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BettorIQ’s MLB Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

MLB

BettorIQ continues with its 2020 MLB betting previews. We will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective leading up to the start of the season.

Toronto Blue Jays 
2019 Record: 67-95 
2019 Profits: -10.4 units 
2020 Win Total: 28
2020 Odds to Win AL East: +2000 
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +2750
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +6000

Betting Positives: There’s no shortage of young star power, headlined by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio. In the second half of last season, Guerrero registered a mark of .340 wOBA and a 112 wRC+. Biggio recorded an impressive .364 OBP with a patient eye that saw a walk rate of 16.5%. Bichette was perhaps the most impressive as he slashed .311/.358/.571 over 46 games. The trio helped Toronto go 28-29 down the stretch after starting the season 39-66. Guerrero has undergone a shift from third base to first base which should help Toronto in the field after ranking 24th in FanGraph’s overall defense metric last year. To help supplement the young talent in the lineup, Toronto made notable additions to its pitching staff by adding starters Hyun-Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark, Chase Anderson and reliever Shun Yamaguchi from Japan. Ryu is the most sizable addition as he enters off a 2nd place finish in NL Cy Young voting while pitching for the Dodgers.  

Betting Negatives: A week before the start of the season, the Jays were told that they wouldn’t be allowed to play in Canada. A few days later it was announced they would call Pittsburgh “home.” On the surface, this year’s format suggests the only homefield advantage teams will have will be that of batting last. But there’s something to be said for comfort and stability and to get thrown for a loop this close to opening day isn’t ideal — especially with one of the youngest rosters in MLB. And beyond some of their big name young talent are plenty of question marks. The starting rotation is one of the weakest units in the American League, the bullpen is only slightly stronger, and Anderson is already hurt with an oblique injury. 

Handicapper’s Take: Toronto will be challenged out of the gate with a daunting early schedule. They open with series vs. Tampa Bay, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Boston. Those first 16 games could easily put the Blue Jays out of contention. And despite the aforementioned trio of young studs, there’s always a chance for a sophomore slump as the league makes adjustments. But unlike some of the weaker organizations that are currently rebuilding and viewing 2020 as nothing more than “practice”, Toronto has enough talent to be competitive. And as a bettor, there’s nothing more rewarding that being able to identify and capitalize on an up and coming team before oddsmakers adjust. The Jays will no doubt take some lumps but they should be on every bettor’s radar.