MLB Picks: Orioles vs Blue Jays Wild Card Clash

Chris Tillman looking down at a game

Willie Bee

Monday, October 3, 2016 10:29 PM UTC

Monday, Oct. 3, 2016 10:29 PM UTC

The 2016 MLB playoffs begin Tuesday night in Toronto where the Blue Jays host the Baltimore Orioles, and we've got a free MLB pick for the wild card matchup.


After battling for more than six months just to get to this point, the 2016 MLB season is going to come to an abrupt end Tuesday night for either the Baltimore Orioles or Toronto Blue Jays.

TBS will carry the AL Wild Card contest from Rogers Centre in Toronto beginning at 8 PM (ET), Chris Tillman and Marcus Stroman getting the ball first from their respective managers. BetOnline was among the first to hang a line on the game, making Stroman and the Blue Jays favorites around -150. The same top-rated sportsbooks at SBR came out with an 8½ run total that was juiced a bit more on the 'under.'


Both teams finished the regular season with 89-73 records, the Jays beating Boston each of the last two games following a brief and late 3-game slide to get there while the Orioles won four of their last five to reach the postseason. It's Toronto's second consecutive appearance in the playoffs following a 21-year drought that started after the Blue Jays won back-to-back World Series in 1992-93. It's Baltimore's third playoff showing in five years, the most recent coming in 2014 when the Orioles were swept in the ALCS by the Kansas City Royals.


Can Tillman Regain Early Season Form In October?

The initial focus for Tillman and Stroman, as well as the relievers that are sure to follow them, will be on keeping baseballs in the park. The Orioles and Blue Jays proved to be two of the most powerful teams in 2016, Baltimore leading the majors with 253 home runs while Toronto finished third in the AL with 221.

Tillman, who started Opening Day for Baltimore, was the logical choice for manager Buck Showalter to pitch this game even though he wasn't the most reliable arm in the rotation the final two months. He missed about three weeks with some arm soreness and came back to have a decent September, his most recent assignment on this mound five days ago when his no-decision in a 3-2 Orioles win over the Jays as +135 underdogs on the MLB odds. Tillman made two starts at Rogers Centre this season, each a Baltimore victory while he pitched to a 2.38 ERA in nearly 12 innings.

Stroman was the Toronto starter in that game, one of five losses he suffered in the month of September. He faced the Orioles three other times this season, a 6-5 loss in Toronto and two splitting decisions in Baltimore. Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo have given him fits, combining for a .400 average (10-25) with five extra base hits.


Recent Clash In Toronto Was 'Under' Bettors Dream

Toronto has won the last two season series from Baltimore, but not by much. The Blue Jays are 11-7 in Rogers Centre vs. the O's, winning six of the first eight on their own diamond this year before dropping the last two contests this past week. That entire series leading into the final weekend of the regular season stay 'under' the totals after five of the initial seven meetings this year in Toronto skipped past the scoreboard barrier.

Toronto will have its home fans behind them, and the Blue Jays were a nice 46-35 at Rogers Centre this season. Still, I'm liking Baltimore for my free baseball pick in a mild upset.


Free MLB Pick: Orioles +140
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Season: 43-40 (+5.70)

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