Join us as we follow the four game series between the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays. Where should you place your MLB picks in each game, and where are the most favorable odds?
Fresh off a series win over the Yankees, the Orioles begin a road trip with four games in Toronto vs. the Blue Jays, and SBR has previews and free picks for the entire series.
Sunday's Game Four
By: Willie Bee
Offense was again en vogue Saturday in Toronto where the Baltimore Orioles grabbed a 2-1 series lead vs. the Blue Jays. The O's will try and leave Canada on a 3-game win streak Sunday afternoon, and a new set of starting pitchers will try and accomplish what the others before them have failed to do.
The fourth and final contest of this set is the first tilt on the Sunday afternoon MLB betting card. Chad Jenkins will get the nod for John Gibbons' Jays while Buck Showalter hands the ball to Miguel Gonzalez in the 1:07 PM (ET) start.
Baltimore is going off as a favorite in the mid-110s at most sports books monitored by SBR's live MLB odds. The total has been pushed up to double-digits for the first time this series at 10 runs.
Compared to the first two games, Baltimore's 6-5 win on Saturday was something of a pitching duel. The Orioles plated three in the first inning for the second straight contest, and Bird relievers staved off Toronto's late comeback attempt. Series totals now stand at 15 homers between the two clubs, all while 45 runs have crossed the pay station.
Jenkins was originally thought to be Gibbons' choice to pitch the series opener Thursday, but instead will make just his second start of the season 14 days after his first. The former 1st-round pick out of Kennesaw State beat the Red Sox in Boston on May 12, working the first five innings and allowing two runs in a 12-4 Jays victory. He has one long relief appearance vs. the O's a year ago, allowing four runs in a little more than three frames.
Gonzalez missed some time earlier this month due to a blister on his pitching hand, but came off the DL Tuesday with a fine performance vs. the Yankees (7 IP, 2 ER), a game the Orioles won with Nate McLouth's walk-off homer in the 10th. The righthander's last win came against the Blue Jays on April 23 when he last six innings while allowing three runs, all on a Edwin Encarnacion blast.
Manny Gonzalez takes his 11th assignment this year calling balls and strikes, with six of the previous 10 skipping past the total. A sunny afternoon with temps in the low-60s could have the roof open at Rogers Centre for the first time this series.
It's tough to go against these offenses right now, so I won't. My play will once again be on the OVER. Another 4-game series drawing to a close Sunday is in Boston where the Red Sox take on the Indians, so slide over and take in our preview and free MLB pick.
My pick: Orioles-Blue Jays Over 10 (-110)
Saturday's Game Three
By: Willie Bee
Another slugfest broke out at Rogers Center Friday night, and this time it was the Baltimore Orioles emerging victorious to even their weekend series at the Toronto Blue Jays.
Given the task of trying to keep both offenses quiet in Saturday's matinee are veteran pitchers Freddy Garcia and RA Dickey. Morning MLB odds have established Dickey and the Blue Jays as favorites as high as -159, with some outlets still pricing them in the -140s. A 9 run total is evenly priced high and low.
The first three batters in Baltimore's lineup came plateward on Friday, thanks to the first of four home runs that helped the O's build a 7-run lead before earning a 10-6 victory. JJ Hardy cracked that first home run, and Toronto added three long balls as well as the clubs have combined for 12 bombs and 34 runs in the first two games.
Friday's early deficit may have led to some frustration on Toronto's part that played a role in manager John Gibbons and 3B Brett Lawrie being ejected in the third inning by plate umpire Dan Bellino. Whether those emotions spill over into today's game remains to be seen. Longtime field arbiter Wally Bell is making his 14th appearance behind the plate in this tilt, seven of the previous 13 never reaching the total and home favorites between -140 and -160 a robust 5-1 to date.
Garcia was on the hill this past Monday in Baltimore and limited the Yankees to just two runs -- both on solo homers -- before leaving the game knotted. New York rallied for a 6-4 win, the third straight loss for the O's with Garcia pitching. He has now allowed six homers in just over 22 innings, and has given up three in his last three appearances at Rogers Centre (16.2 IP).
Dickey has won his last two assignments and will be out to even his record at 5-5 today. Walks were a big factor in his loss to the Orioles in Baltimore a month ago after tossing a 1-hit shutout against them while with the Mets in 2012.
Sunny skies are expected in Toronto this afternoon, but temperatures may not make it out of the 50s and strong NNW gusts over 20 mph are in the forecast, so we expect the roof to be shut.
Let's ride the tide of offense this afternoon and stick with what has worked the first two games with a play on the OVER. One more preview and free pick you'll want to check out is Game 3 of the series in Boston between the Red Sox and Indians.
Friday's Game Two
By: Willie Bee
Thursday night found the Baltimore Orioles sending a young hurler to the mound for his MLB debut, and the Toronto Blue Jays were rather rude hosts in welcoming Kevin Gausman to the big leagues. Will the O's return the favor Friday when the Jays send a pitcher to the hill for his first big league game?
Game 2 gets underway Friday evening a little after seven o'clock when Baltimore sends Chris Tillman to the bump opposite Sean Nolin in his MLB debut for Toronto. MLB odds were initially released with a different matchup on the mound before being corrected. Baltimore backers will lay about -115 and totals bettors are looking at 9 after that figure was bet down a half-run.
Baltimore scored first in Thursday's series opener, but it was Toronto scoring the most in a 12-6 affair. JP Arencibia and Edwin Encarnacion both homered and drove in four runs, and Brandon Morrow collected his second win of the campaign despite allowing three Orioles to go deep.
Tillman has given manager Buck Showalter at least six innings his last six starts, each one a quality effort, yet the Birds lost his past two assignments. He helped Baltimore to victory vs. Toronto a little more than a month ago at Camden Yards, working into the seventh and allowing just one run, and is making his first appearance in Toronto since Sept. 2010.
Chad Jenkins was originally expected to make this start before the Blue Jays decided to call up Nolin. Picked twice by the Brewers and Mariners before the Blue Jays took him in Round 6 of the 2010 amateur draft, the big lefty has been at Double-A New Hampshire of the Eastern League this year, impressing in limited action (15.1 IP, 1.17 ERA, 16:5 K/BB). He can reach the low-90s with his fastball, and is still developing his changeup and a sharp curve.
Check out our Friday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report
Dan Bellino will call the balls and strikes for this one, and brings a 4-6-1 O/U/P record into the contest. Home underdogs have only cashed once in four tries this season with the Chicago native behind the mask. Look for the Rogers Centre roof to be shut for this one with chilly and windy conditions in the Toronto forecast, though skies are expected to be clear this evening.
Toronto is playing better ball right now, and I'm taking a chance with the rookie hurler tonight against the Orioles lineup for my pick. We're also following the Red Sox and Indians series in Boston this weekend, so slide over to catch our preview and free play for Game 2 of that series.
My pick: Blue Jays +105
Thursday's Series Opener
By: Willie Bee
Here we are less than two months into the 2013 MLB betting campaign, and the Baltimore Orioles have already used 10 different starting pitchers, a number that will climb to 11 when they begin a 6-game road at the Toronto Blue Jays.
The first of four at Rogers Centre in Toronto is scheduled for one of those strange 7:07 PM (ET) starts, and Brandon Morrow will throw the initial pitch to crank things up. There will be more attention on Baltimore's starting pitcher, however, after the decision to call up Kevin Gausman to make his major league debut.
MLB odds show Toronto priced around -140, a little lower at some outlets, with a 9.5 run total that leans to the UNDER.
This is the second time the O's and Jays have met this season, the first coming about a month ago in Baltimore. The Birds won two of three from the Jays in that set, both wins by the O's staying UNDER while Toronto's lone victory cashed for OVER bettors.
The Blue Jays are 114-70 vs. the O's at Rogers Centre since it first opened in 1989, and won five of the nine played in Toronto last season. Six of those contests skipped above the total, averaging a little more than 9.5 runs per tilt.
Check out our Thursday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report
Gausman Still On College Diamonds One Year Ago
Thirteen games at the minor league level is all Gausman has on his professional ledger after being the fourth player selected last June in the amateur draft. Originally a 6th-round pick by the Dodgers after high school in 2010, the righthander instead chose to spend a couple of seasons at LSU before Baltimore grabbed him.
He was 2-4 at Double-A Bowie this year with a 3.11 ERA, whiffing 49 with just five walks in over 46 frames. Gausman can reach the mid-to-upper 90s with his fastball and possesses a great change. He just started throwing a slider this year, and we probably won't see many of them in this game.
Morrow was pounded last Saturday in New York where the Yankees drilled a pair of homers in a 7-2 win. He had been idle for about two weeks before that while dealing with back trouble, and the Blue Jays are 3-5 in his starts while Morrow owns a 5.16 ERA. One of those three wins came against the Orioles in Baltimore on April 24, a no-decision for Morrow who worked into the seventh and allowed four runs (3 earned).
Over Trends Difficult To Ignore
In addition to the totals running OVER last season when the O's and Jays got together in Toronto, several other stats point towards offense in Thursday's opener, as well as the rest of the series. Both Baltimore (25-19-2 O/U/P) and Toronto (25-20-1) have been running to the high side this season coming into the set, and nine of the last 14 games played at Rogers Centre have also jumped the total.
Rogers Centre ranks 13th in scoring among ballparks this year, and fifth in home runs. Baltimore is third in the AL averaging 4.91 runs per game, and both teams are among the league leaders in long balls with the Orioles cranking out 59 HR and the Blue Jays 57. Morrow's last five assignments finished above the number.
Wet, windy and cool is the Toronto forecast on Thursday, so expect to see the roof shut at Rogers Centre where I'll be be adding the 'Over' to my MLB picks.
About three minutes after this game gets underway in Toronto, the Red Sox and Indians will open a 4-game series in Boston, with a preview and pick for each game in that set just a mouse-click away.My pick: Orioles-Blue Jays Over 9.5 (-105)