The Toronto Blue Jays' offensive highlight during Thursday's loss in Cleveland was breaking up the Indians' combined no-hit bid in the top of the ninth inning. They lost 4-1.
It's been that kind of season so far for the Blue Jays' bats.
Despite a pitching staff that paces the majors in strikeouts and sits No. 2 in ERA, Toronto is just 3-5. After splitting a four-game set with the Detroit Tigers, losing two of three to the Baltimore Orioles, and the aforementioned three-hit performance against the Tribe, the Jays don't appear to be a trustworthy bet early on.
However, there's one obvious angle to play if you've been paying attention. The Blue Jays, in a sense, have been perfect, and they carry a sweet trend into Friday's game in Cleveland.
Odds: Indians -146
Total: 7 (Over -125, Under +105)
First 5 odds: Indians -147
First 5 total: 4 (Over -113, Under -107)
To say Toronto's hitting has struggled thus far would be an understatement. Over their first six games, the Jays went 1-for-54 the first time through the order, and they have plated only two runs in the opening three innings this year. Had it not been for their three-run surge in the bottom of the ninth of Monday's 6-5 loss to the O's, Toronto would be perfect in the full-game under department.
But bettors have taken advantage of the Jays' particularly slow starts by playing the first-five under, a wager graded out following the completion of the fifth inning.
So far, the under has been perfect at 8-0.
|Blue Jays runs||Opponents runs||F5 O/U|
Scoring runs won't get any easier over the weekend, as the Blue Jays are slated to face a trio of quality right-handed pitchers in Shane Bieber, Carlos Carrasco, and Mike Clevinger. Through eight games, Toronto is collectively hitting .169 with a .270 OBP and 44 strikeouts across 172 at-bats against righties. Cleveland's own offensive struggles should keep the scoring down over the series.
Oddsmakers have adjusted quite a bit as the Jays continue to churn out low-scoring games - those early totals of 9 and 9.5 through the Detroit series have dipped down to 6.5 and 7 against the Indians.
But combine the Jays' cool bats with their efficient pitching staff, and they've been the best first-five under bet in the majors.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.
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