AL Wild Card Game Betting Picks for Rays-A’s: Our Staff’s Favorite Predictions
Tim Heitman, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sean Manaea
- The American League Wild Card Game will take place on Wednesday night between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics (8:08 p.m. ET first pitch).
- The Athletics are the betting favorites to advance (-135 moneyline odds), but the Rays might just have the pitching edge with Charlie Morton on the mound.
- Our betting experts break down their favorite picks and predictions below, covering the best moneyline value and a player prop.
Rays vs. A’s Wild Card Betting Odds, Picks
- Rays odds: +115
- A’s odds: -135
- Over/Under: 7.5
- First pitch: 8:09 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
This should be a close contest between underrated ace Charlie Morton (4th amongst starters in FIP) and the Rays elite bullpen, against the Athletics power (lead MLB in launch angle) and defense.
As of writing, the moneyline ticket count is split down the middle (52-48 in favor of Oakland) but less cash (36%) is behind Tampa Bay.
Oakland has been dominant at home (52-29) but the Rays have had no issue winning anywhere, posting an identical 48-33 record whether at home or on the road.
I projected the Rays as a +107 underdog in this game, an implied win probability of 48.3%.
Their current odds (+120) imply a 45.5% win probability, a gap of 2.8% in expected value between my projection and the listed odds.
I’ll take the line value with the road underdog, and would bet them down to +115; a two percent value gap over my projection.
The Pick: Rays +115 or Better
The Rays will send Charlie Morton to the mound in this must-win contest, and he posted the best season of his career at 35 years old. He pitched to a 3.05 ERA and 2.81 FIP while striking out 11.10 batters per nine innings. His 6.1 Wins Above Replacement also ranked fourth in the American League.
Morton was particularly effective in righty-righty matchups, limiting opposing batters to a .202 batting average and .242 wOBA. He relies primarily on an excellent four-seam fastball. He threw it 458 times in 2019, and opposing batters hit just .215 against it.
This sets up as a brutal matchup for Matt Chapman. He’s a right-handed batter who struggled in particular this season against right-handed pitchers (.254 AVG) and fastballs (.165 AVG). Chapman has gone just 3-15 vs. Morton throughout his career, so I think there’s some value with the under on his hit prop at the current number.
The Pick: Matt Chapman Under 0.5 Hits (+132)