This article is part of our MLB Picks series.
MLB Postseason Betting: Best Bets for Twins vs. Blue Jays, Game 1
OCTOBER IS HERE! It's a Wild Card bonanza on Tuesday afternoon with a four-game slate. Johnny V is focusing on one game in particular, so let's enjoy the ride
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Toronto Blue Jays (+100) @ Minnesota Twins (-118) | Over/Under 7.5
In any sport, we often find that the teams that barely make it into the postseason end up being the most dangerous. The Toronto Blue Jays have been in playoff mode for the past month, so the added pressure of playing in the postseason probably doesn't faze them. After a disgusting collapse against Seattle in 2022, the Jays will look to make amends. They will battle the AL Central champion Minnesota Twins. Tuesday features a strong starting pitching duel of a pair of 200+ K arms in Kevin Gausman and Pablo Lopez.
Gausman has now registered three straight years of 200+ punchouts, but 2023 was truly a marvelous season for him with a career-high 237, second in the MLB to only Spencer Strider. KG's breakout in 2021 with the San Francisco Giants at first had me thinking of a fluke season, but after the recent run he's been on, maybe he was just a late bloomer. After becoming the true ace of this Toronto staff, Gausman will need a big start to help the Blue Jays pull off this upset on the road.
Toronto has definitely not been the team a lot of people expected, but they still have plenty of firepower with players like Vladdy Jr, Bo Bichette, and George Springer. In the AL, I can't help but circle this team as one to watch out for while a lot of people have their eyes on Baltimore, Houston, Texas etc. If the Jays click and play to their potential, they can inflict serious damage in October. Their first adversary is Pablo Lopez coming off a career year in his first season as a Twin.
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Lopez uncharacteristically racked up a ton of punchouts in 2023. His 234 K's were not only a career best by a wide margin, but tied for third most in the MLB. While the 3.66 ERA was a tad high, Pablo managed to become an integral part of this Twins' staff that has some arms. He's coming off a rough-ish end to the regular season, allowing 11 earned runs in only three starts across 15.1 innings. Most of the damage on Lopez has been done in Minnesota this year, with that home ERA in the 4.21 territory, while the road ERA is only 3.10. This is definitely more of an advantage for Toronto to be facing Pablo in his more vulnerable place. The thing that is the big X-Factor of the game is the 24 taters the righty has surrendered. The Jays have been middle of the pack this year in that department, but they have some boppers in this lineup.
I think Minnesota is a solid team, but a bit overhyped all season. They play in a division where 79 wins would have locked it up for them. While 87 wins is a strong number, they would have finished fourth had they been in the AL West and AL East. Gausman gets the nod for me over Lopez, so I believe the Blue Jays steal game one on the road.
MLB Best Bet Today
- Toronto ML +100