Blue Jays face Rays as underdogs in wild card playoff series

Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Willy Adames forces Toronto Blue Jays' Danny Jansen (9) at second base and relays the throw to first in time to turn a double play on Joe Panik during the seventh inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

The Toronto Blue Jays will make their first appearance in the MLB postseason since 2016 when they take on the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday in Game 1 of their American League wild card series as +165 underdogs on the baseball betting lines at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Winners of 67 games in 2019, Toronto took a step forward during the abbreviated 2020 campaign, racking up a respectable 32-28 record, and is set as the American League’s No. 8 seed in going into Tuesday’s matchup at Tropicana Field.

The Blue Jays overcame a worrisome six-game losing streak to go 5-2 in a season-ending homestand, finishing the campaign with a 17-9 home record. However, the team posted wins in just two of its final nine road dates, and has work to do to overcome a dismal 6-12 record in its last 18 dates at Tropicana Field.

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Those trends have done little to boost Toronto on the MLB betting futures. The club enters its first ever postseason clash with the Rays set as +185 underdogs on the MLB playoff series prices and as a distant +2800 wager on the updated World Series odds.

Matt Shoemaker will take the mound for the Blue Jays on Tuesday instead of ace Hyun-Jin Ryu, who instead will start Game 2 on Wednesday. The righthander missed four weeks with a strained lat and has pitched just once since August, a three-inning outing against the New York Yankees on September 21 in which he allowed one run over three innings of work. Shoemaker faced the Rays in three of his six starts this past season, allowing six runs over 15 innings of work. Overall Shoemaker posted a 4.71 ERA in six outings this year.

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Lefthander Blake Snell is slated to be on the mound on Tuesday for Tampa Bay, which looks to Game 1 as a -190 home favourite at sports betting sites. Snell has impressed in recent dates with Toronto, limiting Blue Jays hitters to just seven total earned runs in 38.2 innings of work over his past eight starts. However, he has failed to earn a winning decision in his past six appearances against the Blue Jays.

Overall, the Rays have been a model of consistency since overcoming a shaky 6-8 start, going 34-12 the rest of the way to claim their first AL East division title since 2010. A three-game losing streak in early September marks the only time the club has suffered consecutive losses since that slow start. The Rays also finished strong, allowing just 2.64 runs per game during a 9-2 run to end the season, fueling their strong -215 odds on the series prices.

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