It's a Canada Day affair as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Jays have surged recently, aided by a hot offense and improving pitching. They have won three of their last four, including taking the series opener last night. Toronto is now 43-33 on the season and second in the AL East.
The Rays' first half of the season has been underwhelming, primarily due to a hit-or-miss offense. They are still a solid five games over .500 but have lost three straight.
Who will grab the second game of this series? Find out in our MLB picks and predictions for Friday, July 1, 2022.
Rays vs Blue Jays odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The Blue Jays opened up as favorites at -145. Since then, the Rays have taken money, and the Blue Jays have fallen to -130, with Tampa returning around +120. The total opened up at 9 and stayed there.
Rays vs Blue Jays predictions
- Prediction: Blue Jays F5 ML (-115)
- Prediction: Over 8.5 (-115)
- Best bet: Berrios to record a win (+190)
Picks made on 7/1/2022 at 9:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.
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Rays vs Blue Jays game info
• Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
• Date: Friday, July 1, 2022
• First pitch: 3:07 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports Sun, Sportsnet 360
Rays vs Blue Jays betting preview
Corey Kluber (3-4, 3.45 ERA): It's been a solid start to the season for Kluber. In June, he was at his best when he pitched over 28 innings and gave up just eight earned runs. He's seen some big bats and fared well, including a six-inning scoreless outing against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago.
Jose Berrios (5-4, 5.86 ERA): Berrios has been one of the biggest disappointments of the Toronto pitching staff this season. His xERA is one of the worst in the league and shows that his actual era could be worse. The biggest issue is teams seizing on his fastball, which he throws most of the time, and him compounding it by not getting much production from his breaking pitches.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Betting trend to know
The Rays are 2-5 in their last seven games in Toronto. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Blue Jays
Rays vs Blue Jays picks and predictions
Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.
This game doesn't lend itself to an overwhelming edge. We have a Tampa offense that has struggled mightily. We also have a pitcher that has struggled in a big way. Nevertheless, I'm going to reluctantly back Berrios and the Jays. The matchup is good, and situationally, it feels like the right time to do so.
This may be the last time I'll be a believer in Berrios this season. If he doesn't deliver a good performance today, I'm inclined to believe it may not happen. There's nothing to suggest he can snap out of his current funk. Yet, luckily for him, this matchup is a positive one.
Batters have fired on Berrios fastball — his most-thrown pitch — this season. It has produced a 13-run value so far. Run value is a measure of run expectancy based on the pitches thrown. When it goes up, more runs are expected. When it goes down, fewer runs are expected. A 13-run value, the sixth-worst of any pitcher in the league, is quite alarming.
What gives you hope is this number was five for Berrios a season ago, better a season before that, and the Rays can't hit fastball pitchers. Two players in their lineup have started over 20 games and hit fastballs over .200. They hit .193 against them on the season with an OPS of .583, among the league's worst.
This isn't a strong edge because it's weakness on weakness, but it does make you believe Berrios won't have a repeat of some of the previous blowups we've seen this season.
My projections have more faith in Berrios than I do. They give Toronto a 51% chance of leading after five innings. I'm to the point with the Jays where I believe they will hit just about any pitcher thrown out. Since I reluctantly feel like the Rays' offense should be slowed down today, then I'll back Toronto on the first five markets.
Prediction: Blue Jays first-five innings moneyline (-115 at FanDuel)
Toronto has been one of my favorite Over teams this season. My projections rate them as the league's third-best offense and its 22nd-worst pitching staff. When playing a team with equal rest, 55% of Toronto's games have gone Over this season. That is the third-highest in the league. So, I'm rolling with the trends.
We've talked mainly about Berrios. While I expect him to take a step forward, I still see him giving up a couple of runs. It's just hard to envision him going through any significant dominant stretches at the moment.
If he does what I expect, it should be enough to get this over the posted total. The Jays will do their part.
Kluber has been impressive this season, and he went six scoreless innings against the Yankees recently, but would you believe the Jays now have a better OPS than the Yankees? It's true.
Toronto's OPS sits at .760 while New York's at .753. A minor difference, but a difference nonetheless.
Toronto is also hot right now. In the past 30 days, the Jays’ offense has led the league in virtually every category and has an eye-popping OPS of .857, 170 runs, and a batting average of .285. Nobody is going to slow down this Toronto offense right now. Especially not a finesse pitcher — the preferred matchup for Jays' hitters — with an OPS of .786 against that style of a pitcher.
My projections have this going Over about 55% of the time. I think that's not high enough, but even so, that gives us a slight edge on the number. Back the trends and Toronto's strong hitting today.
Prediction: Over 8.5 (-115 at DraftKings)
Something struck me about the numbers in this game. Berrios earned runs of Under 2.5 is favored strongly by oddsmakers to go Under at -165. Yet, Berrios to record a win is at +190. That doesn't make a lot of sense.
If Berrios keeps the earned runs Under 2.5, then you'd expect him to go five innings, and you'd also expect him to record a win. The numbers would say the same. You uncover some excellent value by simply following what the oddsmakers believe will happen in this game.
Each time this season Berrios has allowed less than 2.5 earned runs he's pitched five or more innings. A season ago, Berrios accomplished this feat 17 times, and all 17 times, he went to the required length to record the win.
If I believe that Berrios has a decent matchup today, like it appears the oddsmakers do, then there's no reason not to grab this number at an attractive price.
Back Berrios to take a big step forward today, even if it could be fool’s gold, and record a win.
Pick: Jose Berrios to record a win (+190 at DraftKings)