Capper Picks Blue Jays To Cash On The Road Against Tough Indians Team

Jason Lake

Saturday, August 20, 2016 9:21 PM UTC

Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016 9:21 PM UTC

The AL East-leading Toronto Blue Jays are small road favorites for Saturday's game in Cleveland, but the baseball odds might be overlooking the home side in this matchup.

Doesn't anyone want to win this thing? The American League East division is a three-horse race with 40 games left to go; the Toronto Blue Jays are in first at press time, but they blew a chance to extend their lead Friday night, falling 3-2 to Cleveland after taking a 2-1 lead into the ninth. With the loss, the Blue Jays are barely in the black at 69-53 and +0.39 betting units on the season.

The Tribe, on the other hand, are crushing the AL Central at 70-50 (+7.44 units). Yet they're +105 home dogs on the MLB odds board for Saturday's matchup with Toronto. The starting pitchers might have something to do with it; Aaron Sanchez (3.30 FIP) is scheduled to twirl for the Jays, while Josh Tomlin (4.94 FIP) takes the hill for Cleveland. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. Eastern.

A Short-Term Effect
That looks like a mismatch on paper, but the folks at FiveThirtyEight aren't too impressed. They project the Blue Jays to win Saturday's game 52 percent of the time, the equivalent of –108 on the ever-reliable SBR Betting Odds Converter. Playing at The Jake is supposed to wipe out nearly all of Toronto's pitching advantage in this situation.

FiveThirtyEight's Elo-based projections don't take the short term into account as much as we might like here at the ranch. Tomlin has been quite fortunate this season, getting five runs per game in support from his teammates, and racking up 8.41 units of profit on a team record of 15-7. But here come the regression monsters: Cleveland has lost each of his last three starts, including a pair of meltdowns against the New York Yankees (–110 at home) and Washington Nationals (–122 at home).

Sanchez, meanwhile, is only up 0.35 units despite a team record of 14-9. He's gotten 4.91 runs of support per game, yet the UNDER is still 17-6 in his 23 starts. That would be a lovely MLB pick if Tomlin didn't have the OVER at 13-7-2. Anyway, Sanchez has given up two runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts, so we're inclined to recommend the Jays this time.

Fantasy Corner
But what about my fantasy team?! Both pitchers have done reasonably well against the guys they'll face Saturday; you might want to give Cleveland OF/DH Brandon Guyer (.793 OPS) a speculative add, though. Guyer is only owned in 1.9 percent of ESPN leagues at press time, perhaps because he was forgotten about in Tampa Bay before coming to Cleveland at the trade deadline. He's 2-for-5 lifetime against Sanchez. Michael Brantley (shoulder) is out for the season, so Guyer will be the man in left field moving forward. Go grab him. And when you speak of us, speak well.

Free MLB Pick: Blue Jays (–114)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Record: 20-20 ML, 7-4-1 Totals (+4.11 units)

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