Up and down and up and down. The roller coaster that is the Toronto Blue Jays’ season continues and while it may be an exciting time, it's starting to make those along for the ride a little nauseous.
After getting swept by the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend, the Blue Jays have bounced back by winning the first two games of their current series with the Chicago Cubs, though they have needed comeback performances in each.
Now, it's Toronto going for the sweep when they hand the ball to Mitch White and they’ll be big favorites to do so. But is the value with the underdog Cubbies?
Find out in my free best MLB picks and predictions for this interleague between the Cubs and Blue Jays on Wednesday, August 31.
Cubs vs Blue Jays best odds
Cubs vs Blue Jays picks and predictions
My best bet: Blue Jays Team Total F5 Over 2.5 (-130 at DraftKings)
The Toronto Blue Jays are playing a cruel game with their fans and backers in this series with the Chicago Cubs, needing comebacks to win each of the first two games.
The Blue Jays have gotten off to slow starts in each of those games, waiting until the seventh inning to start scoring in Game 1 and they didn’t plate a run until the fifth in Game 2.
The big issue for the Jays in those games were the opposing starters, Javier Assad in the opener and Marcus Stroman last night. Both pitchers love to cut and sink the ball, inducing soft contact and resulting in a lot of ground balls.
And since the Jays had been pressing at the plate this month, trying to pull the ball more, they have been grounding out more frequently. A lot. But once the Jays got through the starters, they loosened up. And the difference on Wednesday is they won't have to wait until the sixth inning to face the Cubs bullpen.
That’s because the Cubs will employ a bullpen day in the series finale and that’s probably not a good thing for Chicago.
Since the start of August, Cubs relievers own the fourth-worst ERA in baseball at 5.18, rank dead last in FIP, and sit 24th in strikeout rate.
And even though the Jays have struggled to plate runs early in this series, this is still a team that ranks third in batting average, fourth in OPS, and sixth in first-five inning scoring at 2.73 runs per contest.
If there is a game where the Jays can break out of their early-innings funk, it’s this one.
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Cubs vs Blue Jays betting preview
The Blue Jays opened this interleague matchup as sizeable -220 home favorites and that hasn’t stopped bettors from backing them with the line getting as big as -240 at some sportsbooks.
A large reason for that is because the Cubs are going with a bullpen day in the series finale and, as noted, their bullpen has not been very reliable since the trade deadline. Going against an offense that, once it gets going, can be one of the most dangerous in all of baseball is not a recipe for success.
The Blue Jays were happy to see both Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Teoscar Hernandez break out of their respective funks by going yard last night. If those two can heat up down the stretch, watch out, the Jays could rattle off some wins.
Meanwhile, Toronto starter Mitch White has had some up-and-down results since coming over from the Dodgers but has still been better than Yusei Kikuchi — whom he's effectively replaced in the rotation — and has allowed three earned runs or fewer in three of his first four starts with the Jays.
He’ll then hand the ball off to a bullpen that has been much more effective in the second half of the season, particularly since they re-acquired Anthony Bass. In fact, in the second half of the season, only the Dodgers and Guardians have a better bullpen ERA than the Jays’ 2.84.
The massive edge in lineup and bullpen is why the Jays are such big favorites but there isn’t much value on their moneyline at this number.
The total for this game hit the board at 9.5. It’s the largest total of the series and it’s easy to see why. We’ve already talked about how the Blue Jays lineup will have a great opportunity to be successful in this matchup but don’t be surprised if the Cubs don’t put up a fight, at least early on.
What you see is what you get with White. He shows flashes of potential, but is definitely still raw and is coming off a game against the Angels where he surrendered seven runs on eight hits over five innings of work. It was also the sixth time over his last nine starts in which he has given up six or more hits.
And even though the Cubs have their issues, they handle right-handed hurlers pretty well. Chicago ranks 13th in OPS and 15th in batting average when facing right-handed pitching. Plus, Toronto has used relievers Jordan Romano and Anthony Bass each of the last two nights and are likely unavailable. If I had to lean one way here, it would probably be to the Over, particularly if you can get it at even money (+100).
Cubs vs Blue Jays game info
• Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
• Date: Wednesday, August 31, 2022
• First pitch: 7:07 p.m. ET
• TV: MARQUEE, Sportsnet
Bullpen game: The Cubs bullpen hasn't been the same since the trade deadline. It ranks 24th in the MLB in ERA and 22nd in the opponent batting average for the season overall.
Mitch White (0-2, 5.89 ERA): The Jays acquired White from the Dodgers at the trade deadline for some rotation depth, and the best thing to say about him is that he’s been better than Yusei Kikuchi. But don’t expect more than five innings.
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 31-14 in the Blue Jays last 45 games following a win. Find more MLB betting trends for Cubs vs. Blue Jays