Let the weekend begin! The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays will continue their first series against one another on Saturday at Tropicana Field. It is time to check out our MLB odds series, where our Red Sox-Rays prediction and odds will be unveiled.
After stealing game one in a narrow 4-3 victory, the Red Sox will look to improve to 8-7 and pass the Rays in the AL East standings in the process. On the mound will be RHP Garrett Whitlock, whose 0.93 ERA in four appearances is as good as it gets. Usually a reliever, Whitlock will most likely only pitch a few innings before Boston turns it over to their bullpen.
The Rays will look to bounce back at home on Saturday after they came up short versus their division rivals. Prior to the loss, the Rays had won three of their past four games. Tampa Bay will follow in Boston’s footsteps in having relief pitcher J.P. Feyereisen make his second career start.
Courtesy of FanDuel, here are the Red Sox-Rays MLB odds:
MLB odds: Red Sox-Rays Odds
Boston Red Sox: +1.5 (-182)
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+150)
Over: 7.5 (+102)
Under: 7.5 (-124)
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Why the Red Sox Could Cover the Spread
The Red Sox could simply cover the spread because they were able to pull it off during game one on Friday after RHP Michael Wacha pitched a gem and the offense came up clutch with some timely hits to put them in the win column. Boston even let opposing shortstop Wander Franco go yard twice and still found a way to overwhelm the Rays. With the game on the line, shortstop Trevor Story made a diving stop to rob Franco of a hit and threw him out at first in the process. The win was just the second time in five games this week that the Red Sox were able to find a way to come out victorious against their opposition.
Things will look slightly different in the Red Sox clubhouse this weekend starting on Saturday, as manager Alex Cora came down with COVID, thrusting bench coach Will Venable to handle the managerial duties in this series. Venable will have to rely on Whitlock to pitch up to standard, even if that means that Boston will have to stretch his arm out with a few extra innings, something that he may not be used to as a relief pitcher. The former UAB hurler is only allowing hitters to bat for a .121 average while striking out eleven men in 9 2/3 innings.
Offensively, Boston’s hitting numbers suggest that they are a middle-of-the-road squad in the short sample size so far. The Red Sox have the 13th best batting average at .234 while slugging at a .367 mark, good for the 14th-best number in the majors. Additionally, Boston is averaging roughly 3.9 runs per game and has had runners cross the plate 51 times this season.
As underdogs six times this season thus far, the Red Sox have only come away with two wins, but they are also 8-5 in 13 matchups against the spread in 2022.
Why Rays Could Cover the Spread
It has been an up and down year in the Cigar City of Tampa, Florida, as the Rays would love to find some more consistency throughout their 2022 roster. One thing Tampa Bay doesn’t lack is the superstar status of Wander Franco, who finally returned to the lineup on Friday after missing the Chicago series with some right quad tightness.
Even with the loss, Tampa Bay should be ecstatic with their go-to-man in Franco bacl on the diamond, as Franco has the ability to single handily win a game for the Rays with his raw power and baseball expertise.
As a whole, the Rays are a top ten offensive bunch statistically, as they have a combination of youthful and veteran hitters that can give opposing pitching fits when they are locked in at the plate. While Rays have clubbed only 11 homers up to this point, good for 16th in the league, Tampa Bay ranks sixth in the majors with a combined .406 slugging percentage.
Similar to Boston, the Rays have also experienced a COVID scare in recent days, as Tampa Bay was forced to make catcher Francisco Mejia sit out after he contracted the illness. This could be a major blow to the Rays on Saturday, as Mejia is raking .348 to start off the 2022 campaign.
Don’t be shocked if expected starter J.P. Fevereisen continues his excellence against Boston on Saturday and helps out mightily in the Rays getting back on track by covering the spread. The Red Sox have historically struggled against him, as Feyereisen is 1-0 with a 1.42 ERA in five career relief outings when facing Boston.
Final Red Sox-Rays Prediction & Pick
This series is pretty evenly matched, as both teams enter play with a 7-7 overall record. With Boston taking advantage in a game one win, expect Fevereisen to leave Red Sox hitters off-balance throughout the evening. Tampa Bay evens things up and covers the spread in doing so.
Final Red Sox-Rays Pick: Rays -1.5 (+150)