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MLB odds: Tigers vs. Rays prediction, odds, pick, and more – 9/16/2021

Tigers Rays prediction, Tigers Rays odds, Tigers Rays pick, Tigers Rays, MLB odds

The Detroit Tigers will take on the Tampa Bay Rays to kick off a four-game series on Thursday. It’s time to continue our MLB odds series and make a Tigers-Rays prediction and pick.

These squads played a three-game set less than a week ago, with Detroit surprising everyone and taking two games out of three. The Rays will look to avenge those losses while stretching their lead in the AL East in this series. Tampa Bay is essentially a lock for the playoffs already, but the division is filled with elite teams. A couple of wins here to extend their lead should give the Rays a little bit more confidence as the season enters its final stages.

The Tigers would love to play some spoiler to one of the best teams in baseball in this series, so expect this to remain competitive.

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

MLB Odds: Tigers-Rays Odds

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Detroit Tigers +1 1/2 (-110)

Tampa Bay Rays -1 1/2 (-110)

Over 8 1/2 runs (-107)

Under 8 1/2 runs (-113)

Why The Tigers Could Cover The Spread

The Rays will be pitching a bullpen game in this one, something that automatically helps Detroit’s case. Helping the Tigers even more is the fact that Tampa Bay is playing a seventh straight day in a row. Over the last three contests, the Rays deployed their bullpen for 11 1/3 innings. This relief corps has been used often recently, and the fatigue from past games should give the Tigers an advantage.

Detroit will entrust Thursday’s start to Tyler Alexander. Alexander started the year as a reliever, but his appearances as a starter have been good enough to inspire some confidence. His stats in his last seven games have been especially strong, as Alexander has posted a 2.79 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. He has also already faced the Rays once this season, pitching four innings and allowing only one run. Alexander has been far from perfect, but he’s steady enough to give the Tigers a reasonable chance of covering in this game.

Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread

If Tampa Bay covers in this game, the offense will almost certainly be the reason why. The Rays aren’t known as one of the best offensive teams in the league, but their hitters have been on a hot streak lately. This lineup has earned a .251 batting average in September, making this one of their best months at the plate.

Alexander may have had success against Tampa Bay in the past, but there are several reasons to believe that will change on Thursday. The Rays are slightly better offensively when they face a right-handed pitcher, earning a higher OPS, OBP, and slugging percentage against righties as opposed to lefties. Alexander also allows a barrel percentage of 9.9% and a hard-hit percentage of 40.4%, two below-average numbers. The Rays have seven hitters who barrel the ball up at a high rate, with a similar number of players earning an above-average hard-hit percentage. This matchup isn’t a good one for Alexander. Expect Tampa Bay to hit for power the entire time Alexander is on the mound.

Final Tigers-Rays Prediction & Pick

The Rays should obviously win this game, but the spread complicates things. The bullpen game aspect makes it hard to trust Tampa’s pitching, but Detroit’s situation isn’t all that much better. With all of those factors in consideration, the over turns into the best pick on the board. It may take until late in the game, but these teams should combine for nine runs or more fairly easily.

FINAL PICK: Over 8 1/2 runs (-107)