After enduring another brutal winter, the locals in the Great White North are more than prepared for springtime. With MLB spring training about to get underway on Friday, Canadian sports bettors can get in on plenty of action with their beloved Toronto Blue Jays.
The Jays, who open the exhibition month vs the Atlanta Braves on Saturday, will look a little bit different this year. Edwin Encarnacion has departed for greener pastures in Cleveland, but general manager Ross Atkins filled the void by adding Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce while re-signing Jose Bautista.
The starting rotation remains largely intact and figures to be one of the best in the league after dominating in 2016, while J.P. Howell and Joe Smith were brought in to help bolster the bullpen. Twenty-two-year-old Roberto Osuna is back to assume the closer’s role after collecting 56 saves in his first two MLB seasons.
Due to roster shakeups, spring training is the definition of a toss-up for sports bettors. The best players in the bigs frequently take the field with guys who will likely spend the majority of the year in the lower minor leagues, which makes it extremely hard to handicap. The Jays were a sizzling wager a year ago, however, as they went 17-8 in spring training to finish second in the American League.
Sure those wins don’t count for anything, but it’s going to be interesting to see if Canada’s lone MLB squad can do it again in Dunedin.
Another win for Milos!
We’re still a few months away from the next major tennis tournament on the calendar, the French Open, but a pair of Canucks are currently available for fantastic long-shot value.
Milos Raonic is +2800 to win the bragging rights at Roland-Garros, while Eugenie Bouchard is +4000 on the women’s side at Bovada. Raonic, the fourth-ranked player in the world, has never made it past the quarterfinals at the French Open but will be looking to put forth a better effort this time around. The Ontario native recently fell to Rafael Nadal in the quarters at the Australian Open, so he’ll be hungrier than ever in his hunt for his first major title.
Bouchard has been making major waves off the court recently by appearing in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, but don’t count out her playing prowess. The 22-year-old reached the semifinals in the 2014 French Open before bowing out in the second round a year ago. She’s going to be in tough to top the likes of Serena Williams, Garbine Muguruza and Simona Halep, but her +4000 price is excellent for a player of her caliber.
Ice, ice baby
It may sound strange to Americans, but curling is legitimately one of the most watched sporting events in Canada in the wintertime. The biggest women’s national tournament, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts, is underway in St. Catharines, Ontario.
As of Thursday, Team Ontario led by skip Rachel Homan was on cruise control and topping the standings at 9-0, while Manitoba (8-1), Team Canada (7-1) and Quebec (6-3) weren’t far behind.
With playoff time almost here, keep an eye on the Scotties for some great curling action.