Boston Red Sox (17-4) vs. Toronto Blue Jays (13-8)
Starting Pitchers: Rick Porcello vs. J.A. Happ
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
When: Tuesday, April, 24th, 2018, 7:05PM EST
by Kevin, Expert MLB Handicapper, Predictem.com
Opening Line: Bos -125/Tor +115
Current Line: (At time of print) Bos -115/Tor +105
What Caused the Early Line Move?
Sharps don’t bet with their heart. They see things for what they are and have short memories. Despite the Red Sox starting off like gangbusters, they’ve dropped their last 2 games, only scoring 1 run in total. Furthermore, the bats went absolute “crickets” as A’s lefty Sean Manaea not only beat them, he no-hit’em!. Mix that in with some west coast to east coast travel and having to go through customs and you have some nice underdog value.
What the Sharps are Betting
As noted above, the game opened with the Beantowners as -125 road favs. The line quickly dropped $10 down to -115, all-the-while, the public is still remembering the Boston team that started off 17-2 and hitting them to the tune of 60%. For those new to the game, when the public is in love with one side and the line is moving the other way, this denotes sharp/wiseguy action. While I consider myself to be an astute baseball handicapper, I am not a true sharp as there are those out there who simply have more information than I do. Just because a game is getting hit by sharps, doesn’t mean it’s a lock or that you or I should jump on board. Even the best only hit in the mid to high 50 percentile range. With that being said, I’m taking a different angle on this game. I’ll investigate that in further detail below.
The Starters: Rick Porcello vs. J.A. Happ
There have been times in certain years where this matchup may have been one of the worst in baseball. I’m almost having to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in some sort of bad dream with what I’m about to put in print.
Rick Porcello (4-0 1.40 ERA, 0.81 WHIP) has looked like Cy Young early on. He’s tossed 25 and 2/3 innings of really good baseball. Really good. Amazingly, Porcello has only given up 1 walk so far this season. They guy’s K rate has gone up over the last few years as well, which is not normal. What does this mean? He’s learning to pitch.
The team is also in good hands when Porcello calls it quits. The BoSox pen has been performing well with a 3.25 ERA and 1.13 WHIP and believe it or not, those numbers have been even better on the road as they’ve posted a 2.33 ERA/1.06 WHIP in 38.2 innings. They’re averaging a K per inning and have only surrendered 1 dinger, which is about 3 less than they should have allowed according to the MLB average.
Porcello has had a pretty good sampling vs. Jays hitters. In 180 career at bats, Toronto hitters have only mustered up a .239 average, .297 on base average and .400 slugging percentage. Nobody on the roster has beat him up too bad. Justin Smoak has taken him out 3 times in 30 at bats, but Smokey is ice cold right now with 4 hits in his last 24 ab’s. Kendrys Morales has a pair of homers against him but those have come in 39 at bats and Morales has only hit .205 against him. Morales is coming off a Grade 1 right hamstring strain and hasn’t been back long enough to get his timing up to snuff, so I’m not real worried about him. I am a bit concerned with one player, Teoscar Hernandez, who has been red hot with 3 dingers over his past 7 games. I don’t foresee this roster putting together any strings of hits to be taken seriously. They’ve done ok, with a so-so lineup and Donaldson out, but they too are a bit cold as they”ve only mustered up 2 runs over their past two games.
On the flip side, J.A. Happ is a guy who is directly responsible for putting quite a few steaks on my table. There was a time when this guy was so cold that he was an auto-fade. Not so much nowadays, as like Porcello, appears to have learned how to pitch.
There are two things that I really like about Happ. The first is that he’s a veteran. To further expand on that, he’s a guy who can make a big pitch when in a tough spot. He has an uncanny knack for getting runners on and getting out of innings via the K. His 31 strikeouts in 22 innings this season is no joke. Second, he rises to the occasion in big games. It’s no coincidence that he pitched well vs. Baltimore/New York this season and was mediocre vs. KC/CWS. He loves to pitch vs. the BoSox as well. His career numbers are great with 7 wins vs. only 3 losses, a 3.22 ERA and .229 average against in 95 innings. More recently (last season), he had a stellar 1.90 ERA vs. Boston over 23.3 innings.
Boston hitters haven’t fared well vs. Happ. The numbers are almost unbelievable. Over 153 at bats, the Sox have only hit .196 vs. Happ with a .266 on base average and a putrid .301 slugging percentage! Only two Sox have taken Happ yard; Betts and Ham-Ram, both of which have hit sub .200 vs. him.
Happ is one of those rare lefties that actually pitches better vs. right handed hitters than left. As you probably know, Boston’s batting order is stacked with RHB. Boston may be in for another snafu here.
Both teams had Monday as an off day/getaway day. The Sox flew west to east from Oakland to Toronto, also having to deal with the pain in the balls of customs.
Toronto not so much as they had a short hop from NY. To my surprise, I have been told by multiple major leaguers that the second day after travel is actually more difficult than the first. I then did some research and that research supported this theory. While it may seem like a bit of a reach, Toronto may have a bit of humplag too. Players coming home after a road trip generally are making up for lost time in the sack. This is more of an angle in the NBA, as those athletes tend to be a bit less disciplined and loose cannons, but hey, I’ll take any edge we can get, especially if it gives you a chuckle.
My Pick to Get the Money
Both pitchers have a high probability of success tonight. Both teams haven’t hit the ball well over the past couple games. Both teams are coming off travel. As noted above, the sharps appear to have taken an early position on Toronto. I believe the true value here is in the UNDER 8.5 runs scored. As with anything in life, you’re going to get a better result if you’re educated about a topic. Today’s mini lesson is about reduced juice. You can bet this game at UNDER 8.5 and pay only -105 odds at 5Dimes. Conversely, Bovada is a good book, but the very same bet is listed at -115 odds. You save $10 per $100 you’re trying to win simply by taking the time to sign up and place your bets at a sportsbook with cheaper odds! Imagine how many bets you make over the course of a year and how much you’d be saving by betting at a discount! TONS! Be smart and make the switch TODAY to the best betting odds on the web! —> 5Dimes! (Be sure to select listed pitchers on your bet in case there’s a pitching change) Good luck!