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Astros vs. Rays Game 2 Odds, Picks, Betting Prediction & Preview (Oct. 12)

Astros vs. Rays Game 2 Odds, Picks, Betting Prediction & Preview (Oct. 12) article feature image

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Lowe

Astros vs. Rays Game 2 Odds

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Astros Odds +110 [Bet Now]
Rays Odds -131 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-110/-110) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:07 p.m. ET

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The Tampa Bay Rays took Game 1 of the American League Championship Series on Sunday with a 2-1 victory over the Houston Astros.

The Astros jumped out to a 1-0 lead on a first-inning home run by Jose Altuve, but the gap was closed by the red-hot Randy Arozarena, who added a home run of his own to tie the game in the fourth inning. That blast marked Arozarena’s fourth home run in his last six playoff games.

Mike Zunino then drove in Willy Adames on a two-out single in the fifth inning before the Rays bullpen shut down the Astros in the later innings to seal the Game 1 victory.

Tampa’s Charlie Morton will take on the Astros’ Lance McCullers Jr. in Game 2 on Monday afternoon.

Houston Astros

McCullers Jr. struggled in his ALDS start against the Oakland Athletics, allowing four earned runs — including three home runs — over just four innings pitched. He’s also struggled overall in his postseason career, pitching to a 4.69 FIP over 36 total postseason innings.

His regular season numbers were about in-line with his career average (3.70 FIP, .80 HR/9), but the biggest difference for McCullers Jr. was in hard-hit percentage. He saw an increase from 32.9% to 38.4%, a sizable jump year-over-year. This was likely partially due to an increase in fastball usage (up from 37% to nearly 43% of all pitches), a decision that led to his Barrel % increasing from 7.6% to 10.3%.

The Rays, meanwhile, have been relatively quiet of-late offensively, scoring just five runs over their last three games. During the regular season, they were just league average against right-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .319 wOBA, .176 ISO and 105 wRC+.

Tampa Bay Rays

Charlie Morton has been excellent over three career postseason starts for the Rays. In those games, he’s gone 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA and has recorded 19 strikeouts over 15 innings pitched. Overall in his postseason career, he’s pitched to a 3.55 FIP and recorded a 9.71 K/9 over 46.1 postseason innings.

Morton also found success during the regular season, collecting a 3.45 FIP, 0.95 HR/9 and 9.95 K/9. The former Astros also has experience against Houston in the postseason. In one start last year, Morton pitched five strong innings, allowing just one earned run while striking out nine batters en route to a victory.

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The Astros’ .315 wOBA and 102 wRC+ against right-handed pitching during the regular season was nothing to write home about, but they’ve been hitting the ball very well of-late, averaging 6.8 runs per game over their past five.

How I’m Betting Rays-Astros

Despite the Astros recent offensive success, Charlie Morton provides a substantial advantage for the Rays in Game 2. He’s a big-game pitcher who has playoff success and strong long-term metrics, as well.

Opposing pitcher Lance McCullers Jr. has not only struggled overall in the postseason, but also as recently as the American League Division Series. The advanced metrics suggest that this may not be a fluke, particularly with the increase in well-hit balls he’s experienced in 2020.

While the Rays bats have been relatively quiet lately, they have more than enough firepower to handle McCullers. They’ll need more than rookie sensation Randy Arozarena to step it up, though, if they want to jump out to the 2-0 advantage here.

I’m comfortable wagering half a unit on the Rays up to around -140, but I wouldn’t push much further than that. PointsBet has the best number as of Monday morning at -130.

The Bet: Rays -130, up to -140

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