Toronto Blue Jays vs. Houston Astros: Odds, Prediction

Payton Matthews | Updated Mar 31, 2024

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays

After splitting their four-game season-opening series, the Toronto Blue Jays are back in action on Monday to open a three-game set in Houston.

Toronto
23-26
AT
April 01, 2024, 8:10 PM ET
Minute Maid Park
Houston
22-28
Runline -1.5 +135
Runline ++1.5 -165

The Houston Astros again are expected to be one of the best teams in baseball this season – even though they are winless — as they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday to open a three-game series. Houston opened as a -140 favourite on the MLB odds.

Betting Analysis

The Astros are in the midst of a dynasty as they have not just reached the playoffs in seven straight seasons but also at least the AL Championship Series in each. They lost in seven games last year to Texas but have reached four World Series in this stretch and won two. Houston is absolutely loaded again and will be in the mix. Future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and former MVP, is on the injured list to open the season, but it’s nothing long term. The team also signed one of the best closers in recent memory this offseason in lefty Josh Hader even though the Astros already had a good closer in Ryan Pressly, who moves to a setup role.

Houston is under a first-year manager in Joe Espada. Dusty Baker retired after the 2023 postseason and Estrada was promoted from bench coach, a role he had held in Houston since 2018. The Puerto Rican-born Espada had interviewed for multiple managerial jobs over the past few seasons.

The Blue Jays won the 2023 season series 4-3 but were 1-2 at Minute Maid Park.

Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto opened the season by splitting four games at a good Tampa Bay Rays team. The Jays scored 17 runs in their two wins and just three in the two losses. All-Star shortstop Bo Bichette was scratched from Sunday’s lineup due to neck spasms and is day-to-day. Ernie Clement started for him and had a hit and two runs scored. Reliever Genesis Cabrera was suspended three games and fined by MLB for his role in an altercation Saturday against the Rays but is appealing for now and can keep playing until that is heard. Scheduled to make his first career MLB start on the mound Monday is Bowden Francis. Last season, in 20 appearances out of the bullpen, he went 1-0 with a 1.73 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Francis didn’t allow a run in 14 of the 20. This spring, Francis had a 3.38 ERA in 18.2 innings. He’s a bit of a different cat who has always considered himself a “Zen person” and also does yoga. Francis has not faced Houston. The Jays are 0-5 in their past five vs. the AL West.

Houston Astros

Too early for the Astros to panic but obviously not ideal that the defending AL West champions were swept four games at home to start the season by the New York Yankees. The Astros managed only 11 runs. It was the second time in franchise history Houston was swept in a four-game series to start a season, joining the 1978 club, which was swept by the Reds in Cincinnati. Houston has lost 12 of its past 13 at home dating to last season including the playoffs. First baseman/DH Jose Abreu was out of Sunday’s lineup with hand soreness. Veteran right-hander Ronel Blanco is on the mound Monday. Last season in 17 appearances (seven starts), he was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA. Blanco was tremendous this spring, tossing 15.2 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts while going 3-0 through five Grapefruit League games (4 starts). Bo Bichette is the only Blue Jay with a homer off Blanco. The under is 10-5 in the past 15 in this series.

MLB Prediction: Who Will Win Blue Jays vs. Astros?

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