The Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays will open up a crucial four-game series on Monday night. It’s time to continue our MLB Odds series and make a Red Sox-Rays prediction and pick.

This is a huge series for both of these squads. The Red Sox led the AL East for the majority of the season, but the Rays managed to wrestle away the division lead a couple of weeks ago. This series is a great opportunity for Boston to make up some ground in the division, where they now trail the Rays by eight games. Winning three out of four games is the goal here for the Rays, as a win in this series goes a long way in putting the Red Sox away for good. With so much at stake, this should be a great game.

Here’s how the bookmakers have set the lines for Monday’s game.

MLB Odds: Red Sox-Rays Odds

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Boston Red Sox ML (+124)

Tampa Bay Rays ML (-134)

Over 9 runs (+103)

Under 9 runs (-123)

Why The Red Sox Could Cover The Spread

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The best chance the Red Sox have of stopping these streaking Rays lies with the offense. Boston’s lineup ranks inside the top ten in the MLB in batting average, slugging percentage, OBP, and OPS. Getting through this lineup is a difficult task for any pitcher, including Rays starter Luis Patino.

Patino has had a decent season, posting a 4.53 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP on the year. Those stats look pretty solid, but a look at Patino’s advanced stats show that this is a good matchup for Boston. The righty allows a barrel percentage of 9.6% and an expected slugging percentage of .408. Those numbers don’t match up well against a Red Sox offense that specializes in hitting home runs and extra-base hits. Expect Patino to struggle with the power in this Boston lineup.

It also helps that the Red Sox have faced Patino once this year. The Rays starter managed to work for a full six innings, but he gave up four runs in the process. Boston hit two home runs off of him in that game, and a repeat performance from the Red Sox is certainly possible.

Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread

Luckily for the Rays, they don’t have to deal with a great pitcher in this one either. Nick Pivetta is taking the mound for Boston, something that typically works out for whatever team the Red Sox are facing.

Pivetta’s numbers on the season aren’t too bad, but they get significantly worse when we look at his last seven outings. Over that span, Pivetta owns an abysmal 5.35 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Those numbers should look very hittable to a Rays squad that is on a tear at the plate right now.

There are a couple of statistical factors that lean in Tampa Bay’s direction in this matchup. The Rays are a better offensive team when they face right-handed pitching, seeing a rise in batting average, OBP, OPS, and slugging percentage against righties. Pivetta also allows a 10.3% walk rate, which is an extremely high number. Tampa Bay ranks sixth in the MLB in walks drawn, so they should have plenty of free baserunners as long as Pivetta is in the game. To cap things off, the Rays faced Pivetta recently and earned themselves plenty of success. Boston’s starter only lasted four innings while giving up three runs.

Final Red Sox-Rays Prediction & Pick

This should be a close game, and neither money line pick looks particularly enticing. The over, however, looks like a great pick. Both teams have great offenses and are facing middling pitchers that clearly don’t like their matchup. The over is a no-brainer here. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see either team crack it by themselves, and it certainly shouldn’t hold against both of these offenses.

FINAL PICK: Over 9 runs (+103)