MLB Prediction, Odds, Picks | Rays vs Red Sox Betting Preview
Pictured: Brandon Lowe celebrates his home run with Wander Franco. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
- The red-hot Rays host the Red Sox in Wednesday night MLB action.
- Our expert isn't willing to bet against Tampa Bay these days, so he's targeting the total instead.
- Continue reading for Mike Ianniello's best bet for Red Sox vs Rays.
Red Sox vs. Rays Odds
|Red Sox Odds|
-102 / -120
-102 / -120
Are the Rays ever going to lose a game? I’m 99.9% sure they will at some point, but I don’t know if I can say it with 100% confidence. Tampa Bay is 11-0, the most wins to start a season since 1981 and just two wins shy of the all-time record of 13 (Braves-1982 and Brewers-1987).
It’s not just that the Rays are winning every game, but they’re also demolishing teams. They have outscored their opponents 83-20 through 11 games. Only nine teams cleared that +63 run differential over the entirety of last season. Tampa Bay has won 10 of its 11 games by at least four runs.
Are the Rays starting to get a tad overpriced in the market? Sure. Am I going to throw away money trying to step in front of this runaway train? Absolutely not.
So, what is the best way to approach the undefeated Rays as they look to keep their streak going against the Boston Red Sox?
There was a time not too long ago when Chris Sale could be argued as the game’s best pitcher. He finished top five in the Cy Young Award voting in six-straight seasons from 2013-2018. Unfortunately for Boston fans, those days appear to be long over.
Over the past three years, Sale has made just 11 starts. Between Tommy John surgery, COVID-19, fractured ribs, a broken finger and a broken wrist — all in separate instances — Sale has had a hard time getting on the mound.
When he has been on the field, Sale has amassed a 4.37 ERA since the start of the 2019 season. In two starts this year, he’s been rocked for 10 runs in eight innings and has given up four homers. His velocity is down and while he still has the strikeout upside (13 strikeouts so far), he’s also issued five walks.
Despite losing two of their three best hitters over the offseason, the Boston offense hasn’t been the problem. The Red Sox rank fourth in the league in scoring and still have Rafael Devers and Alex Verdugo to provide juice. Offseason signing Adam Duvall was Boston’s best hitter to start the year, leading the team with a .455 average, four runs and 14 RBI, but he’s since landed on the Injured List with a fractured wrist.
Tampa Bay’s No. 1 ranked prospect, Taj Bradley, will make his MLB debut Wednesday. The 22-year-old is getting the call with Zach Eflin landing on the IL. In 28 starts across Double-A and Triple-A last season, Bradley posted a 2.57 ERA and racked up strikeouts at an elite rate. He also led all the minors with a 1.83 ERA during the 2021 season.
The young right-hander throws a four-pitch mix with a fastball, cutter, changeup and curveball. His fastball can touch 98 mph and his cutter is his top off-speed pitch. He has excellent command and throws a ton of strikes.
Bradley won’t be required to toss a shutout given the offense behind him. Tampa Bay leads the league with 83 runs scored and 29 home runs. The Rays have the highest wOBA and wRC+ by a wide margin and have been mashing the baseball this season.
Eleven players on this team have already homered, with 10 Rays going deep multiple times already. Seven regulars are batting at least .300, with the top bats in Wander Franco, Randy Arozarena and Brandon Lowe all off to great starts.
Red Sox vs. Rays Betting Pick
I have already said I’m not jumping in front of this Tampa Bay train. If you just bet on the Rays every night, you are having a great month. I like Tampa Bay on the moneyline if you want to play a side, but I actually prefer the total in this one.
The total in this game is set at eight and Tampa Bay’s offense is averaging 7.5 runs. Tampa Bay has gone 7-3-1 to the over this season, while Boston is 7-4 to the over.
Sale is no longer the pitcher he once was. His velocity is down and he is really struggling with his control. His early walk rate is more than double his career average. Both his hard-hit rate and average exit velocity allowed would be career worsts.
Now, he faces a Tampa Bay lineup that has a .392 career average and a .430 wOBA against him. Franco is a ridiculous 5-for-7 with a home run against Sale.
Bradley is an exciting young arm and will likely be a superstar with the way the Rays develop pitchers, but he is still just 22-years-old with only 14 career starts in Triple-A. Bradley is being called up ahead of schedule due to an injury, and likely still needs more time in the minors.
Back this Tampa Bay offense to stay hot against a washed Sale, and the Red Sox bats to contribute against the inexperienced Bradley.
Pick: Over 8 | Play to 8.5
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