MLB Picks: Pitchers Bring Betting Value To Red Sox vs. Blue Jays

Jason Lake

Saturday, April 9, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016 11:00 AM UTC

The Boston Red Sox spoiled the 2016 home opener for the Toronto Blue Jays. They'll try again Saturday afternoon, with the Jays as slight favorites on the MLB odds board.

The Toronto Blue Jays seem to have it all. But they didn't have it Friday night. Toronto lost their home opener to the Boston Red Sox, dropping an 8-7 decision as -160 favorites. They were up 7-2 in the fourth, but Marcus Stroman wasn't at his best, and neither was the Jays bullpen.

Game 2 of this three-game series goes off Saturday afternoon (1:07 p.m ET), and this time, the Jays are -115 favorites on the MLB odds board as we go to press. It'll be knuckleballer R.A. Dickey taking the mound for Toronto against Rick Porcello, who hasn't had much success since joining the Red Sox last year. Looks like the very early action might be on the Jays, too; check our consensus reports for up-to-date information.

It's Knuckle-Up Time
Dickey (4.48 FIP last year) hasn't exactly been the toast of Toronto since the Jays swung that big trade with the New York Mets in 2012, right after he won the National League Cy Young Award. He's been a fairly solid workhorse pitcher, though, eating at least 210 innings in each of his three seasons up north. Last year, Dickey was good for 1.75 units in earnings on a team record of 18-15.

The Jays need Dickey to keep eating Saturday afternoon. They used up five relief pitchers Friday night, after Stroman was yanked early in the sixth. Toronto's bullpen ranked No. 11 in the majors last year at 3.7 WAR, but they're without lefty set-up man Aaron Loup (3.72 FIP) to start the season. As a knuckleballer, Dickey is capable of pitching the full nine innings, but he only went five in Monday's 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays (–116 at home).

We almost got to see some knuckle-on-knuckle action in this one, but thanks to Thursday's rainout in Cleveland, it'll be Porcello (4.13 FIP) on the hill for Boston instead of Steven Wright. Porcello had some very good years for the Detroit Tigers, came to the Sox during the 2014 offseason, signed a hefty contract extension, and stank up the joint real good before going on the disabled list with a sore triceps. A solid late-season comeback limited the damage to 2.18 units on a 13-15 team record; however, Porcello struggled this spring and has fallen to the middle of Boston's starting rotation.


Fantasy Corner
Current Toronto hitters have a combined .824 OPS against Porcello, while Dickey has limited Boston to a .737 OPS – and the Jays presumably won't have to worry about 3B Pablo Sandoval (.889 OPS vs. Dickey) on Saturday. See if Toronto trots out back-up 1B Justin Smoak (1.589 OPS) for this matchup. He's 7-for-16 lifetime against Porcello with three home runs, giving us all the more reason to put the Jays in our MLB picks.

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Free MLB Pick: Toronto -109
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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