Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Orioles vs. Rays Betting Preview (July 21)

Wednesday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Orioles vs. Rays Betting Preview (July 21) article feature image
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Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Michael Wacha.

  • The Baltimore Orioles take on the Tampa Bay Rays in Wednesday Major League Baseball action (12:10 p.m. ET, MLB.TV).
  • Baltimore and Tampa Bay split the first two games of their three-game set at Tropicana Field.
  • Anthony Dabbundo breaks down this matchup below and explains why he's backing the under in a low-scoring contest.

Orioles vs. Rays Odds

Orioles Odds +145
Rays Odds -165
Over/Under 8.5
Time 12:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Tuesday morning via DraftKings.

Baltimore and Tampa Bay split the first two games of their three-game set at Tropicana Field, with the series winner to be decided in Wednesday’s latest meeting.

The Orioles earned a 6-1 victory in the opener, but fell behind early in the second game and suffered an 8-3 defeat.

Both projected starting pitchers — Baltimore’s Keegan Akin and Tampa Bay’s Michael Wacha — have struggled mightily this season. However, the Orioles’ woes against right-handed pitching away from home and Tampa’s troubles against lefties overall make this an ideal spot to get behind an afternoon under.

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Orioles Hoping to Find More Underdog Magic

Baltimore pulled off the upset as a +235 moneyline underdog in the opener after posting five runs against lefty starter Ryan Yarbrough. It had less success against lefty Shane McClanahan on Tuesday, but that’s been the story of the Orioles’ offense.

The club at the plate is excellent against left-handed pitching and awful against righties. Baltimore has the second-highest soft-hit rate and second-lowest hard-hit rate against righties.

The Orioles are bottom 10 in strikeout rate and 28th in wRC+ against RHP this year. Wacha isn’t anything special as a pitcher, but he and the Rays’ bullpen of mostly righties is a bad matchup for the visitors. Only Arizona and Colorado have been worse away from home against right-handed pitchers this season.

Akin’s underlying numbers on the mound aren’t particularly promising to get behind an under, but he hasn’t been quite as bad as the surface level suggests. His FIP and xFIP are both below five, plus he’s allowed an unreasonably high 42.2% of runners to score and a .387 BABIP should positively regress.

Given the matchup against a mediocre Rays lineup against lefties, he should be able to limit the damage and get the game to an underrated Orioles’ bullpen.

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Rays’ Hitters Struggling Against Lefties

Tampa Bay’s offense is much better this year than in the past, and its pitching staff isn’t quite as good at run prevention. That said, the Rays have really failed to hit left-handed pitching this year.

Tampa Bay has the third-highest strikeout rate against left-handed pitching, ranking 24th in wRC+ and 25th in ISO. The Rays are slightly below average in BABIP, but the hard-hit rate and xwOBA numbers indicate Tampa has legitimately struggled against lefties. The Rays rank 24th in hard-hit rate.

Wacha has had issues all year, but the majority of those problems have come away from Tropicana Field. His wOBA allowed at home is .299, compared to .382 away. His ERA is more than two full runs worse away from the pitcher friendly field as well.

Wacha isn’t likely to go deep into this game either before manager Kevin Cash turns it over to his relatively well rested bullpen.

Orioles-Rays Pick

Betting an under with Wacha and Akin as the starters is a true hold-your-nose play. However, Tampa should clean up its defensive issues from recent games and Baltimore’s bullpen is continually underrated once Akin is out of the game.

With Tampa being a significant favorite, that could save three outs in the ninth inning to help the under get home. Anything -115 or better at 8.5 is worth an under here.

Pick: Under 8.5 (-110)

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