MLB: Tons of questions about Blue Jays as they ready for tonight's home opener

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MLB: Tons of questions about Blue Jays as they ready for tonight's home opener

BetMGM sports betting action on MLB player futures released Friday shone a bright spotlight on the some of the bigger names in the sport.

Julio Rodriguez of the Seattle Mariners is seeing the highest ticket per centage (19.4%) and highest handle percentage (21.0%) for AL MVP, despite the New York Yankees’ Juan Soto sitting as odds leader at +400 on BetMGM.

Tarik Skubal of the Detroit Tigers is generating the highest ticket percentage (16.6%) and highest handle (17.8%) for AL Cy Young. Jackson Holliday of the Baltimore Orioles is seeing the highest ticket percentage for AL Rookie of the Year (21.6%), while Wyatt Langford of the Texas Ranger is generating the highest handle (32.2%).

Where do the Toronto Blue Jays sit as they return home after their first ten games on the road, going 4-6, and ready for tonight’s home opener against the Seattle Mariners? In those MLB futures we referenced it’s 1B Vladimir Guerrero seeing the most betting for AL MVP – 3.9% of tickets, 7.1% of handle. Guerrero is hitting .189 so far, with 2 HRs and 3 RBIs, and a .712 OPS. 

⚾ Bet on Mariners vs. Blue Jays at DraftKings ⚾

Timely hitting was their big problem last season and they haven’t exactly been getting their fan base all tingly with excitement in that department so far – 29th in MLB in batting average (.193), 24th in OPS (.627), 22nd in runs scored (36), 26th in slugging percentage (.327), 16th in HRs (nine). 

Sportsnet, the content platform owned by the same communications company that owns the baseball team and the stadium they play in, will spin the toughness of the schedule they had to start 2024 – stops in Tampa Bay, Houston, then New York.

But where it gets a little galling is when that widely reviled communications company team jacks ticket prices to obscene levels to justify $400 million in lower bowl stadium upgrades while ten games in showing not to have done enough to address glaring weaknesses from last season, as teams like the Yankees and the Orioles trampoline past them in the AL East. 

⚾ Bet on Mariners vs. Blue Jays at BetMGM ⚾

It’s early, that media property, for one, will tell you, but fans in Toronto have a lingering bad taste in their mouths from how the 2023 season came to a halt in Game 2 of that wildcard series in Minnesota. Without getting into the details (Google it), it was a comedy of ineptness that dragged into spring training. 

So, the owner rolls out their nice new toy to a compliant media (“Blue Jays feel ‘pride’ in the new stadium”, according to a Sportsnet headline), clearly banking on the city’s upper financial upper crust to pay those new prices, like they do at Scotiabank Arena for the Leafs and Raptors, pushing hardcore fans to higher regions in the stadium, or one of those new bars, or even right out of the stadium. 

A friend – about as hardcore a Blue Jays fan as you will find - had two season tickets, ten rows behind home plate, for two decades. For a similar viewpoint, those ticket prices went up 480%, he reports. Let’s just say he didn’t renew for 2024. 

⚾ Bet on Mariners vs. Blue Jays at FanDuel ⚾

Listen, maybe this all will work. Maybe the team will start to hit. But no way you’re going to be able to justify people paying those ticket prices for Kansas City on a Tuesday night in July if your team is fluttering around .500. Can’t wait to see how those Sportsnet TV cameras try to cover up swathes of empty seats if that plays out.

The Jays are banking on their starting pitching staff matching last year’s level of health (four of their starters hit at least 31 games started in 2023). How’s that going so far, especially after watching Kevin Gausman’s shoulder issues during spring training and that telling drop in velo in that start in New York Saturday, chased in the second inning (four-seam fastball averaged 91.4 mph)? 

Or Alek Manoah trying to work his way back from shoulder pain, allowing seven runs in 1 2/3 innings of work in Single A yesterday, still saying he was pleased with his velocity, pitch movement, despite the ugly start line?

Mariners vs. Blue Jays Odds & Player Props

Game time tonight is 7:07 p.m., with RHP Jose Berrios starting for the Jays (1-0, 2.25 ERA) and Seattle RHP Luis Castillo (0-2, 6.75 ERA), going for Seattle. The game will be broadcast on Sportsnet.

Here’s the odds chart, as of 10 a.m. EST:

BetMGMBlue Jays 1.83, Mariners 2.00Blue Jays +1.5 (1.48), Mariners -1.5 (2.60)8.0; Over 1.83; Under 2.00
NorthStar BetsBlue Jays 1.83, Mariners 2.02Blue Jays +1.5 (1.48), Mariners -1.5 (2.63)8.0; Over 1.87; Under 1.96
DraftKingsBlue Jays 1.83, Mariners 2.00Blue Jays +1.5 (1.51); Mariners -1.5 (2.64)8.0; Over 1.87; Under 1.95


Looking at BetMGM, 79% of spread bets are on the Jays, with 82% of money bets on the Jays also.

On the most bet player prop side, in terms of MLB odds, according to FanDuel, most of the action is on Justin Turner to Hit a HR (8.50), Guerrero Jr. to Hit a HR (4.90), Rodriguez to Hit a HR (+420), and Luis Castillo Over 5.5 SOs (2.10).

At PointsBet, Rodriguez Over 0.5 Hits (1.38), Guerrero Jr. to Hit a HR (6.00), Guerrero Over 0.5 Hits (1.42) and Jose Berrios Over 6.5 SOs (2.05) are leading the betting charge. 

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Mark Keast

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