Gary | Wed 12/10/2016 - 21:07 EDT

ALCS Predictions

Who Is Favored To Win World Series

By Angelo Montilla

October baseball can be full of surprises, as evidenced by the Toronto Blue Jays and Cleveland Indians.

Both clubs breezed through their divisional series — sweeping the top-seeded Texas Rangers and AL East champion Boston Red Sox — and will square off in a best-of-seven series beginning Friday with a spot in the World Series at stake.

“I’m looking forward to a good series,” reigning American League MVP Josh Donaldson told reporters of the Blue Jays’ matchup against the Indians. “They’re a good team. We’re going to have a tough task at hand, but I feel like we have a team that can do that.”

While both sides match up well offensively, the Blue Jays have an advantage with a stronger starting rotation and it’s the reason why several online sportsbooks are giving Toronto the upper hand early on. BetOnline have set a -120 line the Blue Jays will emerge as the ALCS winner.

Cleveland Indians

The Jays and Indians have locked horns seven times in 2016 with Cleveland walking away with a 4-3 regular-season series win.

As AL Central division champions, the Indians will enjoy home-field advantage against the Blue Jays. Historically, Cleveland owns an overall record of 55-38 on home soil. However, this is the first time the Jays and Indians will clash in the post-season, leaving many unsure of what to expect.

Marco Estrada will get the ball for the Blue Jays in Game 1, likely followed by southpaw J.A. Happ, league ERA leader Aaron Sanchez and wild-card winner Marcus Stroman.

Estrada is coming off a magical ALDS Game 1 performance where he held the Rangers to one run while going 8 1/3 innings against MLB’s best team. Jays’ manager John Gibbons said Estrada was the “logical choice” considering the righty has gone 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA in eight post-season games, including four starts.

In two career starts against Cleveland, Estrada has allowed 10 hits and five earned runs in 12 innings of work. He’ll have to be much sharper with his excellent change-up against a pesky Indians club that will make opponents pay if pitches are left up in the strike zone.

Donaldson has also been a Cleveland killer over the years, posting a remarkable .333 batting average with 41 hits, seven home runs hits and 32 RBIs in 32 career games against the Indians. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion — the Blue Jays’ version of the bash brothers — have combined for 18 dingers in 98 career games against Cleveland and will be heavily relied on if Toronto hopes to secure its first World Series appearance since 1993.

The Indians will counter with Corey Kluber on the mound — the team’s regular-season leader in wins (18), ERA (3.14) and strikeouts (227). The Jays have had their way in the past against Kluber, who has a 1-3 record and 5.34 ERA in five starts against his ALCS counterparts. The right-hander has been strong at home, where he owns a 10-5 record at Progressive Field in 2016. The likely Game 2 and 3 starters for the Indians will be right-handers Josh Tomlin and Trevor Bauer.

Offensively, while the Indians may not have the same power the Blue Jays possess, they can still hurt teams one through nine in the batting order. Toronto relies on the long ball to beat up on teams, but the Indians find several other ways to score runs. Cleveland, who ranked sixth in the MLB in batting average, continue to use an aggressive base-running tactic to gain advantage on opponents. The Indians racked up 134 stolen bases in 2016 — good for fourth overall in the majors.

If the regular season is any indication, expect this matchup too close to judge. Four of seven previous meetings have been decided by one run — three of which were won by the Indians. The Jays outslugged the Indians 13-9 in home runs head-to-head this season as well.

As far as odds on who will advance to the World Series, several sportsbooks have different lines. However, BetOnline has an enticing +140 line that the Jays will secure a spot in the final where they’ll take on the Chicago Cubs. The sportsbook has a +210 line the Indians will advance to the World Series to face the Cubs.

Bet365 have the Blue Jays as +190 favorites to win outright, while Sportsbook.ag has a +425 line the Indians will capture their first the World Series title in more than 60 years.

Pick: Toronto Blue Jays (-120)

Category : Sports Betting News

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