Baseball Picks: Oakland at Toronto

The Toronto Blue Jays completed a series sweep to take over sole possession of first place in the American League East standings Thursday and tonight they’ll open a three-game set against the top team in the West when the Athletics travel north of the border.

Toronto pounded out 20 runs over three games at Fenway Park this week, boosting the team’s batting average against lefties to .248 on the year and improving their road record to 16-11. At home the Jays are still a game under .500 (10-11) and struggling to hit southpaws (.210) but they’ll have a chance to bolster that number against Scott Kazmir (5-1, 2.39 ERA).

 

The Jays won’t have the benefit of hitting against the Green Monster in left but Toronto is 10-5 O/U vs. lefty starters this year scoring 5.5 runs per game (RPG) and at home they are 4-3 O/U with 5.7 RPG. Kazmir’s having a good season and Toronto’s numbers against him aren’t stellar but the team is on a roll and they are getting plus money here as Liam Hendriks makes his 2014 debut. Online sports betting shops favor the A’s -125 with a posted total around 9 OV (-110).

 

Hendrickson is 5-0 in the minors this season and he stood his ground for two games against Oakland (2012-13) but each of those games was played at much more ‘hitter friendly’ parks (Target Field, Oakland Coliseum). We’re not sure what to expect from Hendrickson tonight but the A’s have been on the road for a week and their scoring between series’ at Cleveland (30 runs) and Tampa (eight runs) was night and day. Factor in the border crossing and Oakland’s normally high-powered offense may be running out of gas.

 

Still, Rogers Centre can provide a spark to any lineup and for tonight’s play we’ve left the A’s offense and “Hendrickson factor” out of the mix. We also took into account of baseball systems including one for home dogs on a hot streak that’s produced a 56-38 (60-percent) record since 2008 when the total is between 9-12 runs. Here is another angle for Toronto at home off a road game backed by the SDQL at SportsDatabase.com:

SDQL: team = Blue Jays and HD and SG = 1 and season >= 2005 and p:A

 

The Jays are only 13-21 SU in this spot but the scoring averages for both sides are astronomical (5.6 to 6.4) with games finishing over the total by an average of 3.0 runs per game. The recent run since the start of 2012 is 7 overs and 2 unders and it led us to our top play for Friday night.

Pick: Take the Blue Jays Team Total OVER 4 runs (-115)

 

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