Odds, Picks and Predictions

The Tampa Bay Rays return home after a 2-5 road trip against the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles. The Rays (53-46) have slipped to the final wild card spot as the trade deadline nears. Now they host the Cleveland Guardians (50-48) who are two games back of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central and 2.5 back of the Rays in the wild card hunt.

Cleveland will start Shane Bieber, who isn’t at the elite rate he once was. He’s still very good, sporting a 4-6 record with a 3.55 ERA and 1.15 WHIP (Walks, Hits per Innings Pitched). The Guardians are 11-7 in his starts and the over/under is 8-10. In two of his last three starts, Bieber has allowed at least five earned runs.

Southpaw Jeffrey Springs gets the ball for the Rays. He’s 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. Tampa Bay is 9-3 in his starts and the over/under is 3-8-1. Springs has not pitched deeper than six innings since being moved into a starting role. Over his last four starts, he’s surrendered 11 earned runs across 18.2 innings.

Cleveland Guardians at Tampa Bay Rays Match Info

Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida

Date: Friday, July 29, 2022

Time: 7:10 p.m. ET

TV: Bally Sports Ohio, Bally Sports Sun

Cleveland Guardians at Tampa Bay Rays Odds

Odds are listed in moneyline, run line and over/under order:

  • BetOnline – Guardians +105, Rays -115; Guardians +1.5 (-220), Rays -1.5 (+190); 7
  • Bovada – Guardians -105, Rays -115; Guardians +1.5 (-220), Rays -1.5 (+180); 7
  • MyBookie – Guardians -105, Rays -115; Guardians +1.5 (-220), Rays -1.5 (+180); 6.5
  • BetUS – Guardians +103, Rays -113; Guardians +1.5 (-240), Rays -1.5 (+200); 7
  • BetNow – Guardians +103, Rays -113; Guardians +1.5 (-225), Rays -1.5 (+185); 8

The best moneyline odds for the Guardians are +105 at BetOnline while the Rays’ best are either at BetUS or BetNow, which both list -113. The run line is most profitable for the Rays with -1.5 (+200) available at BetUS. For the Guardians, +1.5 (-220) is available at BetOnline, Bovada and MyBookie. Want a hook with the over/under? MyBookie has it at 6.5. Want to go under 8? BetNow is the spot there. Several over/unders are even money to go over 7 but it varies on the book.

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Betting Trends

  • St. Petersburg has been tough on the Guardians, who have lost seven straight there
  • The over is 4-1 in the last five meetings at the Trop
  • Though the under is 4-1 in the last five meetings regardless of location
  • The Rays have had the Guardians number, sporting a 19-7 record over the last 26 meetings
  • Betting data show 53% of public bets on the Rays’ moneyline
  • Data show 64% of public bets are on the over
  • The Guardians are 48-45-5 on over/unders this season and 25-29 away from home
  • The Rays are 47-47-5 on over/unders this season and 31-18 at home

Guardians are league average

It’s remarkable that the Guardians are playing as well as they are, though there wasn’t much roster turnover from a year ago. They’re 16th in runs scored per game at 4.48 and 17th in runs allowed per game at 4.36. So they’re playing at about that pace record wise.

The batting average has been better, ranking seventh at .252. But the OPS is .704 (16th) and they hit 0.81 home runs per game, the third worst rate in the league. The flip side is they average the fewest strikeouts per game at 7.07.

Jose Ramirez is a Most Valuable Player candidate while hitting .285 with a .929 OPS, 20 home runs, 80 RBIs, 32 doubles, 56 runs scored and 14 stolen bases – all except for average are team highs. The team has a good mix of speed with five players with at least seven stolen bases.

The pitching staff has regressed from where it once was, so Bieber isn’t alone in his struggles … or taking a step back at least. Opponents have a .240 batting average against (14th) and .699 OPS (13th). The Guardians’ staff is also 19th in strikeouts per game at 8.26.

Pitching keeps Rays in it

Despite a lengthy injury list, the Rays keep adding pitchers and finding success. They are sixth in allowing 3.98 runs per game. Their batting average against of .233 is eighth and opposing OPS of .681 is seventh. They strike out 8.69 hitters per game, which ranks 14th.

The struggles come on the offensive end, though. They are 22nd, scoring 4.19 runs per game. Their batting average of .240 is 17th and OPS of .689 is 22nd. They also strike out the sixth most time per game, averaging 8.93 per contest.

Randy Arozarena has been consistent with a .743 OPS, 22 doubles, 12 home runs, 47 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 20 stolen bases. He’s played in 95 games, which no other player has reached 90 yet. Isaac Parades had a hot stretch that boosted him to a team best 14 home runs, but he’s since slumped. Wander Franco hasn’t found his rhythm yet, though has a .707 OPS with 34 runs scored in 58 games.

Injuries are mounting for the Rays, who are down catchers Mike Zunino and Francisco Mejia, outfielders Kevin Kiermaier and Manuel Margot and first baseman Harold Ramirez (.329 batting average, 35 RBIs). They’ve lost some pop to their lineup and key defenders, not counting the lengthy list of pitchers who are out.

Cleveland Guardians at Tampa Bay Rays Picks and Predictions

  • The moneyline is so tight regardless of which book is used. We can glean more from the run line, which think it’ll be a close game or Guardians win outright.
  • The over/under bounces around, so there are plenty of odds to choose from. How often are there games with seven or fewer runs, and some overs are at even odds (+100)? That would be our pick.
  • Bieber hasn’t been his dominant self but he could return to that form against the Rays, who are known to strike out a lot and don’t have much pop in their lineup, typically relying on gap to gap power. The Guardians are simply healthier, too, leading to a better defensive lineup. We’ll take Guardians +105.

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