The Toronto Blue Jays (18-16) will face the Atlanta Braves (17-18) to close out a three-game series on Thursday, and to wrap up their six-game season series. Toronto won the first four games in 2021 by a combined 16 runs, and three of those four games were won by the bullpen. The Braves, coming off a National League East crown and an NLCS appearance, are off to an unexpectedly slow start. They’ve won five of their past seven, but they’re still scrapping to get over .500.
Free Picks: Toronto Blue Jays vs Atlanta Braves
Despite recent head-to-head success, Blue Jays are rightful underdogs
Don’t get it twisted: The Toronto Blue Jays were supposed to take a positive step forward in 2021, thanks to some impactful offseason signings and the continued development of young stars like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. So far, despite a mountain of injuries (and the most injured list assignments of any team in baseball), the early returns have been pretty good.
Toronto has been particularly excellent against the Atlanta Braves, winning their first four matchups this season. With that said, the Braves are a better team than they’ve shown themselves to be, which makes their positioning as -141 money line favorites (10Bet) quite reasonable among Thursday’s MLB picks. The Blue Jays, who are 4-4 on their current road trip, are +120 money line underdogs (10Bet).
Any Blue Jays starter not named Hyun Jin Ryu or Robbie Ray has given the team some problems this season. That includes Thursday’s starter, Ross Stripling (0-2, 6.61 ERA), who has only made it through five innings once in his four starts. On the other side, the Braves starter 37-year-old Charlie Morton (2-2, 4.98 ERA), who has definitely been better but is coming off his worst (and weirdest) start.
Morton allowed six runs — none of which were earned — last Friday in a loss to the Phillies. He only recorded two outs in the process. Morton has also allowed a home run in each of his past five starts. Given that the Blue Jays have hit the most home runs in the American League (49), that’s a nice piece of information that “swings” in their favor.
But do you know the only team with more home runs than Toronto? That’s right, it’s Atlanta! The Braves have 51 homers, including 13 in nine games this month. Ronald Acuna leads the majors with 11 of his own, but don’t forget about reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman (nine) or Marcel Ozuna (five), either.
This team has more to give, we really believe that. The bullpen hasn’t been great (4.56 ERA, 22nd in MLB), and that’s what cost Atlanta in Tuesday’s loss to Toronto. But there’s enough fire — and then some —in Atlanta’s offense to match the likes of Guerrero and Bichette on the other side.
Give the Blue Jays crediting for winning the season series against the Breaves, but for this BetPicks prediction we anticipate Atlanta getting the last laugh.
- Toronto is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in seven of the Blue Jays’ past 10 games
- Atlanta is 5-5 on the money line in its past 10
- The UNDER has cashed in six of the Braves’ past eight games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).
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