Billy J’s Friday MLB Pick
YTD +1.55 units
New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays
The Pick: Blue Jays -104 currently on Bet Rivers
I’ve pointed out in my last few picks how I thought it was interesting to see division rivals not face each other until mid-June. With my pick this time around, I’m focusing on a matchup of division rivals who are in mid-June and about to start their fourth series of the season. The Yankees and Blue Jays are very familiar with each other at this point and after this weekend’s duel, the two squads will not meet again until mid-August. In the nine matchups thus far, the Yankees have the upper hand in going 6-3 in those nine contests.
Coming into the series we have two different sets of momentum. The Yankees have won 7 straight and swept their 6-game homestand. In the latest series against the Rays, the Yankees in the second game of that set beat Cy Young leading contender Shane McClanahan. Then to wrap up the sweep, the Yankees won in dramatic fashion with a walk-off home run by Anthony Rizzo. On the other hand, we have the Jays who split a 4-game set with the Orioles and got clobbered in yesterday’s effort 10-2.
In tonight’s pitching matchup we see a rematch of the May 2nd contest between Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (2-1, 2.70 ERA) and Blue Jays now converted starter again Ross Stripling (3-1, 3.14 ERA). In their last head-to-head matchup, neither pitcher factored into the decision. Both as well did not go deep into the game as both starters did not go more than 5 innings or throw more than 65 pitches. Montgomery has been extremely steady for a Yankees starting pitching staff that has been lights out to start the season. With the best record in the bigs and not allowing more than 2 runs just twice in his 12 starts this year, it is bewildering to see Montgomery only have two wins thus far.
Stripling’s career against the Yankees has been abysmal to say the least. Heading into tonight, Stripling in six career games against the Yankees is 0-4 with a 4.50 ERA. He now replaces Hyun Jin Ryu who will need season-ending elbow surgery. Stripling in his last two starts has gone at least five innings and the Blue Jays have won in back-to-back shutouts. In those two starts, Stripling allowed just one hit in each start. Since the start of June, Stripling has been able to bring down his ERA from 4.60 all the way down to 3.14. The Blue Jays will ultimately need his arm the rest of the way without Ryu.
In terms of betting this game, how often do we ever see the Yankees lately near even money? For the rest of the way we will see the Yankees hovering around -200. And in home games depending upon matchups we can see it elevate to as high as -300 or more. The key to betting the Yankees the rest of the way will be to cherry-pick your opportunities with a live line if they trail by a run or two early. That’s an article for another day. What sticks out to me though is how close this line is with the potential of Bo Bichette being out of the lineup and Stripling’s history against the Yankees. Factor in another Yankees winning streak coming into the game, one would think the public would jump this Yankees line. That may be the case so let’s get the value now with the home team almost at even money. I’m taking the Jays -104.