Historical Trends Provide Profitable MLB Pick On Jays vs. A's

Friday, April 22, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

A pair of second place clubs collide Friday in Toronto where the Blue Jays and Athletics will battle for three games, and we've got a free MLB pick on the total in Game 1.

It is said that second place is for losers, which might sound a bit harsh to some of the folks in today's 'everyone gets a trophy' world. That makes this weekend's series in Toronto between the Blue Jays and Oakland Athletics a matchup of losers.

The two clubs get things going Friday night at Rogers Centre with a 7:07 PM (ET) first pitch, and the initial mound matchup pits a pair of arms that are anything but losers. Sonny Gray is slated for Oakland with Aaron Sanchez leading the set off for Toronto, and we'll try not to make ourselves losers against the MLB odds that show the Blue Jays favored on a -135 moneyline at Pinnacle. Scoreboard bettors have a decision to make on an 8 run total that leans to the high side.

Both teams reach the third weekend of the 2016 fixture in hot pursuit of their respective division leaders. The A's are a game behind Texas in the AL Westand will look to extend their perfect 6-0 road record in this series. Toronto has dropped a couple in a row to fall into a 3-way tie for second in the AL East, 3½ behind Baltimore.


Will Jays Give Sanchez Enough Support?
Bob Melvin brings his squad north of the border for the middle set of a 3-city road trip that started this week in New York. Oakland just finished sweeping the Yankees in the Bronx to run its win streak to five, the Athletics now second in the AL with a 2.69 ERA.

Gray has three quality starts already under his belt, each of his assignments so far taking place at home with wins over the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals plus a loss to the Los Angeles Angels. The former Vanderbilt standout was solid last weekend vs. a pesky Royals lineup, allowing just two runs (1 earned) during his six innings of action that included six punch outs. He has faced the Blue Jays three times before with pretty fair results showing in his 2.25 ERA over the course of 20 frames. Gray's only appearance on this mound came in his 2013 rookie season and his first major league start, the righthander taking a 5-4 loss thanks in part to two unearned runs and a Jose Bautista 1st-inning tater.

The Blue Jays return home following a 7-game road through Boston and Baltimore, Toronto splitting a 4-game set at Fenway before dropping the series with the Orioles. Their powerful offense has yet to really get it in gear, failing to eclipse the 5-run mark in a single game for more than a week now and sitting just below the AL average scoring 3.9 RPG.

A 1st-round pick out of high school in 2010, Sanchez started showing signs of his potential during spring training when he was the most effective Toronto starter with a 1.35 ERA and 19/3 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 20 innings. He owns that same 1.35 ERA through three regular season starts, pitching well enough to have won each game only for his offense to sleep through two of the contests. His only experience vs. the A's has come as a reliever, Sanchez working two scoreless frames and whiffing two without a walk.

'Under' A Big Winner In Recent Meetings
Oakland has the all-time lead in the series, but Toronto won five of six and year ago and has taken six in a row at home. The best wager the past few seasons when these clubs collide has been the 'under,' 10 of the last 12 between the Jays and A's failing to reach the totals.

With a retractable roof in Toronto, we're not really worried about rain tonight or for the rest of the series. There isn't any wet stuff in the forecast, but the game won't be played under the stars since we're looking at a temp in the low-50s, upper-40s for first pitch. I like Gray and the A's, but will go with a play on the 'under' for my free MLB pick.

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Free MLB Pick: Blue Jays Under 8 +100
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

Season: 13-8 (+6.40)