The Toronto Blue Jays continue their road trip tonight with the opener of a four-game series against the Red Sox at Boston’s Fenway Park.
Below is the betting breakdown for the series opener with the latest lines. I’ve also included my own picks to let you know which way I’m leaning.
(All betting lines are courtesy of Sports Interaction, and current as time of publication.)
Toronto Blue Jays (31-29) at Boston Red Sox (38-25) at 7:10 p.m. EDT
RUNLINE +1.5: -172
RUNLINE -1.5: +143
OVER 9.5: -115
UNDER 9.5: -105
Toronto is coming off a 5–2 loss to the White Sox in Chicago on Thursday night. They’re 5-5 in their last 10 games, and 18-16 on the road in 2021. Boston, meanwhile, is 6-4 over their last 10 and are 18-15 at home this season. They’re also 3-2 against the Blue Jays this season.
The Blue Jays are 4-4 straight up in games that Ross Stripling has started the season. Stripling, though, was hard hit by the Red Sox in his May 19 start in Dunedin. The 31-year-old lasted only 3.2 innings and coughed up six runs (all earned) on eight hits with no walks and three strikeouts in a 7–3 Boston victory.
Since that game, Stripling has been terrific. Over his last three appearances — a total of 17.0 innings — the right-hander has surrendered just two earned runs with four walks, 14 strikeouts and 11 hits. Toronto’s bats have also given Stripling some decent run support this season by scoring 5.0 runs in games he has started.
Red Sox starter Richards is 1-1 against the Blue Jays this season. The right-hander has given up six earned runs on 11 hits with 10 walks in 11.1 innings of work. The Red Sox are 6-6 on the money line when Richards gets the start this season, and they are scoring 4.5 runs per game for the 33-year-old pitcher.
Here’s why you’re taking the Blue Jays at +105: Toronto is an impressive 7-0 in their last seven road games versus a right-handed starter and 5-1 in their last six games following a loss. The Jays are also 8-3 straight up in their last 11 road games and 5-2 in their last seven contests as a road underdog. Richards has also been on the struggle bus at home this season. The righty has a 6.38 ERA in four starts at Fenway this year.
Here’s why you take the Red Sox at -127: Boston has owned the American League East this season. The Red Sox are 15-3 in their last 18 against the division. The BoSox are also 6-1 in their last seven games versus a right-handed starter. The Blue Jays are also 2-5 in their last seven games against a team with a winning record.
Here’s a trend that’s fun and might sway you in a certain direction. How about the Rebecca Black factor? The Red Sox are 7-0 in their last seven Friday games while the Blue Jays are 1-4 in their last five Friday matchups.
Diving into the total: The under is 4-0-1 in Toronto’s last five overall and 20-13-1 on the road this season. The over is 6-4 in games this season when Stripling is on the mound for Toronto while the under is 6-3-1 in games this season when Richards starts for Boston. The under is also 8-3 in the last 11 meetings between these teams in Beantown.
Picks: I lean taking the Blue Jays here at +105 with how well Stripling has pitched lately and how poor Richards has been at home. I also like the under at -105.
Player prop to watch: Garrett Richards versus Ross Stripling for most strikeouts. Richards -385, Stripling +225 (via Bodog)
Richards has only seven strikeouts in 11.1 innings against the Blue Jays in two starts this season, and only 12 strikeouts in 18.1 innings at Fenway Park this season. The righty, though, is averaging 8.03 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Stripling has picked up 14 strikeouts over his last 17.0 innings, but only had three in 3.2 innings in his last appearance against the Red Sox on May. Stripling is averaging 9.21 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
Factoring all that in — with Richards struggling at Fenway this season — there is no way I can justify taking him as such a big favourite. I think there is too much value in taking Stripling, so I like Toronto’s righty here at +225.