Blue Jays vs Nationals Picks and Predictions: Jays Bash Behind Berrios

The Jays are looking to bounce back after dropping Tuesday's series opener 12-6 to the slumping Nats. Behind Jose Berrios, we like Toronto's bats to do damage against homer-prone Nats rookie Josiah Gray. Find out more in our Blue Jays vs. Nationals picks.

Josh Inglis - Betting Analyst at
Josh Inglis • Betting Analyst
Aug 18, 2021 • 09:03 ET • 3 min read
Teoscar Hernandez Toronto Blue Jays MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals will square off in the late afternoon sun of Nationals Park in what will be the finale of a brief two-game interleague series Wednesday. 

The Nats took the opener last night in an Over-friendly 12-6 victory which was just Washinton’s second win in 14 games. The loss was the Jays’ fourth in their last five as they see themselves four games back from the second AL wild-card spot.

The Blue Jays opened as -182 favorites with the total set at 9, tilted to the Over.

Here are our free picks and predictions for Blue Jays vs. Nationals on August 18.

Blue Jays vs Nationals game info

Location: Nationals Park, Washington, DC
Date: Wednesday, August 18, 2021
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
TV: MLBN, Sportsnet

Blue Jays vs Nationals odds

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Blue Jays vs Nationals betting preview

Starting pitchers

Jose Berrios (8-6, 3.52 ERA): The Jays’ prized deadline acquisition is coming off a rare dud of a start last week that saw him give up six runs in under five innings versus Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. He had allowed just a single earned run in his first two games with Toronto (12 innings) before getting roughed up. He has a career 3.38 ERA across 21 interleague games with a 1.00 WHIP.

Josiah Gray (0-1, 4.13 ERA): Josiah Gray came over in the Trea Turner and Max Scherzer trade with the Dodgers and has made three starts with the Nats, posting a 2.81 ERA with 18 Ks over 16 innings. The 23-year-old right-hander has an average fastball of 94.7 mph and mixes in a slider and a curveball. He struck out 10 Atlanta batters over five innings in his second start with Washington. He’s allowed five runs with his new team — all solo home runs, oddly enough. 


Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Blue Jays: George Springer OF (Out).
Nationals: Alex Avila C (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Blue Jays are 6-1 in their last seven interleague games vs. a right-handed starter. Find more MLB betting trends for Blue Jays vs. Nationals.

Runline pick

Wednesday presents a great bounce-back spot for Berrios, who had one of his worst starts of the year last week. Berrios is one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball and owns a 1.056 WHIP in his losses this year. Last week’s start was an anomaly and facing a weak Washington lineup that has lost 12 of its last 14 is just what the two-time All-Star needs. 

The Washington offense at home has some non-flattering company in the run-production category, despite last night’s 12-run showing. The Nats are scoring just 4.10 runs per game at home which ranks behind only Miami and Detroit. They’ve been league average in the second half (105 wRC+), but this is a lineup that now has Victor Robles and his .209 AVG in the lead-off spot and only has power in Juan Soto and Josh Bell. Tuesday’s lineup featured just two batters with more than four home runs on the year.

Even without George Springer (IL), the Jays are still loaded throughout the order and are currently being led by player of the week, Teoscar Hernandez. The Toronto outfielder came into the series slashing .500/.500/.893 over his last seven games with three home runs and went 2-for-4 last night with a bomb. This Jays team may not be running the table like it was a week ago, but if this offense gets some confidence against the Nats’ rookie starter, this game could be very one-sided.

Gray has been great for Washington since coming over from L.A. but there are some underlying numbers that favor the visitors' thumping bats. Gray has given up five home runs over his last 16 innings and is coming off a game where the Braves took the young pitcher deep three times in six innings. In his 24 MLB innings, he has given up an astounding nine long balls. The Jays lead the majors in home runs per game at 1.52. This is not an ideal matchup for Gray.

We don’t read too much into winning urgency in regards to betting, but for those that do, Wednesday’s game is massive for the Jays, who are losing ground in the wild-card race as the Yankees and A’s continue to rack up wins. Facing a weak opponent behind arguably your best pitcher, a loss would set this club back substantially.

Yesterday, in a similar matchup, the Jays closed at -200 on the ML and -125 on the runline. We’re getting a better price today and taking the visitors who have covered the runline in 25 of their last 27 wins.

PREDICTION: Toronto -1.5 (-110)

Over/Under pick

Predicting totals with a young, yet inconsistent, pitcher is one of the more difficult things to do when handicapping MLB totals. We know that Gray has above-average strikeout rates and batters are hitting just .217 against him in his brief MLB career, but he has a 100 percent left-on-base rate, which is nuts, and a .212 BABIP which will be going north sooner than later. These are on top of his home run struggles which must have the Jays’ batters thinking deep. 

The Jays lineup has five players with 20 or more home runs this season and that doesn't include Springer. Toronto should get a ton of good hacks in on Wednesday, but the even more difficult question is if the Nationals can contribute to the Over versus Berrios.

Washington lost Turner to the Dodgers and now has one of the least intimidating lineups in baseball outside of Soto who, to his credit, has been a Top-20 hitter in baseball this year. The bottom of this order is not a strength and should stop any rallies dead in their tracks. Add in the fact they are facing a motivated Berrios, taking this Over means relying heavily on the Jays. 

So what should we do in these situations of uncertainty? Hit the Jays’ team total Over or even the F5 team total Over. Yesterday, Toronto’s team total was set at 5.5 which is the same as today but at a better price. Facing a home-run prone rookie pitcher has us hitting the Over on the Jays’ team total.

PREDICTION: Blue Jays team total Over 5.5 (+109)

Blue Jays vs Nationals betting card

  • Toronto -1.5 (-110)
  • Blue Jays team total Over 5.5 (+109)

Picks made on 8/18/2021 at 5:10 a.m. ET

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