Rays vs. Yankees Odds & Pick: Bet On A Clean First Inning Tuesday Night

Rays vs. Yankees Odds & Pick: Bet On A Clean First Inning Tuesday Night article feature image
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Todd Kirkland/Getty Images. Pictured: Masahiro Tanaka.

  • After analyzing the Rays vs. Yankees matchup, our baseball betting analyst Michael Arinze has found an edge.
  • Find out why he likes the first-inning under on Tuesday night.

Rays vs. Yankees Odds

Rays Odds +128 [Bet Now]
Yankees Odds -150 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 9 (-114/-107) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 7:05 p.m. ET

Odds as of Tuesday afternoon 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.


Yankee fans likely woke up with the same prevailing thought this morning: “The Rays are our daddy.” That’s what runs through a fan’s head when their team has lost six consecutive games against the Rays and nine of their last 10.

With another win last night, the Rays extended their lead over the Yankees in the AL East Division to 4.5 games, and according to Spotrac, Tampa Bay has achieved this despite a payroll that’s almost four times less than that of the Yankees.

The Yankees needed to set a tone yesterday with their ace on the mound, but they couldn’t seem to muster any life in the ballgame until they plated their first run in the seventh inning.

Masahiro Tanaka will look to make a stand for the Yankees in the second game of the series. The Rays will opt to use Trevor Richards as their opener, which adds even more of a challenge to the handicap and the hitters he’ll oppose.

Nonetheless, this complexity could offer some value if we target the first inning for a possible wager.


Check out our free MLB odds page, which automatically surfaces the best line for every game.


New York Yankees

Tanaka has had a strange year thus far in the shortened MLB season. He started the season on the IL after taking a line drive off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton during batting practice weeks before the start of the season. Now after five starts, it appears he’s still trying to find his footing, as he’s yet to throw over 71 pitches or go deeper than five innings in a game. He’s currently 0-1 on the year with a 3.48 ERA and 1.16 WHIP. His 3.81 FIP — which is .33 points higher than his ERA — suggests a possible slight regression for him in terms of runs allowed.

However, if Tanaka pitches anything like his last start, he won’t have to worry about regression. He went five innings in one game a seven-inning doubleheader and didn’t allow a run while giving up just three hits. New York was clinging to a 1-0 lead and seemed to lose control of the game as soon as he was pulled. The bullpen gave up two runs the very next inning, and New York lost the game, 2-1.

The Rays are hitting .242 against Tanaka with a .271 OBP.

An OBP below .300 is a promising sign because his ability to keep runners off the bases will improve our chances in a first-inning play.

Tampa Bay Rays

Tanaka will be opposed by Richards out of the Rays’ pen. Richards has yet to receive a decision this season and carries a 4.71 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. He’s already appeared in two games against the Yankees and held them to two runs in seven innings of work.

I like the quirkiness of Richards coming out of the pen to start the game. It’s just the kind of thing you’re looking for when targeting a play in the first inning. The Yankee bats have been cold for a number of games now. When they score runs, they’re typically doing it in bunches, and it’s been occurring in the middle-to-later innings.

In 33 games this season, the Yankees have scored in the first inning 42% of the time. In eight games against the Rays, they’ve scored in the first inning just 25% of the time. Richards will only face the Yankees for a limited number of innings, and he’ll likely empty the tank because of it. I think we get a max effort from him in this spot, and we only need to pick up three outs without a run to give ourselves a chance.

Betting Analysis

Alright, I’ve teased it long enough. Hopefully by now, you’ve realized the first-inning play I’ve been referring to is indeed a first-inning under. I queried Tanaka’s results this season, and in six starts, he’s yet to give up a first-inning run. If we expand our search to include the 2019 season, we find that in 39 starts, he’s only allowed a first-inning run 12.8% of the time.

As for Richards, he has racked up some starts along the way, particularly when we look at his 2019 season with the Miami Marlins. Dating back to last season, Richards has started a game 25 times and surrendered a run 28% of the time. In his last start as an opener, he gave up two runs against the Orioles, so hopefully he will have some adjustments ready for tonight’s outing. With the Yankees still without Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gleybor Torres, tonight looks a great spot to take a shot at a first-inning under. DraftKings is offering the under at +105, and I think we’re getting additional value because Richards is getting the start. I’m willing to take a shot at a clean first inning, and I’ll stake half of a unit behind my play.

The Pick: First-inning Under 0.5 (0.5 units at +105 down to -105)

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