The Atlanta Braves might be pulling away in the NL East Division. The Tampa Bay Rays, though, are playing their best baseball of the season – too bad it won’t matter in terms of a playoff spot. The two close their quick two-game interleague set in Atlanta on Wednesday with the Braves as solid MLB lines favorites.
How to Bet Rays vs Braves MLB Lines & PreviewMLB.tvRadio: Tampa Bay / AtlantaOpening MLB Lines: Braves -148, Rays +138 (8.5)
- Partly Cloudy: 27°C/81°F
- Humidity: 68%
- Precipitation: 15%
- Wind: 5 mph SSW
- Cloud Cover: 38%
- Type of Stadium: Open
Why Bet on Tampa Bay?The Rays entered Tuesday’s opener on a season-high eight-game winning streak. They stunningly swept the MLB-best Boston Red Sox over the weekend. It was Boston’s first time being swept all year and it was outscored 24-5. As of Tuesday, Tampa was nine games above .500 (70-61) for the first time since June 2015. During the win streak, the Rays outscored opponents, 41-12. They only trailed at the end of six of 72 innings, and they have never faced a multi-run deficit.The Rays are coming off a multi-series homestand sweep for the first time in franchise history, going 7-0 against the Royals (4-0) and Red Sox (3-0).Tampa is without speedy outfielder Mallex Smith (viral infection), but Manager Kevin Cash said Smith is “doing considerably better” and was released from the hospital Sunday. Cash has no timetable but didn’t rule out Smith, who was hospitalized Friday, from playing again early next month. The Rays will lose the DH for this game.The Rays are 10-20 (.333) all-time against the Braves, tied for their worst winning pct. against any opponent (Reds, 5-10). They are 4-7 on the road, including 1-2-1 in series play—their only road series win was July 15-17, 2001 (2-1). This is their first time ever playing at SunTrust Park. The Rays are 6-12 in interleague play (3-7 at home, 3-5 on the road), their second losing interleague record since 2008 (7-11 in 2010).The Rays bullpen has thrown the second-most innings in MLB history. They are one of only five teams in major league history to see its bullpen reach 600 IP, and they are attempting to become the first of those to finish .500 or better. The others: 2017 Marlins (77-85), 2017 Reds (68-94), 2012 Rockies (64-98) and 2003 Rangers (71-91). The bullpen’s 72 decisions are most in the majors, ahead of the Dodgers (58).Cash likes to use “openers” and it’s expected he will here in Diego Castillo (3-2, 3.23). On Sunday, he pitched a perfect 7th inning on 8 pitches vs. Boston. On Friday vs. the Red Sox, he made his second career start and recorded a career-high 4 SO in 1.2 IP. His last 7 appearances (2 starts) and nine of his last 10 apps (2 starts) have been scoreless after allowing multiple runs in four of his previous 5 outings. He has gone 1.1 IP or longer 12 times this season, and 2 IP or longer seven times.
Why Bet on Atlanta?The Braves won their 73rd game of the season on Sunday to surpass their victory total from last year. The last time the team finished a season with more wins was 2014, when they went 79-83.The Braves are holding opponents to a .202 batting average in at-bats that start 0-1, the fourth-lowest mark in the majors and the second-best in the National League. Only Los Angeles, at .195, is better. League average is a .219 opponents in counts that start 0-1. In at-bats that start with a ball, opponents are hitting .239 against the Braves.Since the All-Star break, rookie outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. leads the National League in runs and slugging percentage, while ranking second in home runs and tied for second in hits.The Braves made news Monday in signing catcher Tyler Flowers to a one-year, $6 million contract extension with a club option for 2020. He’ll receive a $4 million salary for 2019 while the deal option is worth $6 million and carries a $2 million buyout. Flowers owns a .692 OPS (89 OPS+) with five homers over 61 games this season, but he continues to get on base at a high clip (.357 on-base percentage) and is a good defender.It’s lefty Sean Newcomb (11-6, 3.57) on the mound. Newcomb allowed two hits while walking three and striking out eight across six scoreless innings to earn the win Thursday against the Marlins. Newcomb took advantage of the weak Marlins lineup to record his first scoreless start since June 16. He also received an extra day of rest between starts, which may have aided him in bouncing back from consecutive subpar outings during which he surrendered 12 earned runs across 9.1 innings. Newcomb did struggle with efficiency, requiring 111 pitches to retire 18 batters with only 64 of his 111 pitches going for strikes.
MLB Betting Trends for Rays vs Braves
- Tampa Bay is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games
- Tampa Bay is 8-1 SU in the last 9 games
- The total went OVER in 4 of Tampa Bay’s last 6 games
- Atlanta is 1-4 ATS in the last 5 games at home
- Atlanta is 6-2 SU in the last 8 games
- The total went UNDER in 9 of Atlanta’s last 10 games
- 2 of 3 games in this series have gone under the total this season