Blue Jays favourites hosting Tigers in season opener

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Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Stroman warms up. (Nathan Denette/CP)

The Toronto Blue Jays will be looking claim victory in a home opener for the first time since 2011 when they kick off the 2019 MLB season against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday as -140 favourites on the MLB odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto posted a 2-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in Montreal on Tuesday to close out the club’s Grapefruit League campaign with a 14-15 record, but has been regularly outclassed in home openers in recent years, averaging just 2.57 runs per game while losing seven straight ahead of Thursday’s Tigers vs. Blue Jays betting matchup at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays fly north amid tempered expectations after taking a further step back last season, which they finished with a 73-89 record. The offseason brought major changes to the club. Gone is manager John Gibbons, replaced by rookie bench boss Charlie Montoyo, while veterans Troy Tulowitzki, Yangervis Solarte, Russell Martin, Aledmys Diaz, and Marco Estrada also left town.

With a full commitment to the rebuild, the Blue Jays are a lengthy +4000 wager to claim their first AL East title since 2015. However, with a number of top prospects poised to get their first taste of the big leagues, there remain plenty of reasons for Blue Jays fans to be optimistic.

Danny Jansen is set to take over from Martin behind the plate, and rookie righthander Trent Thornton is scheduled to get his first major league start in Sunday’s series finale against the Tigers. Shortstop Bo Bichette made a strong case to get the call at some point this season, while MLB’s top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is not expected to arrive in Toronto until late April but has already captured some attention as a -120 favourite to claim AL Rookie of the Year honors at online betting sites.

In the meantime, the Blue Jays must remain focused on the Tigers, a team that they have produced mixed results against in recent seasons. Toronto tallied a 3-4 record against the Tigers last season while splitting a four-game series at Rogers Centre over the Canada Day holiday, and they are 5-7 in their past 12 meetings overall, according to the OddsShark MLB Database.

The Tigers arrive in Toronto after racking up a 15-15 record in Grapefruit League action, and sit as +130 underdogs in Thursday’s contest. However, the Tigers won just 64 games for a second straight year last season, including just 26 wins away from Comerica Park, and trail as a distant +5000 wager to finish atop the weak AL Central on the MLB futures.

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