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Orioles vs. Rays Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Tuesday’s Over/Under (July 20)

Orioles vs. Rays Odds & Pick: Betting Value on Tuesday’s Over/Under (July 20) article feature image

Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: altimore Orioles starting pitcher John Means (47).

  • The Baltimore Orioles face the Tampa Bay Rays in the second game of their three-game series on Tuesday.
  • It will be the first start for O's pitcher John Means since he injured his shoulder six weeks ago.
  • Mike Vitanza explains why he's betting the total in tonight's matchup.

Orioles vs. Rays Odds

Orioles Odds +170
Rays Odds -200
Over/Under 7.5 (-115 / -105)
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Baltimore Orioles took the first game of this road series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night by the score of 6-1 at Tropicana Field.

The Orioles were paced offensively by strong performances from Austin Hays and Trey Mancini, both of whom had multi-hit games from the top of the lineup. Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, Anthony Santander and Ryan Valiaka all drove in runs for the O’s in the victory.

The Rays, meanwhile, managed just one run on five hits and went hitless with runners in scoring position in the poor performance. The lone run came on a Randy Arozarena RBI-double in the sixth inning.

With one starter in this one fresh off an injury and the other struggling to limit hard contact, is it fair to expect offensive fireworks on Tuesday night?

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Orioles Will Need the Bullpen Early

John Means will take the hill for the Orioles on Tuesday night in what will amount to his 12th start of the season so far. It will also mark his first start since June 5 where he suffered a left shoulder strain against the Cleveland Indians that kept him out for approximately six weeks.

On the surface, Means is having the best season of his career. Over 71 innings pitched, he’s compiled a 2.28 ERA and is striking out batters at an 8.75 K/9 clip, the highest rate he’s had in his big league career.

That said, there’s some reason for concern. His 4.20 FIP is nearly two full runs higher than his ERA, a strong indicator that he’s been extremely lucky so far this year. His 10.8%-barrel percentage is also extremely high, both signs that some negative regression is likely coming his way.

Luckily for Means, the matchup tonight is not overly imposing. While the Rays have been successful in the win-loss columns this year, they’ve seen very little success against left-handed pitching. During the first half of the season, they hit to a .296 wOBA, the third-worst mark in all of baseball.

Regardless, it’s unlikely that the Orioles push him too far in his first appearance following the injury. He pitched only three-plus innings in his last outing at AAA, so it’s doubtful we see more than five innings from the Orioles ace tonight.

When Means exits, manager Brandon Hyde will hesitantly turn to a bullpen that finished in the bottom-third amongst all teams during the first half. Over 380 2/3 innings, they collectively pitched to a 4.37 FIP (21st in MLB).

Tampa Bay Can Hit Lefties

Shane McClanahan will get the nod for the Rays at home in this division matchup. McClanahan has been impressive so far during his rookie season, compiling a 3.80 FIP and striking out batters at a remarkable 10.65 K/9 clip in 60 innings pitched.

Like Means, however, he’s struggled a bit with contact this season. His 40.8% hard hit rate is well above where the Rays would like it to be, while his 8.8%-barrel percentage also leaves a lot to be desired.

Part of this is due to his fastball speed, which clocks in at an average of 97.4 mph and naturally produces a higher exit velocity, but he’s also still very much working on his control. If he can fix his location issues, he has the type of talent to dominate opposing batters moving forward.

Tonight, he’ll take on an Orioles team that surprisingly has been one of the better teams in baseball against southpaws, collectively hitting to a .328 wOBA thus far in such situations, the sixth-highest mark amongst all teams.

Orioles-Rays Pick

Means will be making his first start in nearly six weeks, and while he is the Orioles ace on paper, was a major candidate for negative regression prior to his injury. He’s also still far from his normal routine at this point after throwing just three-plus innings in his last rehab appearance in AAA.

On the other side, McClanahan has also struggled mightily with hard contact this season and takes on an Orioles team that has been one of the best in baseball against lefties in 2021. His location issues have also still not been solved, which could be a recipe for disaster in a situation like this. On top of all of that, the Orioles bats have been hot of-late, averaging 5.2 runs per game over their last five.

Both offenses in this one should be set up well to score runs — and in bunches. If they can take advantage of the situation, we should be in for a high scoring affair tonight.

I’m confidently taking the over here and would be comfortable playing it up another half of run if the total moves to 8.5.

Pick: Over 8 (+100)

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