Rays vs Astros Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Saturday, July 29

Rays vs Astros Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Picks for Saturday, July 29 article feature image

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Taj Bradley (Rays)

Rays vs. Astros Odds

Saturday, July 29
7:15 p.m. ET
Rays Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-112 / -108
Astros Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-112 / -108
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

With a 6-15 record in the month of July, Tampa has tumbled down to the top wild card spot despite a historically strong start to the season. They'll turn to Taj Bradley — who has also struggled badly this month with an ERA of 6.87 — on Saturday.

Houston, contrarily, owns a record of 13-9 in July and sits only four games back of the Rays for the top wild card spot. The Astros will start Hunter Brown — who has also struggled to a 6.87 ERA in the month of July — on Saturday.

Tampa Bay Rays

Life won't get any easier for Bradley, as he faces off against a Houston lineup that's been quite productive of late.

Bradley's last five starts have come against the Braves, Rangers, Diamondbacks, Mariners and Orioles, all teams who are far better than average against RHP. Those units average a ranking of 8.4 in terms of wRC+ to righties this season.

Over the entirety of the campaign, Bradley has faced off against an abnormally tough schedule. His 15 starts have come against teams averaging 11.3 in terms of league rank vs. RHP.

That's one explanation for why his strong arsenal of pitches has led to such awful results. In a large sample size of 71 1/3 innings, Bradley owns a Stuff+ rating of 111 and a Location+ of 102.

Batters own an extremely high BABIP (.348) against Bradley. Even with a 46.9% hard-hit rate, his xBA is still just .248. Eventually he's due to run way better on batted balls, and his strong xFIP of 3.31 also makes that the case.

Offensively, the Rays have struggled to a wRC+ of just 91 over the last 30 days. They've struck out at a higher rate of 25.3%, but the greatest problem has been a .269 BABIP over that span despite a strong hard-hit rate of 33.8%.

Tampa's 117 wRC+ versus RHP is still the second-best mark in the league this season. Perhaps the Rays overachieved early on, but with all their top batters healthy, they should still rank in the league's top quarter.

Houston Astros

Offensively, the Astros should be one of the better offenses in the league moving forward. They had already hit to a wRC+ of 109 over the last 30 days, and now they add a strong batter in Jose Altuve and one of the league's absolute best in Yordan Alvarez.

The idea that they'll be a top offensive side is being well credited, with Houston being -130 favorites with Hunter Brown on the mound against the league's second-best offense versus RHP and a comparable starter.

Brown's recent results match Bradley's step-for-step, and moving forward, they project to own similar results. Brown owns a Stuff+ of 106 and a Location+ of 101. His xFIP sits at 3.16 this season and his xERA is at 3.97.

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Rays vs. Astros Betting Pick

Bradley continues to be an obvious target for positive regression. He has high quality stuff, and once he cleans up a few key areas and runs with some better luck on balls in play, his ERA will come down.

Facing off against elite offenses of late hasn't helped things, either.

The greatest causation of the Rays' recent poor run production has been an abnormally low average with runners in scoring position. They may not be what they were at the start of the year offensively, but they're way better than their July splits currently suggest and should level out soon.

With those two factors in mind, I believe the Rays are being undervalued as +112 underdogs in this matchup, and I would play anything better than +110.

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