on a .237/.318/.716 slash line. They are 13th in baseball in batting average and 12th in slugging percentage. On the other side of the ball, the Rays are yielding a whopping 5.16 runs per contest (29th in the majors).
Tyler Glasnow will take the mound for Tampa on Friday, looking for another strong performance. The 27-year-old right-hander is 2-0 in four starts this season, posting a terrific 0.73 ERA, 0.65 WHIP, and 36/7 K/BB ratio through 24.2 frames of work. Glasnow is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in six career starts against the Blue Jays.
- 3-8 in the last 11 games against Tampa Bay
- 5-1 in the last six games overall
- 4-1 in the last five home games against Toronto
Tyler Glasnow has been outstanding thus far, torturing his opponents in each of his four starts. Despite his poor record against Toronto, I’m looking for Glasnow to finally put on a solid display against the Blue Jays and help his team grab a win.
Steven Matz has been excellent, too. However, he hasn’t met a top-notch lineup, and the Rays’ bats look sharp early in the season. Therefore, I’m backing the hosts to win straight up.
Pick: Take Tampa Bay Rays at -147
The over is 7-3-1 in the last 11 encounters between the Blue Jays and Rays, and I would stick with this betting trend despite the fact that both starting pitchers have been terrific so far. The line is set pretty low, and just one bad frame could help this clash go in the over.
Furthermore, the Blue Jays’ bullpen owns the second-best ERA in baseball (2.30), while the Rays’ relievers are 26th in the majors with a 5.40 ERA. None of these two is sustainable, so I’m going with the over.
Pick: Go over 7.0 runs at -110