The 2023 American League Wild Card series kicks off as the Tampa Bay Rays host the Texas Rangers in game one of the series. It is time to continue our MLB odds Series with an AL Wild Card Game One Rangers-Rays prediction, pick, and how-to-watch.
The Rangers were able to hold off the Seattle Mariners for a wild-card spot in the last series of the season. they did end up losing three of four but would finish the season 90-72, losing the division via tiebreaker to the Astros. On the last day of the season, the Rangers took a 1-0 loss forcing them to play in the Wild Card round against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Both the Rays and the Rangers were once two of the top teams in the majors. Both of them had droughts in the middle of the season, resulting in both being Wild Card teams. The Rays finished by winning two of the last three games, but finishing at 99-63. While that is the second-best record in the American League and fourth-best in the majors, the Rays finished two games behind the Orioles in the division and will host the Rangers in this round.
Here are the Rangers-Rays MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Rangers-Rays Odds
Texas Rangers: +1.5 (-172)
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+142)
Over: 7.5 (-110)
Under: 7.5 (-110)
How To Watch Rangers vs. Rays
Stream: ESPN App
Time: 3:00 PM ET/ 12:00 PM PT
*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*
Why The Rangers Could Cover The Spread
For the Rangers, it is all about the work on the plate. They are third in the majors in runs scored, second in batting average, third in on-base percentage, and third in slugging. Adolis Garcia comes in leading the team in the last week. He is hitting .261 with a .370 on-base percentage. Garcia has three home runs in that time and a double, leading to four RBIs. He has also scored four runs in the last week.
Meanwhile, Marcus Semien has been scoring the most in the last week. He has scored five runs in the last week while hitting .250 and having a .323 on-base percentage. He has two home runs in the last week with two doubles as well. Semien also has three RBIs in the last week.
While the Rangers have been solid at the plate this year, they have struggled in the last seven games. They are hitting just .189 with a .297 on-base percentage. They do have ten home runs, but this has led to just 21 runs in the last week. The Rangers are leaving runs on the table as they have an expected run total of 23.6 runs in the last week.
Meanwhile, the Rangers have been solid on the mound this year. They are 18th in the majors in team ERA while sitting 12th in WHIP and 15th in opponent batting average. Jordan Montgomery is expected to start game one of the series, although the Rangers have not officially named a starting pitcher. This year, Montgomery is 10-11 with a 3.20 ERA. He also is coming into this game hot. Montgomery has given up just two runs in his last four starts, spanning 27 innings of work. Still, the Rangers have won just two of those games.
Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
While the Rangers are great at the plate, the Rays are nearly as good. They sit fourth in runs scored, third in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage, and fourth in slugging. Jonathan Aranda has been great in the last week. He is hitting .467 with a .529 on-base percentage. He has seven RBIs with two doubles and a home run. Aranda has also scored twice in the last week.
Meanwhile, Harold Ramirez comes into this game hot as well. He is hitting .412 in the last week with a .421 on-base percentage. He has hit a home run and two doubles as well, while driving in five runs. Ramirez has also scored five times. Josh Lowe has scored a ton in the last week. He has scored six times in the last week while hitting .500 with a .556 on-base percentage. Lowe has a home run and three doubles with four RBIs in the last week as well.
The Rays are coming in hitting hot. They are hitting .316 in the last week with a .370 on-base percentage. The Rays have hit eight home runs, but have 37 runs scored in the last week. They have five players who have four or more RBIs in the last week. Meanwhile, they have three guys with four or more runs in the last week. The Rays are making the most of their scoring chances in the last week. They have scored 37 runs in the last week on an expected 34 runs scored.
The Rays are sending Tyler Glasnow to the mound to make the first start of the series. He is 10-7 on the year with a 3.53 ERA. Glasnow has been up and down in his recent starts. In September he has made three starts giving up three or fewer runs, while he has three starts giving up four or more runs. In September, Glasnow has pitched 33.1 innings, with 18 runs given up. That gives him a 4.86 ERA this past month, while the Rays have gone 3-3 in his starts.
Final Rangers-Rays Prediction & Pick
This series features two teams that had amazing years, but still have to face in the Wild Card round. The Rays had the second-best record in the American League, while the Rangers tied for third-best. Both of them had great run differences as well. The Rays led the American League with a +195 run differential, while the Rangers were second with a +165 run differential.
Still, the Rays sent their best pitcher to the mound in the first game. Glasnow has been solid this year, but a little rocky as of late. Jordan Montgomery for the Rangers could give them a chance to steal this game. He has been pitching nearly perfect heading into this start. He has only made two postseason starts before, and they have not gone great, but he comes into this postseason in a different form than he has in the past. Still, the Rangers are not hitting well at all. This is going to be a close game, and while the Rays may win, the Rangers should cover.
Final Rangers-Rays Prediction & Pick: Rangers +1.5 (-172)