Rays vs. Angels Odds, Pick & Preview: Noah Syndergaard, L.A. Have Value As Favorites on Monday (May 9)

Rays vs. Angels Odds, Pick & Preview: Noah Syndergaard, L.A. Have Value As Favorites on Monday (May 9) article feature image

Adam Glanzman/Getty Images. Pictured: Angels pitcher Noah Syndergaard

  • The Rays and Angels are two of the best offensive teams in baseball this season. Which has the edge?
  • Our MLB betting analyst argues it will come down to batter vs. pitcher splits on Monday night.
  • Find his picks and predictions for the moneyline based on Rays-Angels odds.

Rays vs. Angels Odds

Rays Odds+118
Angels Odds-128
Over/Under7.5 (-120/+100)
Time9:38 p.m. ET
Odds via WynnBET. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

On Monday night, the Tampa Bay Rays will begin the final leg of their 10-game road trip when they visit the Los Angeles Angels. Jeffrey Springs will serve as the opener for the Rays, while the Angels will counter with Noah Syndergaard.

Both teams are off to tremendous starts this season: The Angels are tied for second in the majors with 19 wins while the Rays are right behind with 18. As a result, I suspect we're dealing with small margins between the two teams. However, the handedness of Tampa Bay's starter might provide a clue as to which team we should put our money behind in this matchup.

Tampa Bay Rays

The Rays will use Springs as an opener for just the second time this season. Although he's primarily pitched out of the bullpen, Springs did make two starts as an opener in 2018. If all goes well, the Rays will hope he can give them two to three innings. After all, he's pitched at least two innings in each of his past three outings.

This season, Springs is 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP. He's yet to allow a home run, and his advanced numbers point to just a slight regression given his 1.43 xERA and a 1.61 FIP.

While Springs' detractors might point to the decline in his K/9 ratio from 12.69 last year to 9.69 this year, it would behoove them also to acknowledge that his 1.67 GB/FB ratio is twice that of the previous campaign.

One explanation for the jump in ground balls could be his increased use of his changeup. Per Baseball Savant, Springs is throwing his changeup 42.6% of the time in 2022 compared to 27.8% in 2021. Opposing hitters have a .133/.156/.200 split when facing the pitch in addition to a .160 xWOBA. Moreover, his putaway rate of 34.5% with the changeup is the highest of any pitch in his arsenal.

The problem is that the Angels rank third with 6.2 runs above average when facing a changeup.

Although Los Angeles hitters have just 18 at-bats against Springs, their .528/.657/.722 split is pretty impressive. Given the number of innings we can expect from him, we also have to factor in that the Rays' bullpen has four relievers who have thrown at least 25 pitches in the past three days.

Overall, Tampa Bay's relievers have a 2.93 ERA. However, there are some signs of regression, as evidenced by a 3.74 FIP and 3.72 xFIP.

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Los Angeles Angels

Los Angeles signed Syndergaard to a one-year deal worth $21 million before the lockout. While it's not often that a pitcher of his caliber hits the market as a free agent, a two-year absence due to injuries likely hurt his chances for a long-term contract extension to stay with the Mets.

There's no question that Syndergaard has been a quality pitcher when healthy. Throughout his career, he's 49-32 with a 3.30 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.

The first thing that jumps out is his velocity. Since his return from Tommy John surgery, he's no longer averaging 98-100 mph on his fastball. Instead, he's averaging 95 mph this season, which is slightly improved from the 94.4 mph during his two starts in 2021. However, it could be a blessing in disguise for Syndergaard if it means becoming more of a pitcher than a thrower. This season he's pitched at least five innings in each of his four outings, including two starts where he completed at least six innings.

Overall, Syndergaard is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He's always been a pitcher with impeccable control, as evidenced by a career 2.07 BB/9 ratio. And even though his 5.25 K/9 ratio is almost half his career mark (9.59 K/9), opposing hitters are still struggling to barrel him up, given their 4.0% barrel rate.

Per FanGraphs, his hard-hit pitches are down to 24%, which would be the second-lowest of his career.

If we look at the head-to-head splits, Tampa Bay's lineup has only 16 at-bats against Syndergaard. However, they have just a .200/.300/.233 line in those encounters.

Rays-Angels Pick

Tampa Bay and Los Angeles are two of the best offensive teams in baseball. Both are tied for second with a wRC+ value of 118. However, given what we've seen with the batter vs. pitcher splits, I'd give Los Angeles the edge in the matchups against Springs.

The Angels have also fared well against left-handed pitchers — they have a .261/.341/.390 line against southpaws vs. .233/.315/.411 against righties this season.

Los Angeles is 6-2 for 3.35 units when facing a left-handed starter this year. Moreover, fading left-handed starters has been one of the more profitable angles for bettors, who are up 15.38 units in this spot this season (per our Action Labs data):

After shopping around, I found that WynnBET has the best price in the market, with the Angels at -128. I'll risk a half-unit of my bankroll on the home team, and I would play this number up to -135.

Pick: Angels ML -128

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