The Tampa Bay Rays are set to host the Baltimore Orioles today in the first matchup of a three-game set at Tropicana Field. With that said, it’s a good time to check out our MLB odds series, which includes our Orioles-Rays prediction and pick we have laid out below.

Tampa Bay enters the game clinging onto a half-game lead over the Orioles for the final American League wild-card spot. The Rays are in third place in the AL East at 58-52 with a .500 record in their last 10 games, while Baltimore sits in fourth in the division at 58-53 with wins in seven of its last 10 outings.

The season series between the AL East rivals is knotted up, with both teams taking eight out of 16 games. However, the Orioles hold a 3-1 advantage since the All-Star break.

Here are the Orioles-Rays MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Orioles-Rays Odds

Baltimore Orioles: +1.5 (-172) ML: +122

Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+142) ML: -144

Over: 7.5 (-102)

Under: 7.5 (-120)

Why The Orioles Could Cover The Spread

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The Orioles were an afterthought heading into the season, and that held true for the first two months of the season. However, that outlook has changed drastically this summer. After falling 11 games below .500 on June 10, Baltimore caught fire, going 34-18 over its last 52 games — a stretch that included a 10-game winning streak — to insert itself into the playoff hunt.

The presence of veteran right-hander Austin Voth on the mound should also inspire optimism, despite a rocky start to the season for the 30-year-old. Voth stumbled out of the gates in 2022, recording an ERA of 10.13 through the first two months of the season. His season began to turn around when he went from the bullpen to a starting role, though. He had a 9.41 ERA when he made his first start of the year on June 19 and has dropped that number to 5.53 after posting ERAs of 3.00 and 2.75, respectively, in June and July.

Tampa Bay starter Corey Kluber, meanwhile, has gone in the opposite direction recently. Kluber has a significantly lower ERA for the season at 4.05, but his production has tailed off as of late. He has a 4-2 record over his last seven starts, but he’s given up an average of 5.21 runs per nine innings during this stretch. July was the worst month of the season for the 36-year-old, who posted a 5.34 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .289 off of him. To illustrate just how badly opposing batters were tagging Kluber last month, Colorado Rockies pitcher Kyle Freeland ranks last in all of baseball with a .280 opponent batting average in 2022 — eight points lower than Kluber’s July totals.

Baltimore also holds an advantage with its relief pitchers, whose 3.09 bullpen ERA is the third-best in baseball and 32 points lower than Tampa Bay. The Orioles seem to have an edge at the plate, as well, leading the Rays in OPS, slugging percentage, runs scored, home runs, doubles, and triples this season.

Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread

While still ranking behind Baltimore in most categories, the Rays have been able to find some success against right-handed pitching. They rank among the top 10 in the MLB in doubles and walks off righties, and lead the Orioles in batting average and on-base percentage over the course of the year. The Rays have also received a boost at the plate from some of their midseason additions, with second baseman Yu Chang and centerfielder Roman Quinn posting OPS figures of 1.326 and 1.125, respectively, over the last seven days. Chang leads the team with 10 total bases, two home runs, and three runs scored in this span, despite only appearing in three games.

For all his recent struggles, Kluber has still been a better pitcher than Voth when looking at their production for all of 2022, with his full-season ERA sitting nearly a run and a half lower than his counterpart. He also had a respectable outing in his most recent appearance, giving up three earned runs and no walks in six innings against the Detroit Tigers last week.

Final Orioles-Rays Prediction & Pick

In what appears to be a fairly even matchup, both recent performance and value seem to favor the Orioles. The Rays haven’t been productive enough at the plate to justify taking them on the -1.5 run line, especially considering that Kluber has cooled off significantly after a strong start to 2022. Tampa Bay does have a 33-21 record at home, while Baltimore is 25-32 on the road. However, the Rays are four games below .500 since the All-Star break, with the Orioles going 12-7 during this same stretch. At +122 on the money line, picking Baltimore to win outright is a solid play.

Final Orioles-Rays Prediction & Pick: Orioles money line (+122)