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MLB Betting – Tampa Bay vs. Toronto Preview & Pick

MLB Betting – Rays vs Blue Jays Preview & Pick

Is there still a glimmer of hope for the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East race?

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Bet on MLB – Rays vs. Blue Jays Preview & Pick
Date: Friday, August 26, 2011
Venue: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
Broadcast: SUN, RSN
Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays Betting Lines from BetUS.com
Money Line: Rays -139
Over/Under: 8.5
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Tampa Bay Rays (70-58 through August 24)
James Shields (11-10, 3.05)

Given how well they’ve played this month, a 7.5-game deficit (behind the Yankees for the Wild Card) doesn’t seem insurmountable. Tampa is 11-4 over its last 15 games.

The Rays will send James Shields to the hill against the pesky Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night at the Rogers Centre. While his overall numbers for the season still sparkle, Shields has had a strange second half so far, posting a 5.11 ERA and getting rocked for six-plus runs three times.

Shields has absolutely owned the Blue Jays in two starts this season, winning twice and allowing one earned run in 16.1 innings. He threw a complete-game shutout in his last trip to the Rogers Center.

Toronto Blue Jays (66-63 through August 24)
Henderson Alvarez (0-1, 4.32)

The Blue Jays continue to build their case as a hot sleeper pick for 2012 or 2013, as they’ve been a tough out all season long and they’re assembling a promising young roster. [ad-9316975]

The megahyped Brett Lawrie still has an OPS over 1.000 and a .328 average through 18 games; Jays fans are thrilled with the Colby Rasmus acquisition; Ricky Romero has become an ace; and Jose Bautista is up to 37 homers on the year.

Does youngster Henderson Alvarez fit into the future puzzle? Hard to say. Baseball America didn’t rank him among the Jays’ top 10 prospects to start this season. He’s winless over his first three starts but he’s shown decent control, walking three batters in 16.2 innings.

MLB Trends

Under is 12-3-1 in TB last 16 overall.
TB are 8-3 in their last 11 games on astroturf.
Under is 9-4-2 in TB last 15 Fri. games.
Under is 5-2-1 in TOR last 8 overall.
TOR are 36-15 in their last 51 Fri. games.
Over is 5-2-1 in the last 8 meetings in Toronto.
TB are 7-3 in the last 10 meetings.

MLB Free pick:

While Alvarez does have the element of surprise in his favor, he’s also had the luxury of facing two of baseball’s very worst lineups, the Oakland Athletics (twice) and the Seattle Mariners. Evan Longoria and the Rays will be a major step up in competition.

Given Alvarez’s inexperience and Shields’ utter dominance of the Jays this season, I’ll take my chances on the road team.

Rays vs Blue Jays prediction: Rays 4, Blue Jays 3

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About Shea Matthews

Shea Matthews the Senior Writer at CP. Lives and breathes sports. He made the transition from athlete to sports journalist at a young age, writing in TV & national papers. Shea applies his knowledge to sports betting + handicapping daily, and shares winning picks with the world.


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