Yankees vs. Rays Betting Odds & Picks: Value on Wednesday’s Favorite
Cole Burston/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Montgomery #47 of the New York Yankees.
- The Yankees and Rays will conclude their three-game division series Wednesday night in Tampa.
- The Yankees are road favorites with Jordan Montgomery on the mound looking to bounce back after a one-run loss.
- Kenny Ducey explains why he likes the road team in tonight's matchup.
Yankees vs. Rays Odds
|Over/Under||7 (-115 / -105)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Tampa Bay Rays proved on Tuesday night that they’re one of the few teams in the league capable of consistently giving the New York Yankees fits this season, and they’ll be out for a series win in Wednesday’s rubber match.
With Shane Baz finding his form, is this line fair to the Rays? Are the Yankees well-positioned to win yet again, this time as a short favorite? Let’s answer those questions below.
Yankees’ Offense, Pitching Still Humming
The Yankees continue to hit, and they continue to win. They’ve dropped just 18 games through 68 game to this point in the season. They’re 6-3 against the Rays, which is hardly bad at roughly 66%, but somehow considerably worse than their season-long winning percentage of 73.5%.
I say all of that because the Yankees and Rays just seem to play close games. Along the same lines, six of the nine games they’ve played have gone under the total, with Tuesday’s game just sneaking over on what proved to be an inconsequential homer by Marwin Gonzalez late. We already know the drill with the Yankees offense, ranking third in wRC+ in the last two weeks and first in barrels per plate appearance for the season.
Let’s turn to pitcher Jordan Montgomery, who has been pretty great this season. He stands at 3-1 with a 2.72 ERA, and while his 3.84 xERA isn’t the best, you could do much worse. He’s also sporting a 34.4% hard-hit rate with a whiff rate in the top 20% of the league despite a measly 19.4% strikeout rate.
Rays Slipping On Offense in Recent Games
Shane Baz is the total opposite of Montgomery, starting with his right-handedness and his pitching style. A highly-regarded prospect who debuted a year ago to much fanfare, Baz has now fully come back from injury in 2022.
His first start, against the Twins, was a pretty brutal one where he allowed five earned runs over 2 2/3 innings with a home run and three walks, but his second — against Baltimore — was much better. There, he yielded just two hits over six scoreless frames with seven strikeouts.
While we know Baz to be a great swing-and-miss pitcher with a career 32.9% strikeout rate, we hardly know much else about him. He’s made just five starts at the major-league level, spanning 21 2/3 innings. He had two pretty good starts last year against the Jays and Marlins and then he lasted just 2 2/3 against the Yankees in October.
As an offense, the Rays have failed to make consistent contact of late. They’re 14th when it comes to swinging strike rate in the last two weeks and just 26th in Barrel Rate — which is where they are for the season. They’ve also struggled a bit against lefties this year, ranking 14th in wRC+.
The Rays have had issues against lefties all season and they’ve had issues with swinging strikes lately. While it doesn’t seem as if Montgomery is a pitcher who is going to get whiffs due to his below-average strikeout rate, his top-20% whiff rate would tell a different story.
I expect Tampa Bay to struggle here offensively, and with that it’s very hard for me to get excited about this team. I like Baz, and he may even win a Cy Young Award one day. I also know he wasn’t sharp the last time he faced the Yankees and that we’ve only seen five starts out of him.
Throw in the fact that two of his three good outings were against bad teams, and that’s enough to convince me of the Yankees at a discount.
Pick: Yankees ML (-144)