An abbreviated season of uncertainty will begin for the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night when they open a three-game weekend series in Tampa Bay as +136 road underdogs on the MLB betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
As the 2020 MLB campaign gets underway the Blue Jays still don’t know where they will play home games after failing to receive government approval to play in Toronto. While the search continues for a suitable alternative to Rogers Centre, Toronto embarks on a five-game season-opening road trip that begins with Friday night’s matchup at Tropicana Field.
While the prospect of not playing any games in Toronto this season has been a factor in the Blue Jays’ sinking +8000 odds to win the World Series, there are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Friday night’s contest marks the regular-season Blue Jays debut of starter Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed a four-year, $80 million deal this past winter.
Ryu posted a 14-5 record with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2019, and also led the NL with a 2.32 ERA. While the 33-year-old is expected to provide veteran stability for a young, developing rotation, he has produced mixed results against AL opponents, going 4-4 in 15 career interleague starts.
The Blue Jays will also be looking for young stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette to take the next step in their development this season. However, the club has plenty of work to do to reverse a recent dismal track record against the Rays. The Blue Jays tallied consecutive home wins over the Rays in the final week of last season, but have enjoyed little success in Tampa Bay over the past three years. The club lost eight of 10 meetings at Tropicana Field in 2019, and sports a meagre 9-20 road record against the Rays since the start of the 2017 season, according to the OddsShark MLB Database.
While the Blue Jays open the season hoping for the best, the Rays will be gunning for a fast start when they hit the diamond for Friday’s contest as -156 home favourites at sports betting sites. The Rays hope to build on their success of last season, when they won 96 games and earned the AL’s second wild-card berth.
Right-hander Charlie Morton gets the call for the Rays on Friday. The 36-year-old enjoyed a career year in 2019, compiling a 16-6 record. Morton has also produced in past clashes with Toronto, going 2-1 in six career starts while limiting Blue Jays hitters to three or fewer earned runs in each of those contests.