Predicted to be the top two teams in the AL East, the Yankees and Blue Jays will get an early glimpse at what the division has to offer. The new-look Blue Jays bring in a number of exciting faces to help their youthful movement. Meanwhile, the Yankees welcome back fans to the stadium as they look to set the tone for the 2021 season.
Free Picks: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees
Is Opening Day a glimpse into the future?
Entering the 2021 season, I think it’s safe to say that the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays will fight for the AL East crown. A title passed around between the Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, and Blue Jays in recent years, it appears to be a two-team battle for the division in 2021.
The first of April should provide an electric feel as fans welcome back professional baseball. Gerrit Cole gets the nod for the hometown Yankees, while Hyun-Jin Ryu will be on the bump for the visiting Blue Jays.
These two studs have me already thinking about my free picks and predictions.
Cole gets his second Opening Day start for the Yankees. The right-handed flamethrower tallied a 2.84 ERA in 12 starts last season. He finished the regular season with a 7-3 record during the shortened year as well.
As for Ryu, he proved to be the Blue Jays’ ace last season. Toronto pushed the envelope and silenced critics to the postseason. In 2020, Ryu picked up a 2.69 ERA.
If the game manages to reach the respective bullpens for each team, expect relief pitching to not be at full capacity. Aroldis Chapman (NYY) is unavailable due to a suspension, while Kirby Yates (TOR) will miss the entire season.
With those two not seeing action on Thursday, expect that to impact the run line or total runs later in the game.
Speaking of potential impacts, Yankee stadium will be open to fans on Thursday. Granted, the usual raucous Yankee faithful will be limited to 20% capacity, but New York will feel what it’s like to have home-field advantage once again.
Do fans dramatically impact MLB odds? I wouldn’t necessarily say so. Even with the 10-thousand or so fans spread out across Yankee stadium, it should still be business as usual for both New York and the Blue Jays.
Circling back to the pitching matchup, Cole faced the Blue Jays once during Spring Training. In his only appearance against the Jays, Cole held Toronto to a solo home run over five strong innings. Toronto managed to secure four hits off Cole, who also walked one and fanned eight.
The Yankees have not seen Ryu since September of 2020. The lefty has been reported to have seen an uptick in fastball velocity, which should help him mix pitches even more effectively.
I think for this BetPicks prediction I need to focus on the total runs. With two aces starting, I see this being a low-scoring affair. The Yankees have not seen Ryu or any of his improvements since 2020. Meanwhile, Cole is one of the best pitchers in the Major Leagues and has a career ERA of 3.19, but an ERA of 2.84 in New York.
- Cole is 3-0 against Toronto in 3 last starts.
- The Yankees have won 5 straight games at home against Toronto.
- Ryu allowed 0 earned runs against New York in last start.
- The over has cashed in 12 of Toronto’s last 17 games.
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have always wanted to be a writer and sports are my favorite thing in the world, so I combined the two to make a career. I have been a long-time gambler and sports betting writer that isn't afraid to look at the underdog or specials. I am covering the NHL, MLB and NCAA Football for BetPicks.ca and am a huge fan of both sports - as well as many others. Follow me on Twitter (@Patrick_Trudeau) so we can talk betting, sports, or why ketchup DOES belong on Poutine.
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