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The Houston Astros (96-51) head to Tropicana Field Monday to start a 3-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays (82-64) in what could be a playoff preview.
Houston is red-hot, winning eight of the last 10 games, 15 of the previous 20 and holds a 7.5-game lead over the New York Yankees for the AL’s 1-seed.
Tampa is 5.5 games up on the Baltimore Orioles in the AL wild card race with the Seattle Mariners sandwiched in between. But, the Rays are just 4-6 overall in the last 10.
Either way, the TAMPA BAY RAYS (-125) is the right side based on the following reasons:
- Tampa has an edge in the starting pitching matchup.
- This is a better spot for the Rays.
- There’s sketchy line movement headed towards Tampa in the betting market.
Betting Deets (DraftKings)
- Moneyline (ML): Astros (+105), RAYS (-125)
- Against the spread: Astros -1.5 (+165), Rays +1.5 (-195)
- Total (O/U) — 7 — O: +100, U: -120
Houston starts its lowest power-ranked starter, RHP Luis Garcia (12-8, 4.04 ERA), and Tampa sends out RHP Drew Rasmussen (10-5, 2.77 ERA) who’s flown under the radar this season. With that in mind, I give Rasmussen and the Rays the edge in this spot.
Rasmussen is 4-1 with a 2.29 ERA in his last six outings with five quality starts. He has a 39/3 K/BB rate in those starts and has given up just three home runs over that span. On top of that, Tampa is profitable in these spots.
For instance, the Rays are 37-17 overall as home favorites vs. teams with a winning record since the beginning of last season. Tampa has a +15.6% return on investment (ROI) in those games. The Rays are 38-15 with a +25.5% ROI in games with a total of 7 or fewer.
Also, the Astros are 1-7 as road underdogs with Garcia on the mound with a -1.63 average margin of victory since the start of 2021. Whereas the Rays are 8-1 as home favorites this year when Rasmussen starts with a 4.78-2.56 final margin.
Finally, nearly two-thirds of the action is on Houston’s ML, according to VSIN. But, Tampa’s ML has increased from -115 opening favorite up to the current number, per Pregame.com. The reverse line movement in the betting market suggests oddsmakers are laying a trap by making the Astros cheaper.
Go to DraftKings Sportsbook and BET the RAYS (-125).
Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.