The hottest team in baseball gets a chance to build on its newfound divisional lead when the Blue Jays host the Yankees for the opener of a weekend series in Toronto. But the Jays are a huge price with David Price, which means the betting value might reside on the other side.
Yanks-Jays Friday Odds
As of this writing the best line we could find on Toronto and David Price was the -220 offered at Pinnacle, while New York and Ivan Nova were getting +210 at 5Dimes. And most books we consulted listed a total on tonight's game of eight runs, with a couple of 7.5's out there.
Also, BetOnline was chalking the Jays at -190 to win this series, with the Yanks getting +160.
Toronto just swept three games from Oakland, winning Thursday 4-2. So the Blue Jays have now won 11 games in a row, and at 64-52 now lead the AL East by a half-game over New York.
The Yankees, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games at Cleveland, avoiding the sweep and snapping a five-game losing streak with an 8-6 victory Thursday.
At 62-51 New York has relinquished the lead in the AL East, at least for the moment, but also leads the American League wild-card race by 2.5 games over the second-place Angels.
The Jays lead this season series seven games to two, with the UNDERS going 6-3.
Friday's Mound Match-Up
This face-off is a rematch of a game from last Saturday, a 6-0 Toronto victory at the Stadium.
Price (11-4, 2.35) is 16-for-23 on quality starts this season, two-for-two since joining the Jays. Last Saturday he tossed seven shutout innings against this New York outfit, and just before that he held Minnesota to one run through eight innings, whiffing 11. For the season Price has allowed 139 hits through 161 innings, walked 34 and struck out 156.
Detroit went 15-6 in Price's starts this year, and Toronto is 2-0.
Since the beginning of last season Price has started seven times against the Yankees, coming up with four quality outings, but getting bombed three times, too. On the whole Price has allowed 27 earned runs through his last 38 innings against New York; his teams have managed to go 4-3 in those games, with the OVERS going 4-3.
Nova (4-4, 3.52) is three-for-eight on quality starts, in part because of a short leash. Last Saturday he gave up four runs in 5 1/3 innings against this Toronto team, but all those came on a grand slam in the sixth inning. And over his previous three starts he held foes to five runs through 17 innings. On the season, which for him began in June, Nova has allowed 42 hits through 46 innings, walked 16 and struck out 31.
The Yanks are 4-4 in Nova's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by a 5-2 count.
Over his last four starts against the Blue Jays, going back to the start of 2013, Nova has given up 14 runs through 18 2/3 innings; New York managed to split those four games, while three of those games played OVER.
Friday's Batting Splits
New York ranks 15th in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .255 team batting average, but third with a .335 team on-base percentage.
Toronto, on the other hand, ranks 12th against right-handed pitching with a .256 team average and eighth with a .323 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Rogers Centre this season are 34-24 on the OVERS, even though they're averaging 9.3 runs per, fifth-most among all ML ballparks.
Toronto IF Edwin Encarnacion has missed recent action with a bad finger, but it's hoped he will be in the lineup tonight.
Yanks-Jays Free Picks
Toronto is one hot outfit at the moment, and momentum means a ton to us when handicapping baseball games. But odds makers think along the same lines, and have inflated the price on this game by at least a quarter more than it should be. So while it's hard to go against a team so hot, throwing an ace, we believe the betting value for tonight resides with the Yankees. Also, we could see this game getting to 5-4, so we're thinking OVER.
MLB Picks: New York and OVER 7.5 runs (-115) at Heritage