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MLB Odds, Picks: Angels vs Rays Betting Preview (Thursday, August 25)

MLB Odds, Picks: Angels vs Rays Betting Preview (Thursday, August 25) article feature image

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Drew Rasmussen

  • The Rays host the Angels in a matchup of teams going in different directions.
  • Drew Rasmussen will take the ball for Tampa Bay and Patrick Sandoval will get the start for Los Angeles.
  • The moneyline price is steep, but D.J. James has found a better way to back the Rays.

Angels vs. Rays Odds

Angels Odds +158
Rays Odds -190
Over/Under 6.5 (-125 /+ 105)
Time 1:10 p.m. ET
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Drew Rasmussen has had a great month of August, including an outing in which he carried a perfect game into the ninth inning of his start a week and a half ago. He and the Tampa Bay Rays will face off with Patrick Sandoval and the Los Angeles Angels.

Sandoval has been a bright spot in the Angels’ subpar 2022 campaign, aside from their owner, Arte Moreno, exploring a sale of the team. Sandoval has a 3.14 ERA, but his xERA eclipses 4.00 (4.15), so this means he is serviceable still but extremely fortunate on the hill. This may be partly due to his lack of command. He owns a 10.3% walk rate, so issuing free passes means he has to strand runners consistently.

The Rays know how to walk and have hit left-handers well in August (117 wRC+). They also own a team walk rate over 9% against southpaws, so Sandoval is a great matchup for their lineup.

Since the Rays’ moneyline is a bit steep, we’ll target their team total over.

Los Angeles Angels’ Pitching Could Be Problem

Sandoval features a slider and changeup more often than his fastball. It has worked for him all season, but he obviously has issues with throwing these off-speed pitches for strikes.

That said Sandoval ranks in the 66th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 69th percentile in Hard Hit Percentage. This is likely due to these two pitches hovering only around 85 mph.

Now, Wander Franco and Roman Quinn are on the Injured List for the Rays, but the team is healthy otherwise. They have five hitters with a .325+ xwOBA off of southpaws this month. Francisco Mejía and Taylor Walls are also over .300, so they can piece together a decent plate appearance here and there. This encompasses much of the Rays order. Since they all have a strong approach, expect Sandoval to rack up the walks and not make it deep into this game.

This leads to one of the Angels’ severe flaws: the bullpen. In August, the Angels have a 4.43 xFIP out of the ‘pen. They have had their injuries, but they have zero arms below the 3.00 mark on the active roster. In fact, Jimmy Herget and Jaime Barria are the only two under 4.00. The Rays will be able to score late, as well.

Top of Order Key for Tampa Bay Rays

Rasmussen has a 1.93 ERA since the All-Star Break, so he is a budding arm for Tampa at the moment. He technically has issues with limiting hard contact, ranking in the 21st percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 30th percentile in Hard Hit Rate, but this has not bruised him as of late.

His 2.82 ERA on the season is a touch lucky with a 3.62 xERA, but both are solid numbers. In contrast to Sandoval, Rasmussen walks only 6.1% of hitters. Los Angeles walks only 5.7% of the time off of righties in August anyway, so this is likely going to go as expected.

In addition, the Angels have the usual suspects at the top of the order with a gigantic gap in talent: Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, and David Fletcher are the only three above a .300 xwOBA off of righties in August. The rest of the Angel lineup is abysmal and will be with Rasmussen on the bump.

The Rays also tout one of the best bullpens in baseball, as usual. They have a team xFIP of 2.98 with six of eight arms below 3.00 and the other two below 4.40. They are steady and will manufacture outs, especially facing a team with a 73 wRC+ in August.

Angels-Rays Pick

The Rays are the better of the two teams here, but they have an expensive moneyline. Sandoval will walk many Tampa batters and turn it over to the Angels’ bullpen early.

With that, the Rays will continue to accrue baserunners, and in turn, runs. Take the Rays’ team total over 4 (-120) and up to 5 (-125).

Pick: Tampa Bay Rays o4 (-120) | play to 5 (-125)

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