Rays vs. Astros Betting Odds & Picks: Our Staff’s Best Bets for ALCS Game 3 (Oct. 13)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images. Pictured: Willy Adames and Kevin Kiermaier
- Updated betting odds for Tuesday's Rays vs. Astros ALCS Game 3 have the Rays listed as slight -110 favorites as of 6 p.m. ET.
- That line has attracted two of our experts to the same betting pick on the moneyline.
- Check out how our projections and betting systems have led to value on Rays vs. Astros below.
The day in baseball is off to an interesting start, as the Dodgers — already down, 1-0 — scratched Clayton Kershaw from tonight’s start, and saw their Game 2 chances take a pretty dramatic blow in the betting market.
That scratch also caused several of our baseball experts to pivot off what was a clear consensus on the Braves as Tuesday’s best betting value. That doesn’t necessarily the Atlanta value has disappeared, though …
Below you’ll find our updated top spots on each of tonight’s LCS matchups.
Advanced Stats Glossary
FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.
wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.
wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.
Michael Arinze: Braves Moneyline (+125) vs. Dodgers
I backed the Dodgers yesterday with the understanding that I’d come back with the Braves in Game 2 as part of my zig-zag strategy. And now, with the Braves up 1-0 in the series and Clayton Kershaw scratched for the Dodgers, I’m still going to back Atlanta in Game 2.
I’ll leave it to the conspiracy theorists to expound on this latest and untimely injury for Kershaw. Instead, I’ll look to focus on his replacement, Tony Gonsolin.
Gonsolin is in his second year in the majors but was left off the Dodgers postseason roster last year. This season, he made the playoff roster but was unused in both the Wild Card and NLDS rounds as the Dodgers swept both series.
Gonsolin hasn’t made a competitive start since his September 26th outing against the Angels when he got the decision after pitching six innings while allowing four runs in a Dodgers 6-4 win. He finished the season 2-2 with a 2.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Even his 2.29 FIP was almost pristine.
Last year, he started for the Dodgers against Atlanta in a 5-3 loss but did not factor in the decision after giving up just one run and five hits in four innings of work. The current Braves hitters have faced him only nine times and have a .111 AVG / .200 OBP / .111 SLG slash line against him.
There’s no doubt this is a tough spot for Gonsolin. But it might be even tougher for Dodgers manager, Dave Roberts, because I’m not sure how much trust he has left for his relievers when he goes to the pen. Poor performances by his closer, Kenley Jansen, have created a state of flux and uncertainty among the Los Angeles relievers. Their roles are not as clearly defined now as during the regular season, and that can be problematic for pitchers who are habitual in their bullpen preparations.
You can round all the cliché statements you’d expect to hear from the Dodgers about them being calm and it only being one game, but yesterday they looked like a team that was squeezing the bats too tight. And now they have to rely on a pitcher making his first postseason start and first appearance in 16 days to bail them out.
The Braves will counter with rookie right-hander, Ian Anderson. In six regular season starts, Anderson finished 3-2 with a 1.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. The Dodgers have never faced him, and that generally is an advantage for the pitcher on the mound.
This is a 22-year-old who isn’t afraid of the big stage. All he’s done is pitch 11.2 shutout innings in two playoff starts as a rookie. I think he can do the job and get the ball to a Braves bullpen that I trust a heck of a lot more than the Dodgers right now.
Here’s something to keep in mind — teams that have lost Game 1 in a playoff series are 51-73 in Game 2 for -29.7 units.
My model has this game almost dead-even so I’ll gladly look for a plus-money price on Atlanta in this spot. You can grab the Braves at +125 over at PointsBet.
BJ Cunningham: Braves vs. Dodgers Under 8 (-105)
Ian Anderson has been a fantastic surprise for the Braves’ rotation. The 22-year-old showed why he was the third-overall pick in 2016, posting a 1.95 ERA through his first six starts in the regular season.
Anderson’s arsenal starts with a really nice fastball that can top out at 96 mph with good downhill movement. He then has a power curve that can be a solid pitch for him, as it’s producing a 40.5% whiff rate. Where Anderson really has been excelling, though, is with his changeup. The pitch has been almost unhittable. He’s allowed only a .104 average to opponents and produced a 39.4% whiff rate. As you can see, the pitch has some fantastic drop-off-the-table action:
Ian Anderson, Painted Changeup. 😉 pic.twitter.com/szhIEiNS3K
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) October 1, 2020
Anderson has been awesome in his two starts in the playoffs, throwing 11.2 innings of shutout ball. However, he’ll face a much tougher test against this Dodgers lineup. LA was second only to Atlanta against right-handed pitching with a .355 wOBA. So, Anderson will have to be on his game if the Braves are going to win Game 2.
Tony Gonsolin has been fantastic for the Dodgers this season, posting a 2.31 ERA and a 3.80 xFIP. The reason he’s been so good is because of his control producing a 1.35 BB/9 rate and 0.39 HR/9. That will come in handy against this Braves lineup that has the ninth-best walk rate and second-most home runs in baseball.
Gonsolin mainly uses a fastball/split-change combination and he’s been really effective with it this year, allowing only a .200 average to opponents on those two pitches. His fastball has really good velocity, sitting at around 95 mph, and he uses it well, producing a 20.2% put-away rate this year. He also has split-finger/changeup hybrid that is pretty nasty, producing a 42.2% whiff rate this year.
Tony Gonsolin, Wicked Split Changes/K. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/GzFz74EyFI
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 6, 2020
He’ll face his toughest test yet this season against a Braves lineup that leads MLB in wOBA against righties, but I think he’ll be able to be effective in Game 2.
I have 7.03 runs projected for Game 2, so I think there is some value on under 8 runs at -104.
Sean Zerillo: Rays Moneyline (-108) vs. Astros
From Zerillo’s betting analysis of Tuesday’s LCS matchups:
With a 2-0 series lead, I give the Rays an 89% chance of winning the ALCS and making their second World Series appearance.
I don’t see actionable value on either side of the series price, however, which currently makes the Rays a -700 favorite (implied 87.5%). I’m not playing a 1.5% edge when I can bet the Rays at a much more significant edge to win Game 3.
Tampa Bay seemed primed for a bullpen day in Game 3, but rather than using Ryan Yarbrough as a piggyback behind an opener, Yarbrough will make his 10th start of the season.
The southpaw has been remarkably consistent over three seasons and 344 MLB innings, recording a 4.33 xFIP which has only fluctuated from 4.24 to 4.41. He has the 14th-best walk rate (5.8%) over that time by consistently getting ahead of hitters (63.2% F-Strike%) and pitching in the zone (54%).
Yarbrough’s four-pitch mix relies upon finesse — he had the third-slowest fastball (87.4 mph) amongst starters this season, just beating out Dallas Keuchel (83.3 mph) and Zack Greinke (87.1 mph).
Yarbrough leans on his cutter (36%, 83 mph) and changeup (30%, 78.6%), while mixing in a curveball (10.7%, 71 mph) to round out his arsenal.
Ryan Yarbrough tunnels his Cutter/Curve pretty darn well.@PitcherList and I are gonna be discussing him and other top 100 SP fringe candidates on the next episode of On The Corner. pic.twitter.com/L7eGUg1xKZ
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) January 10, 2019
He does well to allow hitters to put the ball in play, ranking in the top 4% for average exit velocity allowed (84.8 mph) and hard-hit rate (26.3%) since reaching the MLB level.
From there, the Rays defense, which has ranked sixth, sixth, and fourth over the past three seasons in Defensive Runs Saved, generally cleans everything up.
Continue reading Zerillo’s analysis, including more of his Tuesday picks, here.
Danny Donahue: Rays Moneyline (-108) vs. Astros
Are the Astros really about to go down 3-0 to the Rays? It sure feels like their bats need to wake up at some point, and maybe that’s why the majority — albeit a slight one — of bettors are still taking the Astros tonight.
But perhaps because the nature of playoff series generate that bounce-back expectation, you’ll often find valuable prices on the team coming off a win (or in this case, two).
In fact, following that simple strategy has returned a pretty significant profit for bettors over the years.
In our database (since 2005), taking unpopular teams (less than 50% of bets) coming off a postseason victory has led to a record of 172-145, winning 57.0 units for an 18.0% return on investment.
While more rare, favorites in this situation have gone 52-23, making up 18.0 of those units for a 24.0% ROI.
I’ll put my trust in history, along with my colleague’s projections, that I’m getting a good price on the Rays tonight.