Odds, Picks, and Predictions

  • The Tampa Bay Rays are 78-84 against the run line this season. 
  • The Cleveland Guardians are 87-75 against the run line this year.
  • The Rays are 41-40 against the run line when playing on the road. 
  • The Guardians are 39-42 against the run line when playing at their home field. 
  • Tampa Bay is 38-20 against the run line as an underdog.
  • Cleveland is 41-42 against the run line as a favorite.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Guardians prepare to kick off the MLB playoffs in Game 1 of the American League Wild Card series. 

The Guardians were not a Wild Card team, as they won the AL Central. But they had the third-best record in the league, which forced them to miss out on a bye. 

Cleveland gets to play the third Wild Card team in the Rays.

Tampa Bay enters this series in the midst of a five-game losing streak. On the other hand, the Guardians have won three out of their past five games and enjoyed a quality month of September. 

The first pitch is scheduled for 12:07 PM EST on Friday, October 7th, at Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH.

Tampa Bay Rays vs Cleveland Guardians Odds

TeamsMoneylineTotalRun Line
Tampa Bay Rays+109O/6.5+1.5
Cleveland Guardians-119U/6.5-1.5

The Guardians-Rays Game 1 affair projects to be a low-scoring duel with a pair of aces on the mound. Shane Bieber will toe the rubber for Cleveland, while Shane McClanahan will be the Rays’ starting pitcher. 

The over/under at 6.5 seems about right. There is a strong chance of the under hitting given the dominance of these two pitchers in 2022 (more on that later).

The Guardians enter this game as the unsurprising home favorite. Cleveland has played better as of late, which also helps their odds. 

Nevertheless, anything can happen in the playoffs. Let’s take a closer look at this game. 

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Tampa Bay Rays vs Cleveland Guardians Betting Preview

Tampa Bay Rays Preview

The Rays hit a rough patch at the wrong time. Tampa Bay is just 2-8 over their last ten games and have lost their past five consecutive contests.

Every team goes through difficult stretches during the course of a grueling 162-game season. But the Rays surely wish their stretch of poor play would have come at any other time during the regular season. 

Thursday’s day off will give them a chance to clear their heads and reset. 

As mentioned above, Shane McClanahan is the scheduled starter for Tampa Bay in Game 1. He dealt with some injury concerns down the stretch but was excellent for most of the season. 

He finished the regular season with a 12-8 record and 2.54 ERA. McClanahan will earn a number of Cy Young votes. 

On the season, the Rays’ pitching carried the load. They finished fourth in team ERA, fourth in WHIP, 14th in home runs allowed, and eighth in batting average against. 

Tampa Bay’s offense was ranked in the bottom half of baseball in most categories. But this is an offense that finds ways to manufacture just enough runs to win ball games. 

Upsetting the odds against the Guardians will be a challenge for the Rays. But they will aim to get the job done beginning on Friday. 

Cleveland Guardians Preview

The Guardians come into this game off of an impressive month of September. Heading into September, the AL Central was up for grabs. The White Sox and Twins were still both in the race. 

But Cleveland steamrolled their way to a division championship with a consistent brand of baseball. 

Ace Shane Bieber will take the mound in Game 1 for the Guardians. Bieber has pitched in big games before and will know what to expect. He finished the 2022 campaign with a 13-8 record and a 2.88 ERA. 

Bieber turned on the jets following a relatively slow first half of the season. The Guardians believe he is a pitcher capable of leading them to a deep playoff run. 

Cleveland’s offense is underrated. They put the ball in play at a high rate and find ways to score runs. 

On the season, they were eighth in batting average, 14th in OBP, 22nd in slugging percentage, 15th in runs scored, and 29th in home runs. 

The lack of power is concerning. But Cleveland would consistently string together rallies with base hits all season long. 

Additionally, this is a team that steals bases and always takes the extra bag. 

Pitching-wise, the Guardians finished sixth in ERA, fifth in WHIP, 14th in home runs allowed, and sixth in batting average against. 

Shane Bieber will look to lead Cleveland to a crucial Game 1 win. 

Injury Report

The Guardians enter this series with mostly full health. 

The Rays recently placed Colin Poche on the 15-day IL with a strained right oblique. It was also recently revealed that infielder Brandon Lowe will miss the postseason with a back ailment. 

Tampa Bay Rays vs Cleveland Guardians Picks and Predictions

Which of these teams should you place your money on in Game 1?

Game 1 is going to be a competitive affair. It will be interesting to see how Shane McClanahan fares in postseason play. Cleveland may be able to string a few hits against the left-hander early on. 

If the Guardians jump out to an early lead, they will find themselves in a good position to win. Their bullpen has been amongst the best in baseball all year long. 

The Guardians should be able to take care of business to kick off what promises to be an exciting AL Wild Card series. 

The Pick: 

Go ahead and roll with the Cleveland Guardians -1.5 with your MLB Wild Card Game 1 betting selection.

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