Rays vs. Athletics Odds & Picks: How To Bet On Saturday’s Underdog
Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Frankie Montas
- A close series. Sharp action. And historical trends.
- MLB betting analyst Tanner McGrath breaks down Saturday afternoon's matchup between the Rays and A's.
- Find out why he sees value on the run line with Oakland as the underdog.
Rays vs. Athletics Odds
|Time||4:07 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.|
Another low-scoring but wildly entertaining battle between the Rays and the A’s happened Friday. After both pitchers threw six shutout innings, the A’s squeaked out a 2-1 win on the back two Seth Brown RBIs, including a walk-off home run in the ninth.
Following that game, the Rays and A’s are now 5-0 to the under in their 2021 series. Oakland leads the series 3-2, with four of the five games having been decided by just one run.
With Tyler Glasnow and Frankie Montas pitching, we should expect more of the same on Saturday night.
Tampa Bay Rays
Fresh off a four-game sweep of the Angels in Anaheim, the Rays are settled into the second-place spot in the AL East.
Normally, a four-game road sweep is a grand achievement for baseball teams. However, it’s been standard for the Rays this season — Tampa Bay is 11-5 on the road this season while leading all teams in road runs per game (5.81).
The pitching on the road has been just as good, as the Rays’ pitching staff ranks eighth in road WHIP and sixth in road FIP. Otherwise, the Rays don’t excel at anything in particular — rather, they just play solid all-around team baseball.
Tampa Bay ranks 10th in team wRC+, 14th in team defensive WAR and seventh in team FIP. Meanwhile, no one in the lineup is hitting better than .300 or posting an OPS above .900. However, there is one standout player on Tampa’s roster this season:
TYLER GLASNOW (RHP)
Glasnow is a true ace and an elite pitcher who should be in the Cy Young conversation.
Through seven starts this season, Glasnow has posted a 2.06 ERA, a 2.39 FIP and a .87 WHIP while striking out 38.3% of batters faced. The Rays are 5-2 in Glasnow starts this season.
However, there are a few concerning things about Glasnow’s statistics.
His .226 BABIP should regress to closer to league average (about .300), and his 86.4% strand rate isn’t sustainable. Additionally, Glasnow’s 90.4 mph average exit velocity ranks in just the 29th-percentile of pitchers, and his 46.6% hard-hit percentage ranks in just the 19th-percentile.
However, if Glasnow continues to miss bats at the absurd rate he has been, he shouldn’t be a big regression candidate.
Oakland’s had a crazy, up-and-down season.
But the A’s are on top of the AL West with a 20-14 record, despite having a run differential of -12. While the A’s are 3-7 in “blowout” games, they are also 8-2 in one-run games — including Friday night’s narrow victory.
The pitching has been largely fine, and Sean Manaea even brought a no-hitter into the eighth inning on Friday night. The lineup has been hitting above league average, although the A’s were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position in last night’s win.
Matt Olson has been the best hitter on the team this season and paces the team with a 19.2% barrel rate. However, he’s in a 1-for-18 slump and has eight strikeouts during that time. Instead, Jed Lowrie has started to heat up again, as he went 3-for-4 last night and hit his fourth double of his last six games.
Meanwhile, after a fantastic year in 2018, it’s been all downhill for right-hander Frankie Montas since.
Montas hasn’t done much right this season. He’s posted a 5.87 ERA, a 4.63 FIP and a 1.47 WHIP through six starts this season. Compared to last season, his strikeout and whiff rate are way down while his exit velocity and barrel rate are way up.
However, Montas has lowered his walk rate and upped his ground ball rate compared to last year. But again, that’s about all that’s gone right for Montas this season. He still relies on his sinker as his primary pitch — it goes about 95 mph, but doesn’t move a lot. However, compared to last season, he’s upped his sinker’s spin rate and the wOBA on the pitch has dropped about 70 points.
However, his whiff rate and put away rate on the sinker have also dropped from last season. So, all the Good in Montas’ season comes with bad.
Montas has pitched once against Tampa Bay this season. He allowed three runs on six hits and two walks over six innings while striking out five. The Rays won that game and Montas was awarded the loss.
I’m playing the A’s +1.5 at anything better than -150.
We’ve tracked sharp money coming in on Oakland, as the A’s ML is receiving just 21% of the tickets but almost 70% of the handle as of writing (check real-time public betting data here). These two play in one-run games constantly, So while the betting market indicates there’s value on the A’s, I think the added security of the run line is worth the extra juice.
Moreover, as underdogs and since 2019, the A’s are 53-33 on the run line in the regular season:
It’s tough to bet against Glasnow, who shut out Oakland earlier this season. Plus, Montas hasn’t been great, but he just threw six very solid innings against Tampa on April 27.
We should be in for a back-and-forth rock fight that shouldn’t be decided by more than one or two runs, and I think the A’s provide value in this spot.
Pick: Athletics +1.5 (-150 or better)