The Toronto Blue Jays started their highly anticipated 2022 season with the opener of the three-match series against the Texas Rangers on Friday night. Hopefully this piece will help you make a known decision if you decide to scatter a little in the game.
Editor’s note: All betting lines are courtesy of Bet365 and present as of publication time.
Money line: Blue Jess-170 | Rangers +150
Run line: Blue Jess-1.5 (+115) | Rangers +1.5 (-135)
Total: 9.5 – Over (+100) | 9.5 – Low (-120)
Toronto: The 2021 edition of the Blue Jays played home games in Dunedin and Buffalo before coming to the North, but was finally 25-11 with a plus-56 run difference when they finally returned to Rogers Center.
However, the home openers in Toronto have not been very kind lately. If you drop their first game in July last season, the Blue Jays are 1-9 behind their last 10 true openers at Rogers Center and have outscored 45-25 of those nine defeats.
Good news? The Blue Jays have recently taken ownership of the Rangers 6-1 in their last seven meetings in Toronto. Jess was 63-46 (57.7 percent) rock solid as a favorite in 2021 and finished the season 11-4 in their last 15 games as home favorites. Toronto finished 86-76-0 (53.1 percent) against the run line, ranking sixth in baseball, and 42-39-0 (51.9 percent) against the run line as a home team in 2021.
Texas: The Rangers lost 102 games last year but had a wonderful off-season by signing free-agent All-Star middle-fielders Marcus Semion and Corey Cigar. This matchup looks like a tough fight for Texas who finished last season 15-49 in their last 64 road games. The Rangers were a terrible 50-86 (36.7 percent) as an underdog overall and 15-42 (26.3 percent) worse in their last 57 games as a road doggie in 2021. Texas also averaged 74-88-0 (45.7 percent) overall against the run line and as a road team 38-43-0 (46.9 percent) last season.
My picks: I really want to take Blue Jess here, but lately there has been something about Jess laying eggs on the opening day. Jon Gray had his last good against the Jays (I know it was 2019) and Semien’s first return to Toronto forced me to lean towards Texas at the +150 money line here.
Total: A Blue Jays team that boats a lineup of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Beachet, George Springer and Teoscar Hernandez was an under machine last season. Toronto was 84-69-9 (54.9 percent) strong to the Unders in 2021 which was the fourth best in baseball. The Under-13s were also 13-6-4 in Toronto’s last 23 games as home favorites. The Rangers, meanwhile, were 78-74-10 (51.3 per cent) in the over and a healthy 43-35-3 (55.1 per cent) in the over as a road team. Over 5-2 in the last nine meetings in Toronto.
Pitching Matchup: RHP José Berrios (12-9, 3.52 ERA) gets the ball for the Blue Jess while RHP John Gray (8-12, 4.59 ERA) will start for the Rangers. Berrios has started five games in his career against the Rangers and has dropped 16 earned runs and seven home runs in 26.1 innings. His most recent outing was against Texas on June 18 last season with the Twins where Berrios played 6.0 innings and dropped three earned runs in three hits.
Gray has only started two games in his career against the Blue Jays. His last start against Jess while with the Rockies was right-handed. Gray tossed 6.2 innings of a two-hit shotout in a 4-2 win over Colorado in Denver on June 1, 2019.
Player Props: Player total base
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (1.5 – over 100 | 1.5 – over -140)
Guess who led Major League Baseball out of a total of 363 bases in 2021? You guessed it: Guerrero. The Blue Jess Slager has faced Gray in a limited sample size in his career but dropped to .333 / .333 / .667 in three plate appearances against the big right-handed player.
Marcus Semien (1.5 – Over + 110 | 1.5 – Under-150)
Do you know who will be second in total baseball in 2021? Yes, it was Semian. The former Blue J is 2-8 with Homer and 2 RBIs in 11 plate appearances against Berios in his career.
My picks: I think there’s a lot more value in not taking overs for both Guerrero Jr. (over 1.5- + 100’s) and Semien (over 1.5-110’s). Anytime you get No. 1 and No. 2 leader in baseball in total base for plus money, you will accept it even if the line is 1.5.