Toronto Bluejays vs. Minnesota Twins Preview and Pick

Toronto Blue Jays (7-3) Roy Halladay -135, 7.5 O/U at Minnesota
Twins (4-6) Francisco Liriano +125, 7.5 O/U, Metrodome,
Minneapolis, Minn., 8:10 PM EST, Thursday

by Badger of

The Minnesota Twins are hoping that young lefty Francisco Liriano starts to emerge as the ace of the staff that theyve expected him to
become, because they need him to shutdown the red-hot Toronto Blue
Jay offense and match Jays starter Roy Halladay pitch-for-pitch
tonight when the two teams tangle in the series finale in the Metrodome.

The Blue Jays offense pounded out 16 hits, six for extra bases, and
four homeruns in yesterdays 12-2 romp over the Twins in game three
of the four-game series in Minnesota. The Jays will hand the ball to
their ace Halladay tonight as they try to slip out of town with the
series win and maintain their one-game lead at the top of the
American League East.

Oddsmakers originally opened the game with Halladay and the Blue Jays
as -125 favorites on the moneyline, but the number has already moved
up to -135 to -140 at most sportsbooks. The Twins are listed as +125
underdogs on the dimeline, and the over/under total opened at 7.5 and
is holding steady during early action at the window.

The Twins will certainly have their hands full tonight for a variety of reasons.

First of all, the Blue Jays offense is just flat out crushing the ball right now. The Jays rank 2nd in the league in runs scored at 6.8 per game, 2nd in OPS at .902, 2nd in homeruns hit with 17, and 3rd in
team batting average with a .313 mark.

Then, add in the fact that Halladay is 7-0 with a 2.92 ERA in nine
career starts (11 games) versus the Twins and you can see why the
hill the Twins must climb tonight is steep and full of obstacles.

Liriano hasnt exactly given Twins fans too much confidence either.
He has been knocked around good in both of his starts this season,
giving up 10 hits and nine runs in just 11.2 innings of work. The
good news is that he has had limited exposure against the Blue Jays,
as he has only faced them once in his young career (2 IP, 2 H, 3 K)
so it may take the Jays hitters awhile to learn the mechanics and
game plan of the Twins lefty. Liriano must improve his performance
over his last time out, when the White Sox had six hits and five runs
is just 4.2 innings off of him, in order for the Twins to have a chance.

Halladay will be facing a Twins offense that has struggled to produce
runs early in the season. Playing without All-Star catcher Joe Mauer,
the Twins are scoring just 3.7 runs per game (28th) and hitting a
meager .240 (23rd) collectively as a team. Halladay, who has gone at
least seven innings in both of his starts this year, is also a big
reason why the Jays are a +4.65 units for bettors in the early going
as the Jays have won both of his starts.

Toronto has owned the Twins in head-to-head matchups in recent times,
as they are 20-7 in their last 27 games versus each other, including
a 5-1 mark in the Twins park at the Metrodome.

And dont think about playing the Twins on the runline right now, as
only one of their four wins have come by more than a run, making them
a -8.65 units on the runline bet this season.

Badgers Pick: Hard to stay away from the red hot Blue Jays right
now, especially with their ace Halladay on the bump. At -135, its
not that bad juice-wise either. The best wager could be the over of
7.5, but since its the last game of the series there may be a few
backups in the lineup tonight, which would make me leery of that bet.
Take Toronto minus the -135.

Bet this game at reduced odds at 5Dimes.