The Cleveland Guardians will travel South to battle the Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series at lovely Tropicana Field. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes our Guardians-Rays prediction and pick we have laid out below.
Cleveland, sitting in the middle of playoff contention, and fresh off a series split with the Boston Red Sox, will take on Tampa Bay this weekend. Riding the strength of their pitching staff, Cleveland continues to roll as the calendar prepares to turn to August.
Despite some serious injury concerns, Tampa Bay is clinging to a playoff spot at 53-46. Toughing out a 4-6 stretch in their last 10, Tampa Bay is still in third place in the AL East.
Here are the Guardians-Rays MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Guardians-Rays Odds
Cleveland Guardians: +1.5 (-230)
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+188)
Over: 6.5 (-128)
Under: 6.5 (+104)
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Why The Guardians Could Cover The Spread
Cleveland split with Boston in the middle of this week, but there were plenty of encouraging signs. The team scored 15 runs in their two victories, although just three in the two losses. Jose Ramirez is in Cleveland to stay, hitting .284 with 20 home runs this season, despite a cool stretch with a .254 average in his last 30 games. As a team, Cleveland is hitting .252, the eighth-best mark in the league. Three Guardians players are hitting above .290, led by Andres Gimenez at .296. The high average has to make up for an extreme lack of power, as only 78 home runs by Cleveland is the third-worst mark in the league.
The lack of firepower on offense is supplemented by a good pitching staff, with their 3.90 ERA ranking 14th in the league. Shane Bieber, tonight’s starter, has navigated fluctuating velocity to a 3.55 ERA on the season. Still, Bieber finds himself in the 80th percentile in whiff rate, despite his fastball being down almost two ticks on average. Bieber’s slider is dastardly, opponents have hit just .206 against that offering. Backing up Bieber is a strong bullpen, bolstered by the return of James Karinchak, who has a 2.79 ERA and 17 strikeouts in just 9.2 innings. Lurking at the end of ballgames is closer Emmanuel Clase, with a 1.31 ERA and 21 saves.
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
Tampa Bay barely escaped Baltimore, losing three out of four to the Orioles before returning home. The Rays are likely anxious to return home, where their unique ballpark has led to a 31-18 record at home for the club. Jeffrey Springs, who has revolutionized his career with Tampa Bay, will take the mound tonight with a 2.50 ERA in 20 appearances (12 starts). Springs’ numbers get even more impressive at the Trop, with a 1.76 ERA in his home ballpark. As a team, Tampa Bay’s 3.42 ERA shrinks to 3.10 when hosting their opponents. Tampa Bay’s bullpen has posted an impressive 3.42 ERA, highlighted by Jason Adam’s 1.36 mark.
The strong pitching staff for Tampa Bay has masked a pretty average offense. Tampa Bay ranks in the middle or bottom half of the league in most offensive categories. However, their 174 doubles rank an impressive eighth in the league. Randy Arozarena and Isaac Paredes are still the only Rays hitters to reach double-digit home run totals. Yandy Diaz makes up for his lack of impact power with an impressive eye, walking 53 times compared to just 39 strikeouts.
Final Guardians-Rays Prediction & Pick
This should be a strong pitching matchup, but the advantage should go to the Rays’ strong home record.
Final Guardians-Rays Prediction & Pick: Rays -1.5 (+188), under 6.5 (+104)