Blue Jays Vs Astros Odds: Verlander Back On Mound As Huge Favorite

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander grimaces as he follows through on a pitch against the Los Angeles Angels
Image Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if, six months from now, the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros were squaring off with a World Series berth on the line. For now, though, we’ll have to settle for a garden-variety mid-April clash — one in which a future Hall of Famer will be pitching to the supremely talented (and powerful) son of an enshrined Hall of Famer.

Blue Jays vs Astros odds reveal Houston as a sizeable home favorite Friday night. The reason: Astros ace Justin Verlander is slated to return to the mound for the third time since missing the last two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Verlander will be challenged with taming a potent Blue Jays lineup anchored by slugging first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who is off to a torrid start.

Houston will be looking to pick up just its third victory in its last eight games, while Toronto is gunning for its first three-game winning streak of the young season. And has the complete Blue Jays vs Astros odds breakdown for Friday night’s marquee American League matchup.

Odds via DraftKings and updated as of 11:35 a.m. ET on April 22.

Toronto Blue Jays (8-5) Vs Houston Astros (6-6)

Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is congratulated by teammates in his dugout after scoring on an infield fly ball against the Boston Red Sox
Image Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch/TV: MLB.TV
Moneyline: Astros -170/Blue Jays +150
Run Line:
Astros -1.5 (+120)/Blue Jays +1.5 (-140)
8 (Over -115/Under -105)

Pitching matchup: RHP Ross Stripling (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP) vs RHP Justin Verlander (1-1, 0.69 ERA, 0.69 WHIP)

Season series: First meeting. These teams met six times in 2021, with Houston going 4-2

Did you know: The home and road teams have alternated victories in the last nine head-to-head clashes going back to August 2019. Houston took the season-series finale 6-3 in Toronto last June.

About the Blue Jays

Hits & Misses: Toronto opened a six-game road trip in Boston this week, dropping the first game 2-1 on Tuesday before rallying for victories of 6-1 and 3-2 the last two days, respectively. The Blue Jays are 4-3 on the road to this point, and the pitching staff has surrendered just 16 runs along the way (2.3 per game). Offensively, Toronto — which led all of baseball with 262 home runs last year — already has 16 dingers this season (tied with Atlanta and the Angels for most in MLB). Guerrero has five of those bombs, along with a .304 batting average. That said, since a season-opening 10-8 home win over the Rangers, the Jays have plated more than four runs just four times in 12 contests.

On the Mound: Stripling made his season debut exactly a week ago at home against Oakland. He tossed four scoreless innings, yielding just two hits and no walks with three strikeouts in a 4-1 Toronto victory. Throw in his final four starts of 2021, and Stripling has surrendered just three runs, 15 hits and three walks over his last five starts spanning 22.1 innings (1.21 ERA). The veteran right-hander missed a month of the 2021 season from mid-August to mid-September. When he returned, he pitched out of the bullpen. Stripling made two starts against the Astros in the span of a month last season and gave up four runs in 8 2/3 innings. He earned a 6-2 home win in June after losing 10-4 in Houston in May.

Injuries: CF and leadoff hitter George Springer (forearm bruise) didn’t start Thursday’s game at Boston but he did pinch-hit and finished the game in right field. Barring a setback, he’s expected to be in the lineup Friday in Houston. Regular RF Teoscar Hernandez (left oblique strain) is on the injured list and out indefinitely.

About the Astros 

Hits & Misses: Houston placed All-Star 2B Jose Altuve (hamstring) on the IL Wednesday afternoon. Hours later, the offense took the field and mustered just one hit against Shohei Ohtani and two Angels relievers in a 6-0 home loss. Since starting the season 4-1, Houston — which was idle Thursday — has lost five of seven games. With and without Altuve, the Astros’ offense has been mostly dormant, producing three runs or fewer in eight of 12 games. In fact, they’ve scored more than two runs just twice. Houston has MLB’s third-worst team batting average (.199), but the club’s 14 home runs are tied for sixth-most.

On the Mound: Verlander mowed down the Seattle Mariners in his most recent start Saturday, needing just 87 pitches to turn in eight shutout innings. The two-time Cy Young winner and 2011 AL MVP scattered three hits, didn’t walk a batter and struck out eight in a 4-0 victory. It was Verlander’s first win since July 24, 2020, when he opened the pandemic-shortened season with an 8-2 home victory over the Mariners. Soon after, Verlander was diagnosed with a torn right elbow ligament, and he missed the rest of 2020 and all of 2021. The 39-year-old finally returned to the mound April 9 at the Angels and pitched well (one run, three hits, three walks, seven strikeouts in five innings), but lost 2-0. The 17-year veteran has made 14 career starts against the Blue Jays, going 4-6 with a 4.28 ERA. 

Injuries: Altuve is the Astros’ only everyday player on the injured list. RP Ryan Pressly (knee) also landed on the IL this week and is out until at least early May.

Notable Trends

  • TOR is 8-2 in its last 10 vs. AL West squads
  • TOR is 12-5 in its last 17 road games
  • HOU is 9-4 in its last 13 as a favorite
  • HOU is 61-24 in its last 85 following a day off
  • Under for TOR is on runs of is 6-1 overall and 5-1 on the road this season
  • Under for HOU is on runs of 5-1-1 overall and 3-0-1 at home
  • Houston is 21-9 all time at home vs. Toronto
  • Over is 7-3-2 in the last 12 series meetings
  • Over is 6-0-1 in the last seven Blue Jays-Red Sox games in Houston

Toronto Blue Jays Vs Houston Astros Odds and Action

UPDATE 11:35 A.M. ET FRIDAY: DraftKings opened the Astros as a -170 favorite around 6 p.m. ET Thursday, but within an hour the line dipped to -160. The odds then toggled between -165 and -170 until shooting out to -180 about 90 minutes ago. Moments ago, though, the line reverted back to the -170 opener. Toronto is currently +150 on the take-back. Most of the early action is on the home team, with 68% of the wagers and 79% of the money backing Houston.

The total opened 9/Under -120, then fell to 8.5 flat (-110 both ways) and remained there until early this morning when DraftKings dropped to 8/Over -120. After an initial juice adjustment to Over -115 at 10 a.m. ET, the total went to 8 flat but is now back to 8/Over -115. Almost all the action is on the Under, which is taking 88% of early bets and 85% of early cash.

Check back prior to first pitch for additional Blue Jays vs Astros odds and action updates.