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World Series Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Bets for Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2

World Series Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Bets for Rays vs. Dodgers Game 2 article feature image

Kelly Gavin/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Turner and Mookie Betts

  • Looking for World Series betting picks for Game 2 between the Rays and Dodgers (8:08 p.m. ET, FOX)? You're in the right place.
  • The Dodgers are slight favorites for tonight's game after an 8-3 victory in Game 1, and the total has been bumped up a bit from yesterday's line.
  • Below you'll find picks from our experts on the moneyline and over/under, as well as a team total and a wager on the first five innings.

The Dodgers strolled to a one-game-to-nothing World Series lead last night — well, strolled from the fifth inning on, at least.

So where does that leave our experts for Game 2? All over the betting board.

Find our moneyline, over/under, team total and first-five-inning bets for tonight’s matchup below.

Note: Odds as of 11 a.m. ET.

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.

Mike Vitanza: Rays Moneyline (+128)

The Tampa Bay Rays will turn to Blake Snell to even up the series on Wednesday night. Snell’s 3.20 ERA so far this postseason is encouraging, but the advanced metrics indicate that he’s been a bit lucky. His 5.43 FIP is more than two runs higher than his ERA, suggesting some negative regression is coming sooner rather than later.

On the other side, Tony Gonsolin will serve as an extended opener for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Gonsolin has appeared twice this postseason, pitching two innings in the first start and going as far as 4.1 innings in the second. His appearance tonight will likely fall somewhere in the middle of that range, but we can expect multiple innings from him.

His postseason has not been great; over 6.1 innings pitched, he’s pitched to a 7.61 FIP and averaged 2.84 HR/9. After a strong start from Kershaw last night, the Dodgers will have the luxury of going to the bullpen early if they need to.

Both bullpens were very strong during the regular season. The Dodgers were second in all of baseball with a 3.45 FIP, while the Rays were fourth overall with a 3.65 FIP. Each team was also near the top of the league in WAR at 3.5 and 3.6, respectively. While the Dodgers have the slight edge, I don’t consider it substantial.

Despite some potential negative regression from Snell, the Rays have the advantage in the starting pitching department and this game could get decided in the early innings. With both bullpens more or less negating one another, give me the underdog at +128.

I’m comfortable betting this down to the +120 range.

[Bet the Rays at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

Michael Arinze: Dodgers Moneyline (-133)

I originally intended to play the Dodgers in Game 2 as part of a zig-zag strategy, but even after the Rays failed to win Game 1, I’m still holding firm on that plan.

Tampa Bay didn’t hit enough for me in Game 1 and it came into the game with all the advantages, particularly as the more rested team. A Game 1 win by the Rays would have sowed some doubt in the Dodgers ability to win a big game with Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Now, with the Dodgers winning Game 1, I like their chances of carrying the momentum over into Game 2.

Blake Snell gets the start for the Rays and he’s 2-2 with a 3.20 ERA plus a 1.32 WHIP this postseason. However, his 5.43 FIP, which is higher than his ERA by more than two runs, suggests that he’s been a bit fortunate and could be due for some regression. In fact, Snell’s regular-season numbers also pointed to some regression as his 4.35 FIP was more than a run higher than his 3.24 ERA.

Snell’s BB/9 ratio has gone from 3.24 in the regular season to 4.58 in the postseason. That could be problematic when facing a Dodgers team that had the lowest chase rate (26.5%) on balls outside the zone in the MLB. Snell is averaging fewer than five innings per start in the postseason and as the ace of the Rays staff, I think it’s fair to wonder if that production is simply good enough.

His numbers from the regular season to the postseason are down across the board. For example, his GB/FB ratio is down from 1.74 to 1.22, along with his K/9 ratio that has dropped from 11.34 to 8.69. This Los Angeles team seemed to find its hitting shoes last night with its eight-run outburst. It’s also had success against left-handers this postseason as evidenced by its .309 AVG / .409 OBP / .580 SLG slash line.

The Dodgers have opted to go with Tony Gonsolin in Game 2. While Gonsolin is 0-1 with 9.95 ERA and 1.74 WHIP, much of the damage to his stat line came in Game 2 of the NLCS when the Braves chased him from the game after three runs in the fifth inning. Now he’ll face a Rays lineup that has only six plate appearances against him with no hits and three walks.

It’s no secret that Tampa Bay has struggled to get men on base this postseason. It had six hits in Game 1 and only managed to draw one walk while the Dodgers had 10 hits and racked up seven walks. Figure this — as a team, the Rays have just a .208 AVG / .290 OBP / .400 SLG slash line this postseason. At some point they’ll need to manufacture some runs, and yet it was the Dodgers who played small ball yesterday, particularly with three stolen bases on the night.

If the Dodgers can establish a long man in their bullpen should Gonsolin get into trouble, I like their chances to take a 2-0 lead in the series. My model actually makes them a -150 favorite in this game and the current market price is offering me some value. At BetMGM, I can grab Los Angeles as low as -133 and I’m comfortable playing up to -140.

[Bet the Dodgers at PointsBet tonight and win $125 if they get a hit.]

Danny Donahue: Under 8 (-105)

I’m putting faith in Ol’ Reliable here. And by Ol’ Reliable I am of course referring to our largest-sampled PRO betting system, not a jellyfish net.

Following an 11-run output in Game 1, in which the Dodgers single-handedly covered the total, bettors are flocking to the over once again tonight. And generally, that sort of reaction from the public has been an overreaction, leading to some value on the under in spots like these.

In fact, since 2005 (the beginning of our Bet Labs database for MLB), unders that have received less than 35% of bets in games between winning teams have hit at a 55.1% rate.

And while that may not seem like a crazy figure, over a sample of more than 2,600 games, it adds up …

BJ Cunningham: Dodgers Team Total Over 4.5 (+110)

Snell has been a strikeout machine in 2020, posting a 11.34 K/9, which ranks 10th among MLB starters. That has led to an xFIP of 3.03, which is second on the team to Tyler Glasnow. Snell, though, has struggled with his control in the postseason allowing 10 walks and four home runs in his four postseason starts.

Snell is predominantly a fastball pitcher, but he’s been struggling with it this year. He averages just over 95 mph with the heater, but his location has been off, allowing a .444 wOBA to opponents. In fact, eight of the 10 home runs that he’s surrendered have come against his fastball. That won’t bode well against a Dodgers lineup that ranked second in MLB against fastballs this season (53.9 weighted fastball runs).

Snell’s secondary pitches have been nasty this year. His changeup, curveball and slider have combined to allow a .132 average to opponents and all are producing over a 30% whiff rate. He will have to utilize those secondary pitches more often in Game 2 if he’s going to shut down the Dodgers lineup.

Although most of the Dodgers’ success has come against righties this season, they are no slouches against left-handed pitching. LA ranked eighth against lefties during the regular season with a .335 wOBA and 113 wRC+, including 27 home runs. AJ Pollock absolutely crushed lefties this season with .345 average and .468 wOBA, both of which were the best marks on the team.

The Dodgers showed last night just how lethal their lineup is no matter who is on the mound. I have the Dodgers projected for 4.71 runs tonight, so I’ll take their team total over 4.5 runs at +110 again tonight.

Sean Zerillo: First Five Innings Over 4 (-120)

From Zerillo’s Game 2 betting guide (read here):

The Rays opened as +136 (implied 42.4%) underdogs for Game 2 and took a quick peek above +140 (implied 41.6%) before the line declined to its current figure around +120 (implied 45.5%).

As a result, I no longer see value on the Rays’ moneyline, but I would look to bet their moneyline at +137 (implied 42.3%) or better, a 3% edge relative to my projection. I don’t see any present value on the F5 moneyline, and I don’t anticipate that the bet will come back into range, either.

With regards to the total, the full-game number appears to be correct, but the F5 Over 4 (-120) looks actionable at a 3.8% edge — relative to my projection at 4.74. You could attempt to wait for Over 4 (-115), but I think that number closes at 4.5, juiced up to the under.

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