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Twins vs. Rays MLB Odds & Pick: Surging Bats Give Total Value (September 4)

Twins vs. Rays MLB Odds & Pick: Surging Bats Give Total Value (September 4) article feature image

Julio Aguilar/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Archer.

  • The Twins and Rays continue their three-game series on Saturday in St. Pete.
  • Chris Archer will get the ball first for the hosts against Andrew Albers.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down where he sees value on the total on Saturday afternoon.

Twins vs. Rays Odds

Twins Odds +180
Rays Odds -220
Over/Under 9
Time Saturday, 4:05 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports 1
Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings

After losing the first game of this series, the hapless Twins again take on the dominant Rays on Saturday afternoon.

The big story in this one, however, is the continued re-emergence of Chris Archer. The Rays have been keeping him on a low pitch count through his first few starts, and he even got pulled from his last start because of an injury to his hip.

However, he says he feels better, and is hopeful he can contribute to the Rays success — just like he did in his younger years and via the trade to Pittsburgh that saw Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows land in Tampa.

The Twins have Andrew Albers on the mound, who’s whirlwind professional baseball career has led him back to Minnesota.

The Rays are currently big favorites, but are they worth the juice in game two of this set? Let’s dig in and find the best angle to play this game.

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Minnesota Twins

The Twins had a mini hot streak in August and even finished with a winning record, something that hasn’t happened in any month this season.

However, it looks like they found some good fortune. The offense has been one of the worst in the league over the past 30 days (22nd in wRC+) while the pitching staff finished bottom five in most metrics (5.11 FIP, 1.31 WHIP). Minnesota also finished August with a -29 run differential.

The Twins also enter this game on a three-game losing streak. However, if Albers pitches as well as he did last start, anything is possible.

Albers started his career in the Padres organization in 2008, then spent three years with the Twins from 2011-14, then found himself with brief stints in Toronto, Seattle, and the KBO. However, he’s back in Minnesota, and he just tossed 5 1/3 shutout frames against the Brewers in his last start.

While he allowed just three hits and one walk, his .176 BABIP and 4.53 xFIP in the game point to him being slightly lucky. However, whatever he did in that start was effective and he’ll attempt to replicate it today.

Albers relies primarily on a sinker but mixes in a four-seam and a slider, as well. It’s been a mixed bag through his first two 2021 starts, as he’s posted a high ground-ball rate (55.6%) but has been ineffective at suppressing hard contact (91.6 mph average exit velocity).

Tampa Bay Rays

For most of the season, the Mets have paced the league in home defense (runs/game allowed at home). However, following a dominant August, the Rays now hold that crown.

However, Tampa Bay also has the best home offense in MLB (runs/game scored at home). On average at Tropicana Field, the Rays are scoring 5.31 runs per game while allowing just 3.23.

That adds up, considering the Rays took down the Twins Friday in a 5-3 affair.

On the season, the Rays are 44-25 at home with a +114 run differential. But they were truly special in the month of August, going 10-3 at home and 21-6 overall while finishing the month on a nine-game win streak.

Despite losing Tyler Glasnow and selling off Rich Hill at the deadline, the Rays pitching staff continues to get stronger. Meanwhile, the lineup has been crushing the ball over the past few weeks, posting the highest OPS (.814) and wRC+ (123) in the league over the past month.

What the Rays do on a year-to-year basis is nothing short of astounding. And even if their roster looks weak on paper, this is a team that could easily make the Fall Classic in back-to-back years.

Hopefully, old friend Chris Archer can contribute to that cause. As mentioned, he’s had a slow start to the season, pitching just 10 1/3 innings through his first four appearances.

It hasn’t been pretty, but Archer is due for a lot of positive regression. He’s posted a .423 BABIP through those first few appearances, but he’s striking out close to 14 batters per nine innings, and his xFIP is way down at 2.99.

Given he’s pitching for the best-run organization in baseball, I’d look for Archer to return to some semblance of his old self.

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Twins-Rays Pick

While Albers is building momentum after a great start and Archer is due for some positive regression, I think the 8.5 total is a tad low. Given their respective situations, these two offenses have performed well in recent weeks.

At home vs. LHPs over the past 30 days, the Rays have posted a .939 OPS and a .397 wOBA. Their 164 wRC+ ranks third among all MLB teams in that situation.

Meanwhile, on the road against RHPs over the past 30 days, the Twins have posted a .752 OPS and a .324 wOBA — both stats that are top 10 in MLB in that situation.

I’m much more willing to trust the offenses in this spot than the pitchers, and I’ll be looking to play the over 9 at anything better than -105.

Pick: Over 9 (+100, play to -105)

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