MLB Odds: Blue Jays Post-Hype Sleeper Pick In American League?

Written By Mo Nuwwarah on March 30, 2023
MLB Blue Jays odds

Opening Day is here, but baseball bettors need not worry if they feel they missed the boat on any futures MLB odds. Markets shouldn’t move much barring major injury in the next few days. So, there’s still time to get in a play on AL futures involving the Toronto Blue Jays. While the Yankees rate as the favorites in the AL East, and both the Yanks and Astros sit atop AL pennant futures, I like a play on Toronto this year as a bit of a “post-hype” play, though they could hardly be called a sleeper.

The 2022 Toronto Blue Jays entered the season with a lot of hype and largely failed to deliver. Sure, they made the playoffs as a wild card but exited in meek fashion, swept at home by the Mariners after a stunning Game 2 collapse. I think they have a great shot to exorcise those demons this year and make a run to the World Series.

Blue Jays MLB Futures Odds

Check our World Series odds and MLB odds pages to find the prices on any team you want to bet.

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Blue Jays Are A Well-Constructed Team

Once again, Toronto brings one of the best lineups in baseball to bear. Out the door went Teoscar Hernandez in a trade with the Mariners, but everyone else returns, along with some new additions. The Jays made a serious win-now commitment by trading uber-prospect Gabriel Moreno to bring in Daulton Varsho, who produced a 4.6 fWAR season and will be an impact defender in the outfield. Such defense was clearly an area of focus as the team also brought in Kevin Kiermaier. The outfield should be among the best in baseball defensively, and Matt Chapman’s defense anchors the infield as well.

FanGraphs projects only Atlanta to score more runs than Toronto. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. slipped badly in MVP odds this season after a down year. But, both I and the projections have optimism he can return to the form that had him breathing down Shohei Ohtani’s neck in 2021.

The Jays signed Chris Bassitt from the Mets to fortify an at times frustrating pitching staff. Bassitt has been solidly above average for multiple seasons now and makes for a strong top three with Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, a pair of studs. Beyond those two, things get dicey quickly, but Hyun-Jin Ryu will reportedly return this summer, and he and Mitch White make for solid options should things go awry with Yusei Kikuchi and Jose Berrios.

The bullpen was a bit of a weak point but looks roughly average with the addition of Erik Swanson in the aforementioned Hernandez trade. The possible additions of the starters who falter and longtime Yankees pen stalwart Chad Green (Tommy John surgery last June) would help here too.

Other AL Contenders

As mentioned, while the Jays are clearly a strong contender, the market sees the Astros and the Yankees as a couple of steps ahead of Toronto.

Houston Astros

Avid readers of my early MLB content will find it no surprise that I’m low on the Astros. I think they have a pretty shaky starting pitching rotation and just don’t view this team as the juggernaut they’ve been in recent seasons. More details in my treatise on the Angels, but things have not improved since then. In fact, the Astros have now lost Jose Altuve to a broken thumb for a couple of months. I’m skeptical of this team and included the under on them in portfolio of MLB win totals bets.

New York Yankees

The Yankees have a fascinating team, with an offense that, to me, looks quite reliant on another MVP-level campaign from Aaron Judge. Usually known for being the “Bronx Bombers,” they look more like the “Bronx 4-3ers” this year as nobody else in this lineup really scares you. And 11 WAR campaigns are tough to repeat.

Now, the pitching staff looked tremendous on paper entering the season. But, it’s already been beset by injury. Frankie Montas, Luis Severino and Carlos Rodon — arguably three of the team’s four best arms and certainly three of the five best — are already on ice to start the year.

Multiple injuries have already hit the (admittedly deep) bullpen as well, and defensive ace CF Harrison Bader is hurt, forcing Judge to start the year in center. Anthony Rizzo has already been groaning about a balky back this spring.

The Yankees at full strength look quite formidable, I’m just skeptical we’ll see it.

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Toronto Blue Jays Bets: AL East Futures (+200) And Win AL Pennant (+650)

In addition to the Yankees and Astros, I’m also lower than consensus on the Mariners and Guardians. So, that’s four of the top six AL contenders (per the markets) that I see as a bit weaker than their numbers.

Meanwhile, I think the NL is pretty properly priced all around.

So, when looking at Toronto Blue Jays futures odds, I think the value mostly lies in the AL side of things. Naturally, since I waxed poetic about them for almost 1,000 words now, I think a World Series play on the Jays () is fine.

But, I like AL East and AL pennant futures have a little more value. I got +215 and +675 on these, but the current MLB odds still look good to me just before Opening Day.

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Mo Nuwwarah Avatar
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Mo Nuwwarah

Mo Nuwwarah got his start in gambling early, making his first sports bet on his beloved Fab Five against the UNC Tar Heels in the 1993 NCAA tournament. He lost $5 to his dad and got back into sports betting years later during a 15-year run in the poker industry. A 2011 journalism graduate from Nebraska-Omaha, he combines those skills with his love of sports and statistics to help bettors make more informed decisions with a focus on pro football, baseball and basketball.

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