MLB Play of the Day – Braves at Blue Jays

Only two of the last 12 visitors to Toronto have scored fewer than five runs to start a series when coming off a loss


The Atlanta Braves are making their first trip north of the border since 2008 Monday for the start of a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays and our baseball handicapping crew has circled this game for an MLB Best Bet!


Tim Hudson (4-3, 4.98) will start for the Braves and he’s helped pad the pockets of “Over” bettors the past month, going 5-0-1 O/U after starting the season with 1 over and 3 unders. The Jays counter with Mark Buehrle (1-3, 5.90) and although he’s riding a three-game streak to the “Under”, the veteran left-hander pitched 3 overs and 1 unders last season against Atlanta when he was with the Florida Marlins.


The Braves averaged 6.0 runs per game (RPG) in those four games and Buehrle was good for about 5 innings pitched (IP) and roughly 3.5 RPG. This year Buehrle is getting around 6 IP and surrendering 4.0 earned runs (ER) per start.


MLB odds for this contest favor the Braves -113 and the total is set at 9 Over -105.



Atlanta’s stats against left-handed pitching this year don’t compare with the team’s 30-19 record which has led them atop the NL East standings but look at some of the talent they’ve faced:


Hyun-Jin Ryu (5-2, 3.30), Patrick Corbin (8-0, 1.70), Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 2.89), Cliff Lee (5-2, 2.48) and even throw Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke (5-1, 2.45) into the mix, who has surprised a lot of people this season and you get the impression that it’s not so much Atlanta’s hitting causing the shortfall. Here’s a link from showcasing the Braves betting stats vs. southpaw pitching:


SDQL: team=Braves and o:STL and season=2013


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In Hudson’s 10 starts the Braves are scoring 4.7 RPG and in four of the last six they’ve hit five runs or more. It was Ian Kennedy (7.34 K/9) and Matt Cain (8.17 K/9) who slowed Atlanta down but Buehrle’s (4.44 K/9) stats pale in comparison and Toronto as a team rank 26th with just 6.89 strikeouts per nine innings.


The Jays bullpen ranks 15th overall with a 3.84 ERA and it’s worth noting that one of their more reliable  weapons, lefty Aaron Loup, is likely unavailable after tossing three innings the past two days against Baltimore.



Border crossing deserve extra attention for sports betting and the SDQL at offers a few profiles supporting today’s play. First, we note that the Blue Jays home record in the first game of a series is .519 the past 10 years with scoring averages of 5.1 (for) and 4.8 (against).


In 2013 the Jays are 5-4 at home to open a series with 6 overs and 3 unders. One of the low scoring games came against Felix Hernandez, another involved RA Dickey and Justin Masterson (7-3, 3.20) and the third was Buehrle against the light-hitting Chicago White Sox lineup that ranks 26th in league scoring at 3.69 RPG.


SDQL: team=Blue Jays and H and SG=1 and season=2013


Toronto’s winning percentage for game 1 falls if the team was also home for the previous series and the runs per game allowed (RPGA) rises slightly to 4.9. If Toronto’s opponent is coming off a loss that team has a nice 42-34 win-loss record (5.2 RPG) and those figures including a current streak of 9-3 with 6.0 runs scored per contest.


– Only two of the 12 teams in this sample scored fewer than five runs (3 and 4); Check numbers here:


SDQL: team=Blue Jays and H and SG=1 and p:H and op:L and date>=20110812


If Toronto’s opponent is coming off a loss in a night game, such as the Braves in this current situation, the visitor still averages 5.4 RPG with a record of 22 overs and 12 unders. You can even account for “rest” and as you can see here, only one of 13 games since Aug. 21, 2009 finished with fewer than nine total runs.


SDQL: team=Blue Jays and H and SG=1 and p:H and op:L and op:NGT and o:rest=0 and date>=20090821



We are strong advocates of the betting strategy to keep the majority of your plays at an equal unit size but when the numbers are right, we’ll occasionally (less than 5-percent of the time) suggest upping the ante on a best bet. This is our first best bet of the 2013 season so hopefully it can help boost your bankroll.

Pick: Take the Braves Team Total Over 4.5 (-108)


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