Red Sox vs. Rays Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Take the Total on Thursday Night

Red Sox vs. Rays Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: Take the Total on Thursday Night article feature image
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Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Wander Franco.

  • The Red Sox and Rays will face each other once again on Thursday night, this time with the AL East lead on the line.
  • Wander Franco has been incredible for the Rays, and he could take advantage of Nick Pivetta, who has been struggling on the mound for the Red Sox.
  • Check out Mike Ianniello's full breakdown for Red Sox-Rays at 7:10 p.m. ET, and read on to find his pick and prediction, along with updated odds.

Red Sox vs. Rays Odds

Red Sox Odds +108
Rays Odds -127
Over/Under 9
Time 7:10 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Thursday morning and via DraftKings.

The AL East lead will be on the line Thursday when the Red Sox and Rays play in the rubber match of a three-game series. The Red Sox took the division lead over the weekend and arrived in Tampa Bay with a half-game lead atop the standings.

Boston took Game 1 of the series, 9-5, in extra innings on Tuesday, but Tampa Bay bounced back with an 8-2 win on Wednesday night, snapping a seven-game losing streak.

The division lead is back to a half-game, and Thursday’s winner will take that advantage into the weekend.

Can Nick Pivetta Bounce Back?

After starting his Red Sox career with an 8-0 record, Nick Pivetta (RHP) has now taken a loss in three of his last four starts. Home runs have killed him, as he has allowed six long-balls in his last three starts.

Control has also been a real issue for Pivetta this season. He has a 4.36 BB/9 rate, which is the highest in the league among qualified pitchers. In his 14 starts this year, he has walked at least two batters in all but one.

Pivetta throws his fastball over 51% of his pitches, and it hasn’t been super effective as he’s allowed a .257 batting average and .343 wOBA on the pitch. However, his curveball and slider have both been solid, with his curveball generating a 40.9 K%.

The Red Sox bats have bounced back from a down year last season and rank third in the league in runs per game. They have the third-best team batting average and sit fifth in wOBA and ninth in wRC+.

The entire left side of the Sox infield will likely start the All-Star game with Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers both having terrific seasons while leading the voting at shortstop and third base. Bogaerts is batting .324 with a .940 OPS this season and is third in the league with a 3.4 WAR.

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Wander Franco Continues to Make Early Impact

Tampa Bay will go with Michael Wacha (RHP) as the starter, although it’s unclear how long he will last. It has been a bit of a rough couple of years for Wacha, and he has even been regulated to the bullpen at times. He has made 12 appearances this season, eight of them as the starter.

In Wacha’s first four starts of the season, he lasted five innings in all four starts. However, he is averaging just 2.5 innings per start in his last four trips to the mound. In his most recent start, Wacha allowed five runs on 11 hits in 3.2 innings against Seattle.

Wacha currently has a 6.70 xERA, a .317 xBA and .393 xwOBA against. All three rank in the bottom 2% of all pitchers in the league. His first start of the season came against Boston, and he allowed four runs in five innings.

The Tampa Bay offense got a huge boost on Tuesday with the MLB debut of Wander Franco, baseball’s No. 1 prospect. The 20-year-old wasted no time making an impact, mashing his first home run in his debut, along with a double and three RBIs.

In last night’s game, he went 0-for-3 but still got on base three times with a pair of walks and scored a run. Tampa Bay posted eight runs on Wednesday, including home runs from Austin Meadows, Mike Zunino and Brandon Lowe.

Red Sox-Rays Pick

Neither Pivetta nor Wacha inspire a ton of confidence, and both have been struggling in a big way lately. Both have allowed a hard-hit% over 40% and an xwOBA over .325.

Both of these pitchers are also righties. It just so happens that both of these lineups mash right-handed pitching.

Boston and Tampa Bay each rank in the top 10 in the league in wOBA and wRC+ against right-handed pitchers this season.

The Red Sox has especially crushed righties all year. Boston’s top bats in Bogaerts, Devers, Martinez, and Verdugo all own an OPS over .900 against right-handed pitchers.

For Tampa Bay, Joey Wendle, Meadows and Lowe are all much better against righties. Lowe has also dominated Boston in his career, and he went 2-for-4 last night with a three-run home run and a double. In 26 games against the Red Sox, Lowe is batting .378 with nine home runs and 22 RBIs. He has the second-highest batting average against Boston among all active players.

The over is 5-0 between these two teams this season, and the over has cashed in 10 of the last 11 matchups between Tampa Bay and Boston. With two vulnerable pitchers and two offenses that crush right-handers, I’ll back the over once again on Thursday.

Pick: Over 9 (-110 | Play to -115)

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