Blue Jays vs Cardinals Predictions, Picks, Odds: Blue Jays Fly to Opening Day Score Behind Manoah

The Blue Jays head to Busch Stadium for an Opening Day matchup with the Cardinals. A re-tooled Toronto side sends staff ace Alek Manoah to the mound, and our MLB expert picks think he's in line to record the win today.

Last Updated: Mar 30, 2023 9:14 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Alek Manoah Toronto Blue Jays MLB
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One of the more intriguing matchups on Opening Day is an interleague one when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Blue Jays and Cardinals won 92 and 93 games, respectively, in 2022, but both saw their seasons end in disappointing (and in the Jays’ case, soul-crushing) fashion, getting swept in the wild-card round. However, they each approached the offseason differently.

The Jays made some drastic changes to improve their defense and bullpen while balancing out its lineup, while the Cards mostly stood pat outside of signing of Willson Contreras to be their everyday catcher now that Yadier Molina has retired.

So, who starts the season of redemption off with a win? Toronto hands the ball to young ace Alek Manoah, while St. Louis counters with veteran Miles Mikolas.

I break down this Opening Day interleague matchup and bring you my best bet in our MLB picks and predictions for Blue Jays vs. Cardinals on Thursday, March 30.

Blue Jays vs Cardinals odds

Blue Jays vs Cardinals predictions

If you don’t remember, the Blue Jays’ season ended in the most gut-wrenching way possible. Down 1-0 to the Seattle Mariners in the American League Wild Card round, the Jays jumped out to an 8-1 lead in Game 2 before collapsing in the late innings, eventually losing 10-9.

That loss triggered some big changes for the Jays this offseason. They traded their two corner outfielders in Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr., replacing them with Kevin Kiermaier and Daulton Varsho. Two left-handed bats (Varsho can actually hit some) to balance out their right-handed heavy lineup. 

They signed Chris Bassitt to bolster the rotation, and added Erik Swanson to give their bullpen more depth. 

Toronto is also saying all the right things heading into this season. They got rid of the home-run jacket, and they appear to be more focused heading into 2022. And none may be more focused on winning than ace Alek Manoah.

Manoah’s first full season in the big leagues was a resounding success. The big right-hander pitched to a 2.24 ERA, a 0.99 WHIP, and limited opponents to a .202 batting average. He was also as reliable a starter as they come last season. Manoah pitched into the sixth inning in 29 of his 31 starts, and held opponents to two earned runs or fewer 25 times, all while pitching in the AL East.

St. Louis will counter Manoah with Miles Mikolas, who gets the nod on Opening Day over veteran Adam Wainwright. The right-hander is a control pitcher and produced a solid 3.29 ERA last season.

But Mikolas was a little lucky. The 34-year-old’s expected ERA was 3.89, and he gave up a .252 expected batting average to opponents. He also doesn’t miss a ton of bats, ranking in the Bottom 5% in whiff rate. Not missing bats is going to make it tough against a deep Blue Jays lineup led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and George Springer

Now, I don’t want to undersell the Cardinals lineup. Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado lead a solid group. Maybe one of the more underrated lineups in the National League. So, we can call the lineups a wash.

But Toronto has a sizeable edge when it comes to the starters. Manoah should outwork his counterpart here and leave the game with a lead. And an improved Blue Jays bullpen should hold it for him. Manoah is the heart of this team and the ace of this staff. There is value in him recording the win on Thursday.

My best bet: Manoah to record a win (+180 at DraftKings)

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Blue Jays vs Cardinals moneyline analysis

The Blue Jays actually hit the board for this Opening Day interleague matchup as slight -105 underdogs, compared to the Cardinals as -115 home favorites. But that has since flipped, and it's now Toronto that is the slight favorite.

It’s not surprising that this is a tightly-lined game. These are two teams that a very similar, and not just because both teams are coming off disappointing postseason exits. Toronto and St. Louis both enter 2023 with high expectations. The Blue Jays have a win total of 91.5 heading into this season, while the Cardinals’ win total sits at 88.5. Both have solid lineups and impressive pitching staffs.

But for this matchup in particular I really do believe the Blue Jays have the edge in starters, and the line now properly reflects that. Since I’m on Manoah to record the win, I would lean toward the Blue Jays on the moneyline as well.

Blue Jays vs Cardinals Over/Under analysis

Even with Manoah on the mound, 7.5 feels a little low for this Opening Day matchup against the Cardinals, and it starts with the matchup against Mikolas.

Mikolas, as noted, is a control pitcher who pitches to a lot of contact. That might not be a great strategy against a Blue Jays team that made a lot of contact last season. Toronto ranked first in batting average and second in OPS in the MLB when facing right-handed pitching in 2022.

And it’s not like the Cardinals were too shabby against right-handers either. St. Louis ranked ninth in batting average and seventh in OPS vs. righties. While Manoah is as reliable as they come, the Blue Jays bullpen doesn’t really strike fear into opponents like some other teams.

I would lean Over on Opening Day at this number.

Blue Jays vs Cardinals game info

Location: Busch Stadium, St. Louis, MO
Date: Thursday, March 30, 2023
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
TV: Sportsnet, Bally Midwest

Blue Jays vs Cardinals betting preview

Starting pitchers

Alek Manoah (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Despite 2022 being just his first full big league season, Manoah was one of the most reliable starters in the game. The big right-hander recorded 25 quality starts in 2022, the second-most in the MLB, and just one behind league-leader Framber Valdez.

Miles Mikolas (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Mikolas gets the nod for the Cardinals on Opening Day after posting a solid 3.29 ERA last season. The 34-year-old right-hander is a two-time All-Star who is more of a control guy than a strikeout guy, who doesn’t walk many batters.

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Trend to know

The Blue Jays are 23-8 in their last 31 games vs. a right-handed starter. Find more MLB betting trends for Blue Jays vs. Cardinals


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