Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

Tuesday's Best Bet

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Tuesday MLB Betting Preview
Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays (7:05 p.m. ET)

The doldrums of September are in full swing in MLB action right now as the market as a whole has cooled off in the sport for a variety of reasons. One of those being that football is back at the pro and collegiate level and everyone knows football is king when it comes to sports betting, but September baseball betting can also be tricky in it's own right.

You get plenty of highly juiced favorites (i.e. the playoff bound/contenders) facing teams that are just counting down the days until the season is over, call-ups from the minors – especially starting pitchers – getting a crack at this level making it harder to know what to expect from these relative unknowns, and plenty of motivation questions overall.

Today's MLB board is pretty good in terms of heavy juiced favorites relative to say the weekend or last week, but it's those last two points – minor league starters and questionable motivation – that are relevant to tonight's Red Sox/Blue Jays game up there in Toronto.

MLB Odds: Boston (-160) vs Toronto (+150); Total set at 10.5

I'll begin with the minor-league pitching side of that equation first, as the Toronto Blue Jays give TJ Zeuch his first career MLB start this evening. Zeuch did come in as a relief guy behind an opener last week so it's not going to be his MLB debut, but a guy's first start is always a big deal. Zeuch gets to do it at home and Jays fans are hoping he's the one that can help end the current seven-game losing streak they are on. He does have some quality stuff as he threw a no-hitter in the minors in late-August, and as part of this young core the Jays organization has been building for some time now, it's time to let him grow at this level too.

There could be easier lineups to face for Zeuch in his first start than the formidable Red Sox lineup, but it's hard not to question Boston's motivation right now. They dropped three of four with the Yankees over the weekend to fall to eight games out of a Wildcard spot, as their season is effectively over. No real shot at getting the opportunity to defense their title with another playoff run, and that dismal weekend set vs New York likely pounded that reality home for Boston.

And yet here they are, laying 60 cents on the road against a Jays team that doesn't have anything to play for either in 2019. But Toronto is playing for 2020 and beyond with the youthful talent they've got, and this seven-game losing streak against playoff bound teams – Houston, Atlanta, Tampa – has been rough. Six of those seven losses were on the road though, and a return home to face a disinterested Red Sox team may be just what the doctor ordered for Toronto tonight.

Sure, there are more known commodities over on the Boston side of things, but it's not like Nathan Eovaldi has been all that great since returning from the DL in late-August. The Red Sox have eased him back into things with one more inning pitched in each consecutive start, but he's given up runs in all four of those outings, a HR in three of them, and it's not like the Blue Jays can't hit. They've got plenty of mashers growing into their MLB skin right now, and the moral victory they could obtain by beating the defending champs late in the year would have to be considered a positive for the growth and development of this organization.

So while there are plenty of MLB September strategies discussing backing the 'haves' (playoff teams) vs the 'have nots' (vacation bound teams) right now, it is surprising to see so much love for Boston tonight when you look at the betting percentage numbers at VegasInsider.com. They are showing 80%+ of support for Boston on the road in about as flat of a spot as it gets for them, and it's just something I do not agree with at all. Yes, Toronto falls into the 'have not' category, but they aren't losing games right now for lack of interest, there is a much bigger picture in mind for them.

If Zeuch can come out and take advantage of the fact that no Boston hitter has ever faced him before and the Jays bats can stake him to an early lead, Toronto is more of a live 'dog' tonight then 80% of the market currently believes they are. It's hard to believe Boston has anything left in the tank after coming up short the way they did vs New York – scored just 6 runs in the final 27 innings of that series – and the young Jays that are hungry for a win take full advantage of that fact tonight.

Best Bet: Toronto ML



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