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Toronto Blue Jays at Houston Astros Betting Preview

Friday night will feature an American League showdown of East versus West as the Toronto Blue Jays (8-5) take on the Houston Astros (6-6). The Astros will host this one at Minute Maid Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:10 pm ET.

After dropping the first game of the series, Toronto has now won back-to-back games to win their three-game series over the Boston Red Sox. On Thursday, they took down Boston 3-2.

Kevin Gausman was fantastic for Toronto in the win, going eight innings and allowing just a single run. Matt Chapman had a big night for the Blue Jays, going three for four with a run batted in.

After getting out the gates to a 4-1 start, Houston has scuffled lately, losing five of their last seven games. In their last game, on Wednesday, they were shutout by Shohei Ohtani and the Angels.

In fact, they managed just one hit in that game, a single by Jason Castro. Jake Odorizzi gave up all six runs in the first inning thanks to two hits and four walks.

The Astros are the favorites playing at home. They are -164 to win while the Blue Jays’ moneyline sits at +138. The runline features Toronto +1.5 (-156), and the over/under for total runs is 8.5.

Pitching Matchup

Toronto will send righty Ross Stripling (0-0, 3.00 ERA) to the mound for the opener of this series. In his last start, Stripling threw four scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s in a no-decision.

The Astros will counter with ace Justin Verlander (1-1, 0.69 ERA). He has been sensational to start this season after missing last year due to Tommy John surgery. In a win over the Mariners his last time out, Verlander threw eight scoreless innings, striking out eight.

Toronto Tries To Keep Up Power Surge

In just 13 games thus far, the Blue Jays are tied for the league lead in home runs with 16. With a powerful lineup from top to bottom, they make for a pitcher’s nightmare, and they will try to continue that wreaking havoc against opponents as they take on Verlander and the Astros Friday.

The hottest hitter on the Blue Jays, and one of the hottest in MLB, has been Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In 46 at bats, he is hitting .304/.377/.674 with five home runs, 11 runs batted in, and eight runs scored. He leads the team in all three of those categories.

Also, keep an eye out for George Springer in this one. The former Astro is hitting .385 in 13 career at bats against Verlander with a home run.

Astros Trying To Right The Ship

It is early, but there are concerns around Houston that the championship window may be closing. They have gotten off to a dreadful start offensively and have lost by five or more runs in their last four losses.

They are also dealing with a bit of the injury bug as Jose Altuve (hamstring), Lance McCullers Jr. (flexor strain), and Ryan Pressly (knee) are all on the injured list.

Offensively, Houston’s most consistent hitter has actually been rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena. Faced with the tall task of replacing Carlos Correa, Pena is hitting .308/..364/.590 with two home runs in 39 at bats to start the season.

Against Stripling, Yuli Gurriel (three for four) and Aledmy Diaz (three for seven, home run) have both had some success.

Take Toronto And The Runs

Without a doubt, Justin Verlander has come out this season, proving he is healthy and looking like the Cy Young candidate of old. Just taking the mound in his first two starts has given the Astros a good chance of winning the game.

Until the Astros bats get it figured out, though, it is hard to have too much confidence in them. They are too deep and talented to not get it figured out, but for now, there is just a lot more optimism in Toronto’s offense.

At the very least, there is a ton of value in taking Toronto on the runline.

Take the Blue Jays +1.5 (-156).

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