MLB Betting Preview (June 16): Guardians vs. Blue Jays predictions

Toronto moved back within two games of .500 with Saturday’s commanding victory over the Guardians. The Blue Jays took advantage of a soft starter in Carlos Carrasco for five earned runs, and saw six relievers combine for a shutout, with Bowden Francis handling the bulk of the work.

 

As the Blue Jays look to win the series Sunday, the offence will face a more difficult task in a matchup versus Ben Lively. Lively has pitched to a 2.59 ERA this season, and a 1.93 ERA over his last four starts. Jose Berrios will start for the Blue Jays, and will look to build upon his 1.82 ERA at Rogers Centre this season.

Let’s dive into the odds and relevant game notes for Sunday’s matchup between the Guardians and Blue Jays via bet365:

Guardians vs. Blue Jays odds

Guardians Moneyline Odds
+110
Blue Jays Moneyline Odds
-130
Runline Odds
Guardians +1.5 (-190), Blue Jays -1.5 (+160)
Over/Under
Over 7.5 runs (-110, Under runs (-110)
Time/Date
June 16, 1:37 p.m. ET
TV
Broadcast: Sportsnet, Sportsnet+

Cleveland Guardians

The Guardians have proven to be an organization which can maximize the potential of any pitcher, and it is certainly safe to say they have found a way to get the most out of 32 year-old Ben Lively. Lively has spent the majority of five seasons either in the KBO or pitching in Triple-A, before making a return to MLB last year with Cincinatti, and posting an ERA of 5.38.

Lively has done a good job of keeping batters guessing with his five-pitch mix this season, which he has commanded effectively. Only his slider rates out particularly well per pitching models, and he owns a Stuff+ rating of just 74. He holds Location+ rating of 104 though, and owns a solid underlying profile overall with a 4.07 xFIP and 3.50 xERA.

Lively holds an average fastball velocity of 90.1 mph this season, and batters own a 58% hard-hit rate versus Lively’s fastballs this season. The Blue Jays have struggled mightily with high-velocity fastballs, but the fact that Lively’s fastballs rate so poorly could be favourable to Toronto, as it has been for most opponents so far.

Over his last two starts Lively has been hard-hit 42% of the time, and has seen his K-rate drop to just 13%. He holds a whiff-rate of just 12% in those outing. As batters made adjustments to what has made him effective this season, his lack of swing-and-miss stuff could prove to be a larger concern.

Berrios will catch a break Sunday, as Jose Ramirez is set to miss his second straight game on paternity leave. With 62 RBI’s and a .534 slug-rate, Ramirez has been a huge part of the Guardians’ excellent start, but they will remain a scrappy and irritating lineup in his absence.

Over the last 30 days Cleveland owns a wRC+ of 118 versus right-handed pitching, with an OPS of .757.

Toronto Blue Jays

Jose Berrios’ 2.93 ERA suggests he has run with some favourable luck this season, as he owns an xFIP of 4.08, and an xERA of 4.37. Over his last five starts he owns a strong ERA of 3.13, but has actually seen his xFIP trend down to 3.78 as well. His xwOBA has also improved considerably of late, and is down to .331 after sitting at .371 on May 24th.

Berrios’ Pitching+ rating is down to 100 compared to last season’s mark of 104, but overall he does seem to be rounding into better form. It’s also worth noting that Berrios has overachieved his expected results in five of six seasons including 2024.

The Blue Jays’ offence continues to find very reasonable results against right-handed pitching in specific. Over the last 30 days they have hit to a wRC+ of 106 versus RHP, which ranks 10th in MLB. They own a strikeout rate of just 17.2% over that span, and a league best BB/K ratio of 0.57. On top of their elite plate discipline numbers, Toronto also owns a fourth best line drive rate of 21.8%.

The Blue Jays’ .682 OPS with RISP has largely tanked what otherwise looks to be a fairly effective process at the plate, and was an obvious concern again last season.

Bo Bichette missed Saturday’s contest with calf tightness, and is questionable for Sunday.

 

Picks and Predictions for Guardians vs Blue Jays

Jose Berrios is trending into better form of late, and has been dominant at Rogers Centre thus far this season. His stuff rates out considerably better than Lively’s, and his prior history suggests he still deserves to be viewed as the superior starter in this matchup.

Just like Carrasco in Saturday’s matchup, a soft-throwing righty in Lively should suit the Blue Jays’ eye fairly well, as lefties and elite velocity continue to be the most effective way to shut Toronto down offensively.

With Ramirez out of the mix these offences project to be quite comparable in the splits relative to this game. Therefore, with Berrios offering a fairly notable edge over Lively, the Jays should have a good chance to pull of the series win Sunday.

Bet the Jays to win at anything better than -135.

Best Bet: Toronto Blue Jays -130 (Play to -135) 

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Title: MLB Betting Preview (June 16): Guardians vs. Blue Jays predictions
Author: Nicholas Martin

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