The ALDS between the favored Blue Jays and underdog Rangers comes down to one game, Wedneday afternoon in Toronto. Which way are we betting this contest?
Rangers-Blue Jays ALDS Game 5 Odds
As of early Wednesday morning the best MLB odds we could find on Toronto with Marcus Stroman was the -175 offered at Youwager, while Texas with Cole Hamels was getting +170 at Bovada. The Jays could also be played getting +116 on the run line at Pinnacle.
These teams have split the first four games of this best-of-five ALDS, each winning twice on the others' home field. Texas took Games 1 and 2 in Toronto last week, while the Blue Jays won in Arlington Sunday and Monday.
Toronto leads the Rangers in runs this series 20-16.
The Blue Jays also lead the season series with Texas six games to four, with the OVERS going 5-4-1.
Toronto began this series as a -235 favorite to win it, while the Rangers were lined as +195 underdogs.
Game 5's Starters
This pitching match-up is a rematch of Game 2 of this series, a 6-4 Texas 14-inning victory.
Stroman (4-0, 2.12) tossed seven innings in last Friday's contest, allowing three runs through the first two innings, then settling down and pitching into the eighth. For the day Stroman allowed four runs – three earned – on only five hits and two walks, striking out five, throwing 59 of 93 pitches for strikes.
On the season, which for Stroman didn't begin until a few weeks ago, as he recovered from a torn knee suffered in spring training, Toronto is 4-1 in games he's started, with the totals leaning OVER by a 3-2 margin, mainly thanks to some good run support.
Over two career starts against Texas Stroman has allowed just three ER and nine hits through 14 innings.
Hamels (13-8, 3.65) also gave up three runs through the first two innings last Friday, and one more in the fifth, but he pitched seven full innings, allowed four runs – only two earned – and six hits, walked none and struck out six. He did, however, also throw 114 pitches.
Texas is now 11-2 in Hamels' starts since he came over in that trade with the Phillies, with the OVERS going 9-3, thanks in large part to, again, good run support.
So in two starts against the Blue Jays over the last two seasons, the other coming in May of 2014 while he was with Philly, Hamels allowed seven runs and 16 hits through 13 innings.
Game 5 Batting Splits
Texas ranked third in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .328 team on-base percentage, and eighth with a .414 team slugging percentage.
Toronto, on the other hand, ranked No. 1 against left-handed pitching with both a .354 team OBP and a .463 team slugging percentage.
We gotta give a slight edge with the sticks to the Blue Jays.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Rogers Centre this season skewed UNDER by a 46-31 margin, even though they averaged a healthy 9.2 runs per. But when the totals are posted at 9.5 much of the time, you're going to get a lot of UNDERS.
Texas 3B Adrian Beltre tweaked his back in Game 1 of this series, missed Games 2 and 3, then went 2-for-4 at the plate in Game 4. But a back is a tricky thing, and we're guessing he's not anywhere near 100 percent.
ALDS Game 5 Free Picks
We give Toronto the check-marks in the pitching match-up, with the sticks and in the bullpen comparison. So for our free MLB pick we'll go with the home team to take this fifth and deciding ALDS game.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays -168 at 5Dimes