Blue Jays vs Rays Odds, Picks | MLB Betting Guide & Prediction
Via Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 12, 2023 in Bronx, New York. The Yankees defeated the Rays 6-5.
- The Rays are short favorites on Wednesday night in an AL East clash with the Blue Jays.
- There's potential for a high-scoring game between these teams tonight, and Wander Franco and Bo Bichette could lead the way with favorable matchups.
- Find Nicholas Martin's top MLB picks and predictions for Blue Jays vs. Rays below.
Blue Jays vs. Rays Odds
|Blue Jays Odds|
-118 / -104
The Blue Jays snapped a five-game losing streak in the series opener against the Rays with a commanding 20-1 victory.
Claiming a second consecutive victory Wednesday could prove more difficult with Shane McClanahan starting on the mound for the Rays. McClanahan has pitched to a 2.05 ERA in 57 innings and is the favorite to win the American League Cy Young award.
Yusei Kikuchi will start for Toronto. Kikuchi has started the season in decent form but has still been far from dominant with a 4.08 ERA over 46 and 1/3 innings.
The Blue Jays desperately will hope that Kikuchi can get right with a lengthy start in Wednesday’s contest with their starting rotation currently dealing with lots of concerns. Kikuchi has allowed seven earned runs over his last two matchups and has managed to get through just eight and 1/3 innings combined.
His xERA this season is still at 5.05, which is nearly a full run higher than his actual mark and only a marginal improvement from his 5.63 mark in 2022. Kikuchi’s Strikeout Rate is actually down to 22%, while his Hard-hit Rate sits at a nearly identical mark of 47.5% compared to last year.
Right-handed batters have really hit Kikuchi well, as they have slugged .517 against him this season. Consequently, it’s fair to question if Kikuchi’s early season improvements may have been nothing but some more favorable luck.
Offensively, the Blue Jays should offer a firm test for McClanahan. They have hit to just a 104 wRC+ this season versus lefties, but logic dictates their more balanced 2023 roster should trend upwards in that department.
Bo Bichette has hit to a .634 SLG rate versus lefties this season with a 1.029 OPS and a .294 average in 17 at-bats versus McClanahan. Most recently in this season’s first meeting, Bichette hammered two hard hits in his three at-bats vs McClanahan.
Bichette is batting .400 on pitches over 95 MPH this season, which is where 95% of McClanahan’s fastballs have lived, so this matchup sets up favorably for the Jays shortstop.
There are likely some arguments as to why McClanahan will finish the season overachieving some of his expected rates, but even still, he has to be due for some regression.
McClanahan’s 3.58 xERA is 1.53 runs greater than his actual mark. His xFIP is 3.64, his Average Exit Velocity is in the 37th percentile, and his BABIP is .276. A 92.3% LOB rate has been the greatest key to hiding what is otherwise a dominant, but not otherworldly, profile.
Tampa has been the best team in baseball versus left-handed pitching by a wide margin. They have hit to a team wRC+ of 159, with a wOBA of 395. That comes with a ninth-highest BABIP of .324.
Wander Franco has slugged .545 versus lefties with a .966 OPS. He’s also recorded hits in four of nine at-bats against Kikuchi historically.
Franco has missed on just 15% of swings versus sliders this season, which is the best mark in the MLB and should help versus Kikuchi. He is also slugging .712 against fastballs this season, which is the third-best mark in MLB.
Blue Jays vs. Rays Betting Pick
It does seem likely that this game could break open and be relatively high scoring. At the opening total of eight, I would say the over surely had some value. At the new number of 8.5, I would still lean to the over, but the price probably seems about fair.
This matchup sets up ideally for Bo Bichette to do some damage. All of the splits are in his favor, and we are still getting a reasonable number for him to go over 1.5 bases out of respect to McClanahan. However, Bichette has hit McClanahan well, and McClanahan is due for some overall regression.
Wander Franco has been a little less dominant at the plate lately, but this is an excellent time for him to break out with a big day. He should cover the majority of what Kikuchi has to offer effectively, and I like the chances he can manage an extra-base hit.
Pick: Wander Franco Over 1.5 Total Bases +115
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Pick: Bo Bichette Over 1.5 Total Bases -105
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