MLB Betting Preview: Blue Jays vs. Rays (March 28) Odds

The Toronto Blue Jays will open their 2024 season on the road against their AL East rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays, on Thursday afternoon.

Both teams claimed AL Wild Card playoff spots last season but failed to advance past the opening round of the postseason. Toronto was swept in two games by the Minnesota Twins while Tampa dropped two straight games to the Texas Rangers.

Bet on Blue Jays vs. Rays

TOR +115
TB -135

PECOTA projections have both of these teams pegged as potential playoff teams again this season, with Toronto estimated to claim 88 wins and Tampa Bay 87. The New York Yankees (92) wins and the Baltimore Orioles (87 wins) are also projected to be playoff teams, making the AL East a potential battleground again this year.

Let’s dive into the odds via bet365 for the season opener:

Blue Jays vs. Rays odds

Blue Jays Moneyline Odds+115
Rays Moneyline Odds-135
Runline oddsRays -1.5 (+160), Blue Jays +1.5 (-190)
Over/Under7.5 runs (over -115, under -105)
Time/DateMarch 28, 4:10 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Sportsnet

All odds courtesy of

Betting Tampa Bay Rays

It’ll be an uphill battle for the Rays to claim a sixth straight playoff berth this season. The team traded away ace Tyler Glasnow to the Los Angeles Dodgers this winter and the status of superstar shortstop Wander Franco remains unknown as his sexual abuse case plays out in the Dominican Republic.

Much like the Jays (more on that below), the Rays have a ton of health concerns heading into the season opener, especially on the pitching side. Taj Bradley (pectoral), Jeffrey Springs (elbow), Shane Baz (oblique), Drew Rasmussen (elbow), and Shane McClanahan (elbow) are all dealing with serious ailments that will keep them out for varying amounts of time. On the positional side, Jonathan Aranda (finger), Brandon Lowe (oblique), Jonny DeLuca (hand), Taylor Walls (hip), and Yu Chang (hip) are all starting the season on the injured list.

This Rays team is starting the season with a ton of adversity and uncertainties, but they always seem to find a way to remain competitive and exceed expectations in one of baseball’s toughest divisions.

Betting Toronto Blue Jays

It’s been a roller coaster of an offseason for the Blue Jays who were reportedly finalists in the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes this winter. Of course, the two-way sensation ultimately ended up signing with the Dodgers, leaving Toronto’s team executives and fans devastated after missing out on a potential piece that could’ve put the team over the top in regards to World Series contention. But what’s more upsetting is that the team didn’t appear to have a Plan B, opting to sign a few mid-tier free agents instead of pursuing some of the big-name players available via free agency or trade.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Justin Turner, Yariel Rodriguez, and Joey Votto were added to the mix this offseason, but the team also lost defensive stalwart Matt Chapman, utilityman Whit Merrifield, and flamethrower Jordan Hicks. The Jays project once again as one of the top defensive teams in the majors this season, but the big question is whether or not the team will score enough runs to remain competitive. Toronto ranked 14th in runs scored, 16th in home runs, and 11th in OPS a year ago, while boasting one of the best pitching staffs in baseball (fourth in ERA, second in strikeouts, 10th in opponents’ batting average).

The team is also incredibly hobbled entering the season opener, with pitchers Erik Swanson (forearm), Jordan Romano (elbow), Alek Manoah (shoulder), and Kevin Gausman (shoulder) all encountering injury setbacks this spring to varying degrees. Outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (knee) and catcher Danny Jansen (wrist) are also dealing with injuries ahead of the season opener.

George Springer over 1.5 total bases


Probable pitchers

Tampa Bay: RHP Zach Eflin (last season: 16-8, 3.50 ERA, 9.42 K/9, 1.02 WHIP)

For the reasons mentioned above, Eflin has been elevated to the team’s Opening Day starter due to so many injuries in the starting rotation. But he’s certainly deserving of the nod after leading the Rays in innings pitched and tying for the American League lead with 16 wins last season. The righty boasts seven pitches in his arsenal, but he uses his sinker and curveball over 55% of the time. His fastball averages out to only 92.5 mph, so he relies on mixing it up to keep hitters off-balance. His career numbers are atrocious against the Jays, allowing 14 earned runs in just over 21 innings of work (5.64 ERA). Toronto’s batters have hit a scorching .500 against him across his five previous appearances against the team.

Toronto: RHP Jose Berrios (last season: 11-12, 3.65 ERA, 8.73 K/9, 1.19 WHIP)

Berrios gets the nod for the Jays in the opener due to Gausman’s injury setback this spring. This will be his second career Opening Day start and he’s enjoyed a fine spring, allowing just two earned runs over 13 of work while striking out nine batters. The veteran righty uses four pitch types — four-seamer, slurve, sinker, and changeup — and his fastball averages around 94 mph. Many of Berrios’ advanced metrics are around the league averages and he’s historically struggled a bit against the Rays, pitching to a 3-4 record with a 4.91 ERA across 10 career starts against them.


The weather is always pleasant inside the confines of the dome at Tropicana Field.

  • Toronto went just 21-31 (-19.3 units) on the moneyline against division opponents last season.
  • Tampa Bay is 898-929 (+44.9 units) on the moneyline against division opponents since 1997.
  • The Blue Jays were one of the better under plays in the majors last year, posting a 70-82-9 o/u record.
  • The Rays trended towards the over last year, posting an 89-68-4 o/u mark.
  • The Blue Jays have a 28-19 straight-up record on Opening Day.
  • Bo Bichette led the Jays with 45 spring at-bats and posted an impressive .378/.391/.533 slash line with a home run and six RBIs. However, he’s recorded just one hit in eight career at-bats against Eflin (.125 batting average).
  • Randy Arozarena led the Rays with three spring homers and he’s enjoyed some success against Berrios in his career, hitting .364 with a .917 OPS off Toronto’s starter while driving in a pair of runs in 11 career at-bats against him.

MLB bets to consider

  • Berrios to record over 15.5 outs: +105. Normally, taking the under on pitcher outs is a fine strategy on Opening Day because teams have fresh bullpens, but this is a special circumstance. If you can recall, Jays manager John Schneider made the controversial decision to pull Berrios early in the team’s season-ending playoff loss to the Minnesota Twins last year despite the righty allowing no runs through three-plus innings of work. The decision to go to the bullpen infamously backfired, with his replacement Yusei Kikuchi immediately coughing up a pair of runs en route to a 2-0 Toronto loss, and Schneider was roasted for Berrios’ early hook. Schneider owes Berrios an extended leash here, and I’m betting the Jays starter runs with it and turns in a quality outing to quietly spite his manager. Another factor to consider is that Toronto won’t have two high-leverage relievers (Swanson and Romano) available for this contest, so some extra length from Berrios will certainly be welcomed if he’s humming along. The Jays will open the season with seven games in seven days, so conserving the bullpen should be a priority.
  • George Springer over 1.5 total bases: +130. The veteran Jays outfielder hit a blistering .415 with three home runs and a 1.217 OPS in 41 spring at-bats and he’s a perfect 1-for-1 at the plate in his career against Eflin. And Jays fans and bettors might remember Springer’s five-hit outburst in the season opener last season against the St. Louis Cardinals that tied the MLB record for the most hits ever by a player on Opening Day.