The Cleveland Indians and the Tampa Bay Rays will begin a three-game series on Monday night. Each team holds second place in their respective divisions, making this series an important one. Both squads have been ice cold as of late, with the Indians dropping six straight games and the Rays winning only one of their last six. In a hugely important series, one of these teams will break their slump first and gain some ground in their division. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make an Indians – Rays prediction and pick.
Before the pick, let’s see how the bookmakers have set the lines for tonight’s game.
MLB Odds: Indians-Rays Odds
Cleveland Indians +1.5 (-105)
Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 (-115)
Over 8.5 runs (-121)
Under 8.5 runs (+101)
Why The Indians Could Cover The Spread
Despite losing the last six games, the Indians have some reason to believe that they can cover this spread.
The Rays will send starter Rich Hill to the mound Monday, something that isn’t particularly intimidating. Hill has been solid all year but he has a couple of flaws that are exploitable. He consistently struggles with his control, often walking multiple batters in a short outing. This will certainly help an Indians offense that struggles to get on base. Hill is also prone to giving up home runs, another thing that could help a lineup that isn’t known for their power hitting.
It also helps that some of the Indians’ hitters have experience against Hill. Four of the projected starters in tonight’s lineup have faced Hill and own career batting averages above .300 against the lefty.
The Indians have also lost two of their last six by one run, with both of those losses coming against the Houston Astros. The fact that they hung around and covered the spread in games against one of the best teams in the league is encouraging.
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
Tampa Bay has plenty of advantages in Monday’s matchup, and the list starts on the mound.
Despite his faults, Hill really is a decent pitcher. He owns an ERA that sits at 3.70 0n the season, with that number dropping to 3.49 in his last seven starts.
The Cleveland lineup is completely lacking any sort of punch, especially with star infielder Jose Ramirez potentially on the bench in this one due to injury. The Indians also hit worse against left-handed pitching, with the team’s batting average, slugging percentage and OPS all falling when they face a southpaw. To make things even better for Hill, Cleveland struggles offensively when playing on the road. They experience the same decline in pretty much all batting statistics when they play on the road.
The Indians are also sending a starter to the mound who the Rays should obliterate. Logan Allen is supposed to make the start for Cleveland today, something that has never worked out well for the Indians. Allen’s season-long stats are horrible, but his numbers over his last seven starts are even worse. He owns a 8.38 ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in that recent span, earning a losing decision in five of those starts. Tampa Bay should crush Allen early and often.
Final Indians – Rays Prediction & Pick
The Rays have every advantage in this matchup. Cleveland’s lineup has been ice cold lately and they may be playing without their best hitter in Jose Ramirez. It’s nearly impossible to trust Logan Allen against any team, much less the Rays. This is an easy pick, as this game shouldn’t be close.
FINAL PICK: Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 (-115)