Toronto at Texas ALDS Game 1 Betting Preview

Posted by Peter Boysen on October 5, 2016 in

A year ago, the Texas Rangers roared back in the second half of the season to catch and pass the Houston Astros for the American League West title. They then took the first two games of their AL Division Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, only to fall in the next three, as shortstop Elvis Andrus melted down in Game 5 with three errors and Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista hit a home run and launched a bat flip that went viral on social media — and prompted a right cross to the jaw when tempers flared on May 15, when Bautista slid into second too aggressively for the liking of second baseman Rougned Odor, whose punch earned him a lengthy suspension but went viral all on its own. After Toronto’s Edwin Encarnacion went deep in the 11th inning of their wild card matchup against the Baltimore Orioles, the Blue Jays have emerged to take on the Rangers in the postseason for the second year in a row. Check out our MLB odds for the entire postseason.

Toronto at Texas ALDS Game 1 Betting Preview & TV Info

When: Thursday, October 6, 2016, 4:38pm ET
Where: Globe Life Park, Arlington, TX
RadioToronto / Texas
Live Stream:
Pitching Matchup: TBA (TOR) vs Cole Hamels (TEX)

Why should you bet on the Blue Jays?

Toronto is built to bash the ball, and they have six players who had at least 20 home runs during the regular season. In the wild card game, they scored four of their five runs on the long ball, including that three-run Jimmy Jack by Encarnacion. However, Toronto’s real strength is its pitching staff, as the Blue Jays finished tops in the American League for ERA (3.78) and opposing batting average (.242). Aaron Sanchez (3.00 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) came out as the team’s true ace; in his last start of the regular season, he had 6+ no-hit innings against Boston. J.A. Happ put together 20 wins, and Marco Estrada (3.48 ERA) and Francisco Liriano (2.92 ERA) all have solid stuff, so manager John Gibbon has a lot of choices for Thursday’s starter.

Why should you put your money on the Rangers?

The Rangers open the series with Cole Hamels (15-5, 3.32 ERA, 1.306 WHIP). He had some yips in August and early September but settled back down in his last two starts of the season to show dominant form. The Rangers faltered against Toronto last year because the Blue Jays had the heftier lineup. In addition to third baseman Adrian Beltre, already a strong member of the order, the Rangers added center fielder Ian Desmond (22 HR, .285) in the off-season and picked up catcher Jonathan Lucroy (.276 in 47 games) and Carlos Beltran (.280 in 52 games) at the trade deadline and then claimed Carlos Gomez (.284 in 33 games) off waivers from Houston. The bullpen features setup man Matt Bush (2.48 ERA, 61 IP) and closer Sam Dyson (38 saves, 2.43 ERA). The Rangers have been put together so that they won’t end up on the short end offensively this year, and they rode that lineup to 95 wins this season.

My Betting Pick and Final Score Prediction

Much of the Rangers’ season has focused on motivation to get past the Division Series, and seeing the team that knocked them out last year should provide additional motivation. However, the Blue Jays also come in with a ton of momentum after that extra-innings victory. I like Hamels to set down the Blue Jay offense in Game 1 and for Texas to come away with a 4-3 win.