The early MLB season has brought excitement and intrigue as several teams have been defying expectations. One of the best aspects of baseball is the randomness and ability for one team to fulfill their destiny by simply getting hot at the right time. Both the Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays are hoping this is their year. Let’s see if we can find the value in this one for our MLB Picks.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Toronto Blue Jays
Thursday, April 08, 2021 – 07:07 PM EDT at TD Ballpark
Los Angeles has won four of their six home games and embark on their first road trip of the year. Griffin Canning, coming off a decent 2020 campaign where he established himself as a lower-end starter, takes the mound in hopes of keeping the Blue Jays' offense cool. This is his first start of the year.
Last year had its ups and downs for Canning. He allowed almost a hit per inning, and half a run per inning pitched. His walk rate correlated with his runs allowed, making him a frustrating pitcher when his control was off. But the fire was there to stick with him, as he averaged a strikeout per inning.
He's a talented starter who can vary his pitches and confuse hitters when he's on mark. The fact he allowed just eight home runs after surrendering 14 as a rookie is a sign of growth. He's a proven power pitcher with upside to be dominant for small stretches, so keep that in mind when looking at the MLB betting lines.
The Blue Jays have the firepower to make him pay for mistakes but haven't put it all together yet this season. They're averaging just under 3.5 runs per game despite having talent to be a top-five offense. They'll rebound over the course of the season but this slow start has been a slog.
The good news is they're still at 3-3 despite the batters being icy cold. Allowing just 3.29 runs per game, their pitching has picked up some of the slack. But it's been a bit lucky since all of their metrics are around league average besides runs allowed.
Veteran Ross Stripling needs to have a great bounceback outing to score this win. He allowed three runs in just three innings against the Yankees, continuing a rough stretch of play with Toronto. He's in a make-or-break season after starting his decline in 2020 with the Dodgers.
His biggest issue is leaving pitches floating across the plate. Hitters must withstand his good stretches just long enough to get the opportunity they want, and he's been giving plenty over his last 50 or so innings. Injuries have affected where he wins and his consistency, but the Blue Jays can't afford him to be the weak link. He's already an upgradable piece for a team with championship aspirations.
The Angles' offense has been a force thus far, ranking in the top-10 of every metric. Their cutdown on strikeouts has been a stark difference for the unit. More balls are in play, and the randomness of this occurrence is making this team more legitimate.
Like last year, the pitching will determine the upside of the team. Injuries sunk what appeared to be a solid threat to make the playoffs. The Angels retooled and have a nice roster for 2021.
We're going to take the value on the Angels since they've simply played better. Stripling has been completely untrustworthy for too long, whereas Canning was a consistent bet for us in 2020. With a 1.5-run line being poor value, we'll take the overall moneyline at betting sites for the Angels win. Betting on the Blue Jays would be more based on their projected talent than actual play we've seen thus far.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.