- The Tampa Bay Rays will host the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 1 on Tuesday at 5:00 PM ET at Tropicana Field
- The pitching matchup will be Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA) versus Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2, 2.69 ERA)
- The Rays were 6-4 against the Jays this season
The #1 seed Tampa Bay Rays and #8 Toronto Blue Jays will start their best-of-three Wild Card Series on Tuesday at 5:00 PM ET at Tropicana Field in Tampa. The Rays are favored with Blake Snell on the mound, while the Jays counter with Hyun-Jin Ryu.
Jays vs Rays Game 1 Odds
|Toronto Blue Jays (H. Ryu)||+166||+1.5 (-125)||Over 7.5 (-101)|
|Tampa Bay Rays (B. Snell)||-185||-1.5 (+105)||Under 7.5 (-119)|
All odds as of September 28th at FanDuel.
The Rays won the regular season head-to-head 6-4. Will they have the edge in the playoff series too?
Ryu Was Reliable This Season
Supposed still in the midst of a rebuild, the talented-but-young Jays surprised a lot of people when they signed Ryu in the offseason. The move paid immediate dividends. Ryu finished eighth in the majors in ERA (2.69), 20th in WHIP (1.15), and was the only reliable starter in a shaky Toronto pitching staff.
While he was hit hard in his first two starts, he was mostly stellar the rest of the way.
Hyun-Jin Ryu introduces himself to Blue Jays fans (in English and French!) pic.twitter.com/xCRddSK3Sw
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) December 27, 2019
Taking a look at Ryu’s numbers over the last two months, he allowed one or zero earned runs in eight of his final 10 starts. The Jays won eight of those games, so they should feel confident with him on the bump.
Ryu made two starts against the Rays this season, posting a 3.72 ERA while holding them to a .192 batting average.
Snell Finished Strong
The Rays were careful not to overwork an injury-plagued Snell this season after injuries limited him to just 107 innings in 2019.
He never pitched more than 5.2 innings and he threw 92 pitches or fewer in eight of his 11 outings. He was effective in the 50 innings he did pitch, finishing with a 3.24 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP, though he’s still a long way from his 2018 Cy Young season (1.89 ERA, 0.97 WHIP).
Snell has had some issues with home runs, allowing eight in his last seven starts. The good news is most of those problems were on the road. He gave up eight home runs in 29 innings of work on the road compared to just two home runs in 21 innings at home.
Both Teams Facing Lefties
With both of Tuesday’s starters being lefties, it’s worth noting how both teams perform against left-handed pitching. The Rays were just 9-8 against lefties this season and cost bettors 4.0 units. Meanwhile, the Jays were 12-8 against lefties, producing 4.6 units of profit.
What’s the Best Bet?
Both teams enter the postseason with momentum. The Jays won six of their final eight games while the Rays finished their regular-season campaign going 12-4 in their final 16 contests.
While it feels like a steep price to pay here for the Rays, they are the better team. They were 13-4 against teams with a winning record while the Jays were just 15-12. The Rays are also a healthy 6-1 when the total is seven or lower (and 31-15 in their last 46) and were 9-1 playing with a day off. A number of those trends point to this being a good spot for Tampa Bay.
The Rays also have home-field advantage, which should be a key here. They were 20-9 at home this season while the Jays were 15-19 in “away” games (though their “home” games were in Buffalo).
Lay the juice with Snell and the Rays in Game 1.
Pick: Rays moneyline (-185)
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