MLB Wagers of the Week: Bet on Blue Jays in crucial Orioles series?

Toronto Blue Jays' Robbie Ray pitches in the first inning of an American League baseball game against the Detroit Tigers, in Toronto on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 (Jon Blacker/CP).

The summer may be winding down, but the sun never sets on sports betting opportunities. See below for some MLB games and matchups to keep your eye on during your work week, as well as some trends that you should be paying attention to.

Editor’s note: All betting lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction, and current as of time of publication.

Baltimore Orioles @ Toronto Blue Jays

Wager to watch: Blue Jays on the run line

The Blue Jays begin a crucial three-game series with the lowly Orioles Monday night at Rogers Centre. The home team has a big-time edge when it comes to the run line in this series and are the favourites tonight at -1.5 (-166).

The Jays have gone 66-63-0 (51.2%) overall against the run line this season, which ranks 12th in baseball, but a mediocre 31-31-0 (50.0%) against the spread as the home team split between Dunedin, Buffalo and Toronto. They’re also 27-26-0 (50.9%) versus the run line against the AL East.

Other trends: Toronto is 12-6 straight up at Rogers Centre in 2021, and 83-39 (68.0%) straight up in their last 122 meetings against the O’s in Toronto.

The Orioles, meanwhile, are a train wreck against the spread in 2021. Baltimore is a putrid 51-78-0 (39.5%) against the run line overall, which ranks second-worst in baseball. Baltimore is 30-36-0 (45.5%) as the road team against the spread and a horrendous 18-36-0 (33.3%) on the run line versus the American League East. This team is also just 16-50 in their last 66 games as an underdog.

Tonight’s pitching matchup is Robbie Ray (9-5, 2.72 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) for the Blue Jays versus Chris Ellis (1-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) for the Orioles. Toronto is 6-4 straight up in Ray’s last 10 starts while Baltimore is 18-38 straight up in their last 56 road games against a left-handed starter.

It’s simple: In this series, focus your betting dollars on the team that is desperate to stay in the wild card race and has an AL Cy Young candidate on the mound tonight. Look at taking the Jays at -1.5 (-166) tonight and lean Toronto on the run line for the rest of this three-game set.

Boston Red Sox @ Tampa Bay Rays

Wager to watch: Taking the over

I know watching games from Tropicana Field may not be that aesthetically pleasing, but you know what’s beautiful? Lots of runs! The Rays and Red Sox begin a four-game series tonight in St. Petersburg with a total of 8.5 (over -130, under +105).

Tampa has a reputation of a team that pitches well and plays great defence, but this year’s edition of the Rays has also been an over machine. Tampa Bay is a robust 72-53-5 (57.6%) to the over this season, which ranks second overall in Major League Baseball. The Rays are also a decent 32-29-3 (52.5%) to the over as the home team this season.

Lately, though, games involving the Rays have been flying over the total. The over is 15-5-1 in Tampa’s last 21 overall and 12-4-1 in their last 17 against the American League East. Need some more evidence? The over is 6-0-1 in Tampa Bay’s last seven home games.

The caveat here is that Boston has been a lacklustre 60-69-3 (46.5%) to the over this season, which ranks in the bottom third in MLB. The Red Sox are also an uninspiring 28-36-1 (43.8%) as the road team to the over, which again puts them in the league’s bottom third.

However, when Boston and Tampa get together, games have been going over the total. The over is 7-2 in Boston’s last nine games in Tampa Bay and 21-6-2 overall in these teams’ last 29 encounters.

Here’s a couple of more quick trends to chew on: The over is 6-2 in Boston’s last eight overall while the over is 36-16-3 in Tampa’s last 55 games against a right-handed starter.

Tonight’s pitching matchup is right-hander Nick Pivetta (9-6, 4.57 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) for Boston while righty Luis Patino gets the start for Tampa. The Red Sox have scored 5.24 runs of support in 25 Pivetta starts while the Rays are scoring 5.6 runs of support in 10 Patino starts this season.

All that goes to say: I lean the over in each game of this four-game series, and I’m taking the over of 8.5 (-130) for tonight’s game.

Cleveland Indians @ Kansas City Royals

Wager to watch: Salvador Perez overs on total bases

Cleveland visits Kansas City to play a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium beginning tomorrow night.

The player to watch from a betting-prop perspective is the red-hot Salvador Perez, who is slashing an eye-popping .357/.455/1.000 over his past seven games with six homers and 14 RBIs. Overall in August, he’s been raking to the tune of .277/.352/.670 with 12 homers and 28 RBI in 94 at-bats.

Right-hander Zach Plesac (8-4, 4.78 ERA, 1.17 WHIP) is scheduled to start for Cleveland tomorrow night. Perez is slashing .259/.298/.482 with 21 homers and 59 RBI against righties this season and is hitting .309/.352/.581 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs at home in 2021.

Feel free to ride Perez’s scorching August and look for the over when it comes to total-bases props.

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