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The Toronto Blue Jays will begin a four-game set with the host New York Yankees on Thursday. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET from Yankee Stadium. Coverage will be on each team’s regional sports channel as well as MLB.TV. 

This will be a pitching duel between a pair of righties. Jose Berrios will take the mound for the Blue Jays. Frankie Montas is the starting pitcher for the Yankees. Berrios is 8-5 with an ERA of 5.61. Montas has a 4-9 record and his ERA is 3.59. 

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Prior to the action on Aug. 17, the Blue Jays were third in the AL East and 9.5 games behind the division leading Yankees. The Blue Jays are in the last Wild Card spot and have a run differential of +47. The Blue Jays are 1-4 in their last five contests. Most recently the Blue Jays dropped a pair at home from the AL East rival Baltimore Orioles

Before the games on Aug. 17, the Yankees had the second-best record in the AL, behind only the AL West best Houston Astros. The Yankees have the second-best run differential in MLB (+195), as only the Los Angeles Dodgers have a better margin. The Yankees are 1-4 in their five games. The last victory for the Yankees was when they edged the rival Boston Red Sox 3-2 in Boston on Aug. 13. 

Berrios has allowed 138 hits, 26 home runs, and 31 walks with 108 strikeouts in 122 innings. The Blue Jays are 3-2 in Berrios’ last five outings. In Berrios’ last game vs. the Cleveland Guardians on Aug. 12, he gave up eight earned runs and two home runs in four innings. 

Montas has given up 101 hits, 13 home runs, and 33 walks plus 115 strikeouts in 112.2 innings. The Yankees acquired Montas from the Oakland A’s at midseason. The Yankees are 1-1 in Montas’ first two outings. In those contests, Montas has combined for eight earned runs, 10 hits, and six strikeouts in eight innings. 

Before the contests on Aug. 17, the Blue Jays ranked second in batting average (.263), fourth in slugging percentage (.432), fifth in on-base percentage (.325), and RBI (525) and seventh in home runs (147). Left fielder Lourdes Gurriel Jr. leads the Blue Jays in batting average (.307). Catcher Alejandro Kirk is tops for the Blue Jays in on-base percentage (.380). First baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has team-highs in home runs (25) and RBI (72) and hits (126).

Prior to the contests on Aug. 17, the Yankees ranked first in home runs (192), second in RBI (571), third in slugging percentage (.434) and on-base percentage (.326), and 17th in batting average (.241). Right fielder Aaron Judge leads the Yankees across the board in batting average (.297), home runs (46), RBI (100), on-base percentage (.394) and hits (126). Third baseman DJ LeMahieu has 109 hits and an on-base percentage of .381. First baseman Anthony Rizzo is second on the Yankees in home runs (27) and RBI (67). 

The Yankees are favored by 1.5 runs vs. the Blue Jays. For the money line, it’s Blue Jays +122 and Yankees -144. The over/under is set for 8.5 runs. Why not bet on the Blue Jays vs Yankees?

Leading up to the games on Aug. 17, the Blue Jays were 49-65-1 against the spread overall and 26-29 against the spread on the road. For over/under, the Blue Jays were 59-54-2 overall and 29-25-1 on the road. 

Heading into the contests on Aug. 17, the Yankees were 52-65 against the spread overall and 26-32 against the spread at home. In terms of over/under, the Yankees were 56-57-4 overall and 28-28-2 at home. 

The Yankees will use their explosive offense to cover the spread and defeat the Blue Jays in the series opener.

Written by Rolando Rosa, our US sports betting industry expert.