MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Rays vs Guardians Friday Game 1 Preview 10/7/22

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Rays vs Guardians Friday Game 1 Preview 10/7/22 article feature image

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Pictured: Shane McClanahan.

  • The Guardians are slight home favorites in Game 1 of the AL Wild Card Round against the Rays.
  • Shane Bieber takes the mound for Cleveland and will be opposed by Tampa Bay's Shane McClanahan.
  • Continue reading for a full breakdown of the matchup, including a betting pick.

For Saturday's Game 2 preview article, click here

Rays vs. Guardians Odds

Rays Odds+105
Guardians Odds-125
Over/Under6 (+100/-120)
Time12:07 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Welcome to the 2022 MLB playoffs! The year-long grind concludes with a month-long tournament featuring the best 16 teams in baseball and it starts with Friday's matinee between the AL East's Tampa Bay Rays and AL Central's Cleveland Guardians.

Can the Guardians take care of business as a home favorite, or can the Rays pull off the upset to start this best-of-three series?

Tampa Bay Rays: Can McClanahan Lift Rays to a Game 1 Win?

Taking the mound for Tampa Bay in Game 1 is left-hander Shane McClanahan. Before battling a few injuries as the season wound down, McClanahan was a strong candidate in the AL Cy Young race, and for good reason.

Through 28 starts this season, the left-hander went 12-8 with a 2.54 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP. Based on his metrics, regression should not be an issue as he boasts a .261 xwOBA, a .207 xBA and a .333 xSLG.

On the road this season, McClanahan is 3-3 with a 2.08 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP. During day games, he is 7-3 with a 2.39 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.

The left-hander should get enough run support as the Rays are slated to go against right-hander Shane Bieber. Through 55 career plate appearances against Bieber, the Tampa Bay roster possesses a .267 xBA, a .420 xSLG and a .316 xwOBA.

Cleveland Guardians: Can Guardians Repeat Success Against McClanahan?

Right-hander Shane Bieber is taking the mound for Cleveland. While Bieber has had a terrific year, his metrics are not as strong as McClanahan's.

Through 31 starts this season, the right-hander has posted a .292 xwOBA, a .245 xBA and a .386 xSLG. Again, those numbers are strong, but aren't as good as McClanahan's.

In his one start against Cleveland this season, McClanahan gave up five runs over 4 1/3 innings. While the Rays lost the game and McClanahan was not at his sharpest, we should be optimistic for a better performance.

Across the 16 plate appearances against McClanahan in that game, the Guardians produced a .286 BA, a .286 SLG and a .309 wOBA. However, their underlying metrics presented a .232 xBA, a .280 xSLG and a .283 xwOBA.

Since September 1, Cleveland ranks just 21st in the league in SLG, 20th in OPS and 20th in wOBA when facing left-handed pitching.

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Rays-Guardians Pick

Both bullpens rank toward the top of the league in the second half of the season, so this matchup will likely be decided between McClanahan and Bieber.

McClanahan boasts stronger metrics and the Rays hit better against Bieber than the Guardians do against McClanahan. In the Tampa Bay section, I mentioned how McClanahan's splits improved on the road during the day.

The same can't be said about Bieber. In day games, he possesses a 3.29 ERA and in home games his ERA is 3.22.

As of Thursday afternoon, 60% of the bets and 55% of the handle are on the Guardians. This makes sense considering Cleveland is a short home favorite with Bieber on the mound, but give me McClanahan as an underdog in Game 1.

Pick: Tampa Bay Rays ML (+100) | Play up to (-125)

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