The boys of summer are officially back, and that means it’s time to take a break from wagering on all of those hockey and basketball events and focus on some Major League Baseball betting.
Toronto brought in high-leverage reliever Erik Swanson, outfielder Kevin Kiermaier, starting pitcher Chris Bassitt, and catcher/outfield Daulton Varsho this offseason to boost the team’s chances of a deep playoff run after a disappointing exit in the Wild Card round last year.
Fans and bettors can expect a number of changes off the field, too. Rogers Centre, the home of the Blue Jays, underwent some serious offseason renovations. The bullpens have been raised beyond the outfield walls with the purpose of bringing fans closer to the wall and action. Four new “neighbourhoods” have also been added to the stadium, including bars and social areas for fans. Alterations were also made to the outfield dimensions and the height of the outfield walls, which could impact the rate that balls fly out of the ballpark this year.
Several modifications to the regular-season schedule were also made by the league. Teams will play more interleague games and less games against divisional opponents. This is especially important to note for the American League East Division, which has a reputation of being one of the most competitive divisions in baseball. Toronto, of course, is one of five teams in the division along with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, and Tampa Bay Rays.
In addition to the changes at Rogers Centre, there are plenty of league-wide rule changes that bettors should be aware of. Players will be forced to adjust to the implementation of a new pitch clock, defensive shift restrictions, limits on pitcher disengagements, and larger bases.
World Series and division odds
Most sportsbooks have the Blue Jays with the sixth-shortest odds (around +900) to win the World Series this year behind the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres. However, bettors can find a very nice price (+1300) on the Blue Jays over at NorthStar Bets, which is only available in the province of Ontario.
As far as odds to win the American League go, most sportsbooks have the Astros and Yankees with shorter odds than the Blue Jays to claim the pennant. In terms of AL East odds, only the Yankees have shorter odds than Toronto.
According to recent betting insights from BetMGM, the Blue Jays are accounting for 4.3% of tickets and 5.3% of the handle on their World Series futures odds. The New York Mets are drawing the most action to win it all at the sportsbook with 9.4% of the tickets and 13.7% of the handle.
|Sportsbook||World Series Odds||To Win American League||To Win American League East|
Season win total
Most sportsbooks have posted a regular-season win total somewhere between 91 and 93 for the Blue Jays this year.
BetMGM opened Toronto’s season win total at 93.5, but has since dropped that number to 91.5. In the sportsbook’s last betting trends update, 76% of tickets and 90% of the handle were on the over.
Two highly-respected MLB win projection systems, PECOTA and FanGraphs, are estimating that the Blue Jays will win 89 and 92 games, respectively.
|Sportsbook||Blue Jays Season Win Total||Over||Under|
Award futures odds
A few Blue Jays players have a realistic shot at earning some MLB awards hardware this year.
American League MVP
It’s awfully hard to bet against two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani for this award, but Vladimir Guerrero Jr. could realistically snatch his first American League MVP Award with a little luck and some big offensive numbers.
Bo Bichette has good value as a longshot at +3500, but he would have to put together a pretty special campaign and hope that some of the elite talents in the AL succumb to injuries or poor seasons.
|Vladimir Guerrero Jr.||+1400|
American League Cy Young
The Blue Jays have two legitimate horses in the race for the AL Cy Young this year.
Alek Manoah, the team’s opening day starter, is coming off a breakout 2022 campaign that saw him record 16 wins, a 3.35 FIP, and a 3.53 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Kevin Gausman transitioned very well in his first season in the AL after spending a new seasons in the National League. He went 12-10 with a 3.35 ERA in 31 starts for the Blue Jays last year. He also finished fifth in the AL in strikeouts with 205.
Player futures odds
Several Blue Jays have the ability to lead the league in several statistical categories this year.
Guerrero Jr. is +800 to hit the most home runs (second-shortest odds) and +800 to record the most RBIs (also the second-shortest odds) at NorthStar Bets.
Closer Jordan Romero also has a very good chance of leading the majors in saves after finishing fourth with 36 a year ago. With the addition of Swanson as the setup man this year, Romero may not be counted on for as many multi-inning saves and he may have a little more left in the tank towards the end of the season.
Bichette may also be worth a look to lead the league in hits (+900) or runs scored (+1500).
Starting on the road
The Blue Jays will kick off their 2023 campaign with a 10-game road trip before their home opener on April 11 against the Detroit Tigers. St. Louis will be the first stop for a three-game set before Toronto departs for Kansas City and then Los Angeles to play the Angels in sunny California.
Toronto is a -120 road favourite at bet365 in its season opener on Thursday. As previously stated, Manoah will take the mound for the Jays opposite Miles Mikolas for the Cardinals. Mother Nature can wreak havoc on early regular season games, but the weather looks favourable for Thursday with sunny skies and a high of 18 degrees Celsius.
Happy opening day to everyone and good luck with your bets this season.