With MLB and its players association having agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement, the 2022 season is scheduled to start April 7. That date works well for Ontario sports betting as the full and regulated iGaming market is scheduled to begin just before then.
Also exciting is the potential of Canada’s only MLB team — the Toronto Blue Jays. They currently have the fourth-best odds to win the 2022 World Series at DraftKings Sportsbook Ontario, trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees and Houston Astros. The Blue Jays narrowly missed the playoffs last year, finishing one game out with a 91-71 record.
The Ontario iGaming market is scheduled to launch on April 4, the day of the men's NCAA Basketball Tournament championship game.
With the three-month MLB lockout recently ending, there have been a flurry of transactions coinciding with the opening of spring training. Moves that are usually made in December have instead taken place in the past several days.
Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins has been busy, signing LHP Yusei Kikuchi to a three-year contract to give Toronto one of the best starting rotations in baseball. Generating even more headlines and leading to their jump up the odds board was the recent trade for three-time Gold Glove-winning third baseman Matt Chapman from the Oakland Athletics.
MLB World Series Winner Odds
|⭐ Los Angeles Dodgers
|⭐ New York Yankees
|⭐ Houston Astros
|⭐ Toronto Blue Jays
|⭐ New York Mets
Blue Jays Offense Remains a Strength
Chapman brings offense to an already star-studded Blue Jays batting order that features reigning MLB home run leader Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and fellow young slugger Bo Bichette, among others, but Chapman’s impact is expected to be felt more on defense. He has been one of the best defensive third baseman in the league the past few years.
This plugs a defensive leak that hurt the team last year as strong play at third is essential in an AL East loaded with right-handed power hitters. He also helps offset the loss of Marcus Semien, who departed for Texas in free agency after an excellent year of his own.
Led by Guerrero, the Jays were third in the league with 846 runs scored last year, and while the Semien loss stings, a full season from George Springer and the addition of Chapman should ensure the offense doesn’t miss a beat.
Springer enters the season as the leadoff hitter, with Bichette, Guerrero, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Chapman all following him. If there is one concern it would be the lack of left-handed bats but this offense still projects to be one of the best in baseball.
The Blue Jays are so loaded on offense and in the outfield, that last week they traded Randal Grichuk to the Colorado Rockies for outfielder Raimel Tapia. Tapia will bring speed and he's a left-handed hitter. Toronto also received Adrian Pinto, a minor-league infielder, in the trade, while sending cash to the Rockies to help offset Grichuk's contract.
Strong Starting Pitching
The other big loss to the Blue Jays roster this offseason was reigning Cy Young winner Robbie Ray, who signed with the Seattle Mariners. Kevin Gausman was signed to replace him before the CBA stoppage and will complement the recent signing of Kikuchi.
Midseason acquisition Jose Berrios was re-signed to a seven-year contract this winter and is expected to headline the pitching group. Those three join Hyu Jin Ryu and Alek Manoah to fill out the best starting rotation the Blue Jays have fielded in quite some time and one that rivals any other team.
Kikuchi faded in the second half last season, but was an All Star in the first half and the Jays are banking on him being the player he showed he was in the first half. Gausman is coming off an excellent year as well. They should more than capably replace the outgoing Ray and Steven Matz.
The bullpen has been a big concern in past seasons, but with Jordan Romano having a full season as closer under his belt there is more optimism than there has been for a while.
Expectations are Sky High
There is no question that the expectations haven’t been this high on Ontario sports betting apps for the Toronto Blue Jays in a very long time. With the continued improvement of their young stars and the additions made over the past couple of seasons the expectations are justified.
But living up to them as a relatively young team isn’t always easy. Guerrero, one of the favorites to win the league MVP this year, is just 23 and fellow franchise cornerstone Bichette is 24. With their youth, some growing pains are to be expected but the respect given to the Blue Jays in the betting markets is a great sign, not only for this year but for the future.