We are really starting to heat up as baseball hits its third full week of play, as we picked up another winner last night, when we backed the Houston Astros in Arizona, against the Diamondbacks. I felt that while Madison Bumgarner was the far bigger name on the mound, that it was actually untested Cristian Javier, that was the better side of the starting pitching matchup. The public kept the line tight as they backed MaddyBums as a home dog in droves, and I jumped on the other side and felt that I had a very high-value play.
After watching this game play out, my original assessment that the Astros should have been major favorites seemed to be on point, as this game wasn’t competitive. Bumgarner got smashed for eight runs in just 4.1 innings worked, and Cristian Javier again showed the world what I have known all along, that he is an absolute stud. Javier threw six innings and allowed just one run on only four hits and runs his ERA to a blink and you will miss it 1.42 on the year.
— Houston Astros (@astros) August 5, 2020
There has likely never been a season where so many young prospects all hit the big league level at the same time. With the Minor Leagues getting canceled in 2020, teams were forced to bring these kids up before they may have wanted to, and that has resulted in a ton of blue-chip prospects taking the field for the first time at the Major League level. You have to be able to evaluate their talent level accurately, as these guys are everywhere, and they can have a major impact on your bets.
Last night, a little homework on Cristian Javier got us into a high-value spot, and if you are willing to dig deep, you can take advantage of the public’s collective ignorance and get paid. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Atlanta, where the Braves host the Blue Jays in game two of a three-game set.
Toronto Blue Jays (3-5) at Atlanta Braves (8-4)
The Atlanta Braves are steaming hot, as they are winners of six out of their last seven games, and they will look to make it two straight wins tonight over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Braves blew the Jays out last night in game one of the series, 10-1, powered by home runs from Matt Adams, Austin Riley, and Tyler Flowers and a lights out performance from Max Fried on the mound. With the majority of the National League East teams battling illness and quarantine issues and not getting games in, the Braves are quickly running away with the division.
For Toronto, the Blue Jays haven’t won a game since July 28th, as they got mixed up in some canceled games as well and have lost three straight games. Entering play tonight, the Jays three wins on the year are tied for the fewest in the American League, and with the Yankees refusing to lose, Toronto is already seeing any shot they had at the AL East Division title go up in smoke.
Starting for the Blue Jays is their ace Hyun-jin Ryu (0-1 8.00 ERA), and for the Braves, it is Sean Newcomb (0-0 8.22 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Braves are -125 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Truist Park in Atlanta.
Toronto Blue Jays
Most people expected the Toronto Blue Jays to be right in the mix for the American League East title this year, as they brought in a bunch of veteran talent in the offseason to surround their young core of budding superstars. And while I too, thought that this team would be improved greatly from last year, I also recognized that they lost 95 games last season and to see them get things all the way turned around in one year, was highly unlikely.
Here we are two weeks into the season, and not only are the Blue Jays not near the top of the standings, they are in contention for the worst team in the league right now. Their three wins are tied with the Red Sox, Rangers, and Royals for the lowest total in the AL. They have played a couple fewer games than those other teams, but a .375 winning percentage just isn’t going to get it done this year.
When you look at the Blue Jays slew of young stars, none of them are producing at the plate right now. Bo Bichette is hitting .240 and hasn’t hit a single home run or drawn even one walk. Cavan Biggio is hitting a dismal .182 and has more than twice as many strikeouts as he does walks. And Vlad Guerrero Jr is hitting .219 with just one RBI in 2020. Ouch.
Hyun-jin Ryu (0-1 8.00 ERA)
It hasn’t been just the young guys struggling in Toronto, even the veterans the Jays added in the offseason have been mostly awful. Hyun-jin Ryu nearly won the Cy Young Award last season in the National League and was brought in to be the ace of this Blue Jays rotation. Instead, he has yet to make it out of the fifth inning in either of his starts, and his ERA is sky-high at 8.00.
The strikeouts have been there for Ryu, but his walk rate is more than double that of last years, and he has allowed a home run in each start. It is hard to imagine Ryu having too much success tonight against a Braves team that currently leads the Major Leagues in runs scored and dropped double-digits on Toronto last night in game one.
The Braves took a brutal blow earlier this week when Mike Soroka was shut down with a season-ending injury, but if any team can fade the loss of an ace pitcher, it is this Atlanta Braves team, as they have a bunch of guys waiting in the wings to get their shot at the rotation. And with the way the bats are swinging right now for Atlanta, they don’t need their starters to go in and shut teams down, they just need them to keep the games close and let this mighty Braves lineup do the rest.
The Braves have scored at least ten runs or more in a game, three times already this season. They are being led by Dansby Swanson, who is murdering the baseball right now to the tune of a .340 batting average and a National League-leading 13 RBI. The scary part about this Braves lineup, is that some of their best hitters, guys like Ronald Acuna Jr, Matt Adams, and Ozzie Albies, aren’t even hitting yet. Once they get those guys going, this lineup is going to be filthy.
Sean Newcomb (0-0 8.22 ERA)
It has been a slow start to the year for Sean Newcomb, and with Soroka done for the season, the Braves badly need him to step up and start looking like the guy he was last year when he posted a stellar 3.16 ERA for Atlanta. Newcomb has been on a tight leash so far, as the Braves have only allowed him to pitch an average of 81 pitches in his first two starts, and I would expect that the Braves will try and start to stretch him out some tonight at home.
Who Do I Like?
This line makes no sense at all. When it opened at Braves -140, I felt like Atlanta was likely the side to back, as they are on fire right now, and the Blue Jays can’t hit the broad side of a barn. Ryu is the better starter on paper, but both of these starters have been awful so far this season, so I felt that backing the far superior team was the clear play.
Yeah, the public hasn’t seen it that way. The public has been hammering on Toronto all morning, and this line has already moved fifteen points towards the Blue Jays and seems to still be on the move as we speak. They just can’t seem to get enough of Hyun-jin Ryu and his eight-run ERA against the best hitting team in the Major Leagues right now, that has lost just one game in over a week.
My favorite play in sports betting is to fade the public line moves, and that is just what I will do today. Somehow the public just seems to always find a way to get it wrong and positioning yourself on the other side of them is always a great place to be. So, I will fire hard on the Braves, and if this line keeps moving, I might make a second play on Atlanta before first pitch. Give me the Atlanta Braves as small home favorites tonight in game two, laying -125!