Blue Jays betting underdogs hosting Yankees in Thursday opener

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ. (Mark Blinch/CP)

After closing out spring training with a 1-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays will be home on Thursday to open the regular season against the New York Yankees as +136 underdogs on the MLB odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto baseball fans got a glimpse of the Blue Jays’ future on Tuesday, when top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. sealed the victory with a walk-off home run. However, a number of question marks swirl around the club entering Thursday afternoon’s Yankees versus Blue Jays betting matchup at Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays will be looking to improve on last year’s disappointing 76-86 campaign that left them outside the MLB postseason picture for the first time in three years. The club is expected to show moderate improvement in the upcoming season, and is pegged as a -125 wager to win over 81.0 games on the MLB season props. However, Toronto sits well back of the favourites on the 2018 World Series odds at +3000.

The club goes into opening day with injury concerns. Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki remains on the shelf until at least late April with an ankle injury, while starter Marcus Stroman missed a large part of spring training with a shoulder injury but is expected to get the start in Sunday’s series finale against the Yankees.

Toronto also has a number of veterans entering contract years, including Stroman and third baseman Josh Donaldson, who owns +2000 odds of claiming AL MVP honours for the second time in his career. However, the Blue Jays also sport two of baseball’s best young prospects in Guerrero and Bo Bichette, both of whom are expected to start the season at double-A New Hampshire.

J.A. Happ will head to the mound for the Blue Jays on opening day, while right-hander Luis Severino gets the call for the Yankees, who are pegged as -146 betting favourites.

Happ took a step back last season after winning 20 games in 2016. The 35-year-old southpaw went 10-11 last year, but owned a respectable 3.53 ERA and sits as a +8000 wager on the AL Cy Young odds. Severino finished third in Cy Young voting in 2017 after going 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA, but gave up seven runs in 12.2 innings to go 0-1 over two appearances against the Blue Jays last season.

Overall, the Blue Jays produced mixed results against New York last season, going 10-9 including a 6-3 mark in nine dates on home turf. However, Toronto is winless in six straight opening-day contests, including a 7-3 loss to the Yankees as a +124 underdog in 2014.

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