Rays vs Guardians Odds, Picks, Predictions | AL Wild Card Round Game 1 Parlay
Mike Carlson/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane McClanahan
- The Rays and Guardians meet in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Round on Friday afternoon.
- Shane McClanahan takes the mound for Tampa, while another Shane, Cleveland's Bieber, will oppose him.
- Continue reading to find out how to build a Same Game Parlay for Friday's first MLB playoff game.
Rays vs. Guardians Game 1 Odds
|12:07 p.m. ET
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
You smell that? It's October!
The best part of the season is here and in the first game we have a battle of aces as Shane McClanahan and the Rays head to Cleveland to take on Shane Bieber and the Guardians.
The Parlay (+603*):
- Rays Moneyline
- Shane McClanahan o4.5 Strikeouts
- Shane Bieber o5.5 Strikeouts
- Ji-Man Choi to Record a Hit
*This does not take into account Ji-Man Choi, who does not have listed odds as of Thursday night.
Same Game Parlay – Rays vs. Guardians
This line has been quickly hammered down and for good reason. The Tampa Bay Rays should be favored here and hold a significant edge on the mound.
Shane McClanahan was in the AL Cy Young race for the entirety of the regular season and has taken drastic strides in his second season. The lefty has cut his hard-hit rate by over 13% and his xSLG by over .100!
McClanahan has a 2.79 xERA in 28 games and opponents have a .207 xBA. His strikeout rate is also an elite 30.3%, which ranks in the 94th percentile of all pitchers.
He is also even more effective on the road, where he has a 2.08 ERA in 10 starts.
Opposite McClanahan is Shane Bieber, who has some alarming advanced metrics despite a 2.88 ERA. For starters, his hard-hit rate is 43% and his xERA is 3.51.
Opponents have a .245 xBA against the right-hander, which ranks in the bottom 15% of all pitchers. Bieber has a 2.65 ERA on the road, but that jumps to 3.22 at Progressive Field.
The Rays' offense ranks one slot higher than the Guardians in wRC+ and while the bullpen is worse — 15th to Cleveland's No. 2 spot — the backend is dominant.
Pete Fairbanks has a 1.13 ERA across 24 innings and setup man Jason Adams has a 1.56 ERA over 61 1/3 innings. Even lefty specialist Brooks Raley boasts a 2.68 ERA.
All this to say I am not worried if the game comes down to the wire against the Guardians. I expect McClanahan to exit with a safe lead as the Rays get to Bieber and shock the Guardians at home.
Shane McClanahan o4.5 Strikeouts
Continuing the narrative that the Rays will win on the back of a strong start from McClanahan, I'm taking his over on strikeouts.
This is a number McClanahan has eclipsed in 22 of 28 starts. I understand the concerns with the lefty having just seven strikeouts over his past 19 innings, but he's been eased back into action and shouldn't have a leash on Friday afternoon.
I trust Kevin Cash wouldn't throw McClanahan in Game 1 if he weren't fully ready. This is a pitcher who enters with a 30% strikeout rate and great command. Even against a Guardians team that doesn't strikeout much, I like McClanahan's chances here.
Our projections have McClanahan at 6.7 strikeouts, which is a 24.6% edge and an A+ grade.
In his lone start against Cleveland, McClanahan didn't make it out of the fifth inning, but did have four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. If he's able to complete 6-plus, this prop should go over.
Shane Bieber o5.5 Strikeouts
I think the Rays will be able to get to Shane Bieber, but this number is way too low for the right-hander.
Since July, Bieber has struck out six or more batters in 12 of 16 games, a 75% clip. While I think he's a bit overvalued on the moneyline, Bieber is known for his strikeout ability. Even with a slight decline to a 25% strikeout rate, this 5.5 mark remains too low.
In his two starts against the Rays this season, Bieber eclipsed six strikeouts both times. The Rays have the 12th-worst strikeout rate at just north of 23%.
Our projections have Bieber at 7.1 strikeouts, a 24.3% edge and an A+ grade, nearly identical to that of McClanahan's.
This is going to be a low-scoring game and both pitchers should pitch deep enough into the game to eclipse their strikeout props.
Ji-Man Choi to Record a Hit
There is no prop currently offered on Ji-Man Choi to record a hit, but in all likelihood he will be in the lineup on Friday. And if he does, add him to record a hit in your parlay.
Choi has recorded 13 at-bats against Bieber, the most of any player on Tampa Bay's roster. He has five hits — two doubles — and a pair of walks. That translates to a .385 average and a 1.005 OPS.
After a couple months of struggling — a .109 average in August followed by a .156 average in September — Choi ended the season strong with six hits in 12 at-bats.
He's also been to the playoffs in three straight seasons and is one of the most seasoned veterans on the Rays. Trust Choi to get a hit against Bieber en route to a Rays win to round out this same game parlay.