The Rays are the best team in baseball and will be looking to become the first team to have 40 wins this year. At 39-16, the Rays lead the Orioles by four games in the AL East. They have won seven of their last ten games, including taking two of three from the Dodgers over the weekend. The Rays started hot for the season, with a 29-7 start. Since then they are 10-9 and while still over .500, they have watched their lead over the red-hot Orioles shrink.
The Cubs are coming in off a three-game sweep at the hands of the Reds at home. They were outscored 25-10 in the series, and now find themselves in last placed in the NL Central. The Cubs have now lost 11 of their last 14 games, and consistently been blown out in the process. They have lost five of their 11 games by five or more runs.
Here are the Rays-Cubs MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Rays-Cubs Odds
Tampa Bay Rays: -1.5 (+126)
Chicago Cubs: +1.5 (-152)
Over: 8 (-114)
Under: 8 (-106)
How To Watch Rays vs. Cubs
Time: 2:20 PM ET/ 11:20 AM PT
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Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread
The Rays not only lead the league in scoring but are eighth in the majors in team ERA. Taj Bradley will be getting the start today for the Rays. In his first three starts of the year, he went 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA. His last two starts have not been great though. Against the Mets, he gave up two runs in five innings of work, and then against the Jays, it was four runs in four innings to get his first loss of the year.
Leading the way for the Rays is Wander Franco. Franco just has a great series, driving in four runs in the last three games. He is hitting .297 this month with a .360 on-base percentage. He has hit three doubles, two triples, two home runs, and driven in 12 runs in the last month. Yandy Diaz has been even better over the last month. He is hitting .338 this month with a .440 on-base percentage. He has 14 RBIs and five home runs this month as well.
The leader of the team in RBIs is Randy Arozarena. Arozarena has 39 runs batted in so far this year, with 11 home runs. His OPS of .936 on the season is also 9th in the majors, with a 14th-ranked batting average on the year. He cooled off a little in May, but still be playing well. Brandon Lowe is looking to get back on track. He is hitting just .204 on the year, with a .169 average on the month.
Why The Cubs Could Cover The Spread
The Cubs' biggest hope for a win comes with Marcus Stroman. Stroman is the ace for the Cubs and is 4-4 with a 2.95 ERA. This month, Stroman has a 3.77 ERA, but that is based on one bad start. He went 2.2 innings and gave up six runs on May 14th against the Twins. In his last two starts, he has been solid. Against the Phillies, he went six innings and gave up just one run. Then against the Mets, he went eight innings giving up just two runs in a winning effort.
The Cubs need Dansby Swanson to continue his hot hitting. He has four hits in nine at-bats in his last two games, and he hit safely in seven of his last eight games. He is hitting .252 this month, and while he has driven in 16 runs this month, he has struggled with strikeouts. Swanson has struck out 24 times this month. Patrick Wisdom is also looking to get back on track. This month he is hitting .186, but in his last two games, he is three for six with two home runs and five RBIs. Wisdom leads the team in home runs and RBIs, but has also struggled with strikeouts, with 31 this month,
With Cody Bellinger still out, Christopher Morel has replaced him in the line-up. He has not done a bad job overall. He is hitting .299 on the month, with 15 RBIS and nine home runs. He showed a lot of power early in the month but has not hit a home run in his last five games. If he can send a ball yard today, that may give the Cubs the run support needed to allow Stroman to get the win.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick
The Rays have struggled by their standards in their last twenty games, but still, they are the best team in baseball. The Cubs have been awful as of late, and unless Stroman can have a stellar performance, it seems unlikely the Cubs will win. They do not have the offense and the Rays offense is too potent. It may be a closer game than expected, but the Rays will still win.
Final Rays-Cubs Prediction & Pick: Rays -1.5 (+126)