Trust the Expert! Blue Jays vs Tigers Betting Preview with Winning Odds & Pick

Trust the Expert! Blue Jays vs Tigers Betting Preview with Winning Odds & Pick

A lot of Toronto Blue Jays fans make the relatively short trip to see their team when the Jays make their annual visit about 370 miles away to Detroit, and that’s surely the case on Thursday night as the clubs face off for the first time this season to open a four-game series.

The Tigers are favored on the MLB odds.

MLB Wagerline Tigers -130, Blue Jays +120 (total 8)
Expert Pick Tigers 4, Blue Jays 3

Toronto Blue Jays Betting Pick -110

Jays pitcher Bowden Francis (forearm) threw about 45 pitches for Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday in what’s expected to be his final rehab appearance and he could be activated this weekend – although surely not for Thursday’s game. Francis (2-2, 8.59( began the season in the Blue Jays’ rotation, but he should fill a long-relief role in the big-league bullpen when he returns.

Toronto is vastly underachieving because the lineup hasn’t hit near as well as expected. But catcher Danny Jansen has hit great with a 1.043 OPS in limited action due to injury. He has seven multi-hit games.

There’s something called a launch-angle sweet spot, which applies to anything hit between eight and 32 degrees off the bat. Jansen does this better than anyone on the Toronto roster by far. Of the 402 MLB hitters with at least 25 batted balls this season, Jansen ranks 5th in launch-angle sweet spot percentage at 49.2%. As a team, the Blue Jays’ rate is just 33.8%. They are tied for last in average exit velocity (87.8 mph), so the Blue Jays need to give these balls in play a chance.

Toronto hitters rank 3rd among AL clubs in pitches per plate appearance (3.98) this season and second in the AL in fewest strikeouts. Defensively, the Jays rank 1st among all MLB teams in Outs Above Average (16) while sitting behind the Dodgers (35) and Royals (30) for the most Defensive Runs Saved in MLB (29).

It’s right-hander Kevin Gausman on the mound, and he has underwhelmed for the most part as a spring AL Cy Young favorite. Gausman (2-3) came away with a no-decision in last Saturday’s 5-4 loss to the Rays, giving up three runs on eight hits and a walk over six innings. He struck out six. The veteran cruised through five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Two base hits and a walk would load the bases with two outs. Amed Rosario knocked a single to plate two runs. José Caballero followed with a single to bring in one more before Gausman got out of the inning.

It was a solid bounce-back effort for Gausman after he got tagged for seven runs (six earned) in his last outing, and the quality start was his third of the season. He’ll take a 4.89 ERA, 1.51 WHIP and 43:11 K:BB through 42.1 innings into Thursday. Despite a decent strikeout rate of 9.1 K/9, Gausman’s high BABIP of .372 suggests he’s been somewhat unlucky, but it also indicates that hitters are making solid contact. His 3.61 FIP suggests a better underlying performance than his ERA reflects.

Gausman missed a significant part of Spring Training due to right shoulder fatigue and now admits he should have opened the year on the injured list to build himself back up. From 2022 to 2023, he led all MLB pitchers with a combined 11 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs, posting a 3.25 ERA over 62 starts and 359.2 innings with 442 strikeouts.


Detroit Tigers Betting Pick -111

The Tigers have an AL Rookie of the Year candidate in infielder Wenceel Perez, although he didn’t start Wednesday’s finale in Kansas City – simply for a rest day. Perez had started every game since May 12. Over his last 25 games, Pérez is batting .311/.382/.533 with three doubles, four triples, three home runs and 13 RBI. He leads all rookies (min. 90 plate appearances) with a .297 batting average, while he is second with a .368 on-base percentage and third with a .505 slugging percentage and .873 OPS.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2016 at age 16, Perez could arguably fall into the category of “late bloomer,” reaching Triple-A for the first time last year. As small as his sample size is at the Major League level, the Dominican is raising eyebrows with the contributions he’s made in his first month and a half with Detroit’s big league club. As a switch-hitter, Perez has been frequently penciled in by manager A.J. Hinch in the No. 3 spot in the order.

It’s righty Jack Flaherty (1-3) on the hill Thursday. Flaherty (1-3) allowed two runs on five hits across six innings to earn the win last Saturday against the Diamondbacks. He walked two and struck out nine. Flaherty was sharp as he lowered his ERA to 3.79 and picked up his first win of the season. He exited after six innings with the Tigers trailing 2-0, but luckily for him they rallied to score six times with two outs in the seventh inning to put him in line for his first win. Flaherty got 17 swings and misses on 98 pitches in the contest — 10 on his slider — while posting a terrific CSW of 36 percent.

Despite having only the lone win so far, Flaherty has had a nice bounce-back campaign to this point after posting a 4.99 ERA with the Orioles and Cardinals last year. In 2023, Flaherty’s numbers continued to decline. In 20 starts for the Cardinals, he posted a 4.43 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. He allowed more hits than innings pitched and had an ugly 106-54 strikeout-to-walk ratio. The Tigers signed him to a one-year contract in December.

Flaherty has been buoyed by a rise in strikeouts, as he now has an 11.9 K/9 this season, up from 9.2 in 2023. Flaherty’s 35.5 percent whiff rate is tops among the 130 pitchers who’ve thrown 30 innings this year, while his 32.5 percent strikeout rate is only behind Garrett Crochet, Tyler Glasnow and Dylan Cease. Flaherty has also mixed in his changeup more than ever, throwing it a career high 4.9 percent of the time.

Flaherty’s 31.3 percent chase rate would also represent a career high by a comfortable margin (he’s never finished above 30 percent for a season). His 2.11 expected FIP — which looks at a pitcher’s FIP but uses projected home-run rate instead of actual home runs allowed — is tops among qualified starters. Flaherty’s 2.98 expected ERA — based on an opposing hitter’s quality and quantity of contact — also pegs him as a top-20 starter, as does his 2.94 FIP.

Detroit went 2-4 against Toronto last season, including dropping two-of-three games at Comerica Park.



Bet Blue Jays at Tigers MLB Odds

When: Thursday, 6:40 PM ET
Where: Comerica Park
Pitchers (away/home): Kevin Gausman/Jack Flaherty
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream/gameday audio:

MLB First Five Innings Line
MLB Player Props
World Series Odds to Win

MLB Betting Center

Updated MLB Odds | Sportsbook Online