MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: How to Bet Rays vs. Red Sox (Thursday, Aug. 13)

Credit:

Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Xander Bogaerts #2 of the Boston Red Sox.

Rays vs. Red Sox Odds

Rays Odds -162 [Bet Now]
Red Sox Odds +138 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9.5 (-103/-120) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:30 p.m. ET 

Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The Tampa Bay Rays will send their ace Tyler Glasnow to the mound to go for a four game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Thursday. The Rays have been on fire offensively so far this series scoring 25 runs in the first three games as Red Sox’s starting rotation has no answers.

Boston will try something different Thursday sending Kyle Hart, who has never pitched in the big leagues, to the mound in hopes they can salvage at least one game.

Rays

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

The Rays offense before the Red Sox series was nothing to write home about. They had a .297 wOBA and 96 wRC+ before their offensive outburst in this series. Brandon Lowe and Joey Wendle have been carrying the Rays offensively to begin the season, as they are the only two with wOBAs over .350.

The Rays are average at best against lefties, with a .312 wOBA and 101 wRC+ in 2019. We’ll see if they can improve those number against Hart in his major league debut.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual player per game is 0.46 BaseRuns.


Rays Projected Starter

Tyler Glasnow, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Glasnow is on his way to becoming one of the best pitchers in baseball. He posted a 2.94 xFIP last season, which ranked fourth in MLB. Glasnow’s effectiveness derives first and foremost from his fastball, which averages nearly 97 mph and can top out over 100 mph.

But it’s not just about his velocity. Glasnow also demonstrates elite control with his heater. Furthermore, he throws it more than any other starting pitcher I’ve looked at, using it on over two-thirds of his pitches. That high usage is justifiable, because Glasnow only allowed a .195 batting average and produced a 22.4% whiff rate with his fastball in 2019.

He also has an elite curveball that was nearly untouchable in 2019, allowing a meager 1.69 wOBA to opposing batters and producing a staggering 43.5% whiff rate.

He’ll have a challenge on his hands though as the Red Sox ranked eighth against fastballs and second against curveballs in 2019.

Red Sox

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs

Boston’s offense has been pretty average to begin the season with a .315 wOBA and 98 wRC+. Other than Xander Bogaerts the heart of the order hasn’t gotten going yet as J.D. Martinez and Rafael Devers both have a wOBA below .300 to start the year.

Those two will need to pick up their level of play if the Red Sox offense is going to carry them to some sort of relevancy, because their starting pitching certainly isn’t going to help them.

The good news for the Red Sox is Glasnow pretty much only throws a two pitch combination of a fastball and curveball, which happens to be the only two pitches they’ve been successful against this season (2.5 wFB runs & 3.0 wCB runs).

Red Sox Projected Starter

Kyle Hart, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Kyle Hart spent all of last season at Triple-A and to be honest, it didn’t go well. He posted a 5.17 xFIP in a little over 100 innings pitch, which does not bode well for him facing a red-hot Rays lineup. Under normal circumstances, I don’t think Hart would ever have been called up to the big leagues, but the Red Sox are in dire straights right now with their rotation.

In my opinion, I think the Red Sox are going to have an extremely short leash Thursday and will try to make this a bullpen game, so there is no need to take a deep dive into Hart.

Bullpens

The big news yesterday was that Andrew Kittredge, one of the Rays’ best relievers, was placed on the 45 day IL with an elbow injury. Tampa’s bullpen has been taxed over the first three games of this series pitching 17.2 of the 27 innings. Even though the Rays have the best bullpen in baseball, they’ll be a little thin on Thursday.

Despite giving up nine runs yesterday, the Red Sox bullpen actually got the day off. After Zack Godley gave up eight earned runs, Ryan Weber tossed six innings of one-run ball, so Boston should have all of their relievers available. Despite their starting pitching issues, the Red Sox bullpen hasn’t been that bad to begin the season. They have a 4.17 xFIP, which ranks 15th in MLB.

Projections and Pick

The Red Sox bullpen is a lot better than people give it credit for. With this being a bullpen game, I think the Sox are being slightly undervalued against Glasnow, since they have the better lineup based on my projections. However, it’s still unclear how long of a leash Hart will have on Thursday.

Since I have the Rays margin of victory at 0.49, I am to play this one safe and back the Red Sox run line of +1.5 at -113 (DraftKings) and I would bet it up to -126.

Pick: Red Sox +1.5 (-113) [Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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