Rays vs Angels Odds, Prediction Thursday | MLB Picks Today (April 18)

Rays vs Angels Odds, Prediction Thursday | MLB Picks Today (April 18) article feature image

(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) Pictured: Randy Arozarena.

The Tampa Bay Rays are above .500, but still sit fourth in the AL East. They host the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday afternoon, with Ryan Pepiot throwing for the Rays and Griffin Canning tossing for the Angels.

Pepiot has had some sour results, but through a few starts his peripherals are encouraging. Canning, on the other hand, has been brutal. There is not much to write home about in regards to his performance thus far.

Since both bullpens are among the worst in the league, Tampa Bay should put some offense together against Canning and whichever pitchers follow. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at this matchup in our Angels vs. Rays preview and pick.

Rays vs Angels Odds, Prediction Today

Thursday, Apr 18
1:10pm ET
Angels Odds
-110o / -110u
Rays Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Los Angeles Angels

Canning has been putrid through three starts, allowing at least four earned runs in each appearance. In the past, he had struggled to limit hard contact — and the same story exists this year. His average exit velocity is 91 mph, his barrel rate is among the worst in the league and his hard-hit rate is over 40%. He usually has favorable walk numbers, but these numbers just say he is grooving in strikes to hitters. The Rays may not have the power numbers they had in 2023, but Canning might have a short leash.

The Angels actually have more hitters above a .330 xwOBA off righties than the Rays so far this season. Six hitters in their lineup are above that mark, obviously spearheaded by future Hall of Famer Mike Trout. Their team wRC+ is under 100, though, and they do not walk all too often.

In relief, the Angels have had a litany of issues. As of Wednesday afternoon, they hold a 4.55 xFIP with almost a 10% walk rate and a sub-20% strikeout rate. José Cisnero, Matt Moore, Carlos Estévez and Luis García are all under a 4.00 xFIP, but no one has been very dominant. That will not get the job done if Canning exits early.

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Tampa Bay Rays

Pepiot has been the recipient of some sour luck. His strikeout rate is above 30% and his walk rate is under 8%, while his ERA is 5.40 versus his 3.07 xERA. In hard contact metrics, he is a touch below average. He also does not allow too many fly balls. That said, when a pitch manufactures whiffs, he is on the right track.

The Rays have five active hitters above a .330 xwOBA off right-handers. Brandon Lowe being hurt does not help, but Yandy Díaz, Randy Arozarena and Harold Ramírez have been below average off righties — and last season, those three were as reliable as any. They should be able to turn it around against a struggling pitcher like Canning, paired with a weak Angels bullpen.

The Rays' relievers were also able to turn it around in the second half for the most part in 2023. They rank second to last in bullpen xFIP with a sub-20% strikeout rate and a walk rate over 14%; that is absolutely abhorrent. They only have two arms below a 4.00 xFIP, so it might take a little while for them to get back in a groove.

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Angels vs. Rays

Betting Pick & Prediction

The Angels just do not have the best pitching staff, and Canning has been one of the worst starters in the league. Outside of a lack of walks, he has very few positive indicators.

The Rays also have not been strong in relief, and Pepiot will yield some hard contact. That said, even though this line is a bit favorable for Tampa Bay, its team total should be in play to 5.5.

Pick: Rays Team Total Over 4.5 (Bet to 5.5)

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