Follow The Money: Bet Rays Beat The Guardians Thursday

The Cleveland Guardians (87-68) host the Tampa Bay Rays (85-70) in their 3-game series rubber match at Progressive Field Thursday.

Cleveland evened the series Wednesday with a 2-1 extra-inning victory after losing the series opener 6-5 Tuesday in extra innings. The Guardians lead the season series with the Rays 3-2 and Cleveland has a +3 run differential in those meetings (20-17).

We’re rolling on the TAMPA BAY RAYS (-125) at DraftKings Sportsbook because they’ve taken heavy sharp action, an edge in the starting pitching matchup and this is a “bad spot” for the Guardians.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline (ML): RAYS (-125), Guardians (+105)
  • Run Line: Rays -1.5 (+150), Guardians +1.5 (-175)
  • Total (O/U) — 6.5 — O: -105, U: -115

‘Pros’ like the Rays

Rays-Guardians opened at a pick ’em (per Pregame.com) and the action is split between these two sides at DraftKings, according to VSIN. But, oddsmakers are making Tampa’s ML more expensive.

The line movement insinuates the Rays are the sharp side and it’s due to Tampa’s edge in the starting pitching matchup and Cleveland struggling in similar situations.

Tampa’s Jeffrey Springs > Cleveland’s Cal Quantrill

Rays starting RHP Jeffrey Springs. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Strikeouts and walks are the only things in the pitchers’ control. Well, Tampa LHP Jeffrey Springs (9-4, 2.56 ERA) has much better command than Cleveland RHP Cal Quantrill (14-5, 3.49 ERA).

Springs’ K-BB rate is more than double Quantrill’s (20.6-10.0%), according to FanGraphs. Statcast grades Springs’ whiff rate in the 76th percentile, chase rate in the 96th percentile, and 81st percentile in BB%

Quantrill’s rates in those categories are worse than Springs’ and Quantrill grades in the bottom quarter of MLB in expected slash line and whiff rate, per Statcast.

‘Bad spot’ for the Guardians

Cleveland is 2-5 straight up (SU) as home underdogs vs. left-handed starters with a -3.14 margin of victory (MoV) and -32.7% return on investment (ROI).

The Guardians struggle at the plate against lefty pitching. They rank 26th in wRC+, 27th in wOBA, dead-last in ISO, 21st in BB/K rate and 28th in hard-hit rate, according to FanGraphs.

Also, A bulk of Cleveland’s wins have come against AL Central co-tenants. The Guardians are 7-12 SU as home underdogs vs. non-divisional competition with a -2.21 MoV and -13.3% ROI.

BET the TAMPA BAY RAYS (-125) for 1 unit at DraftKings Sportsbook and I’d play Tampa’s ML all the way up to -135.

Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday, Sept. 29 at 12:30 p.m. ET

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Written by Geoff Clark

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