Given the length of the baseball season, getting out to a fast start is great, but it is certainly no guarantee that a team is going to stay in the hunt over the course of 162 games. This is why we so regularly see early division leaders start to fall off the pace, as the good teams who got off to a slow start begin to step up a gear. There are some teams who can maintain that solid start, although not necessarily at the same pace with which they came out of the gate.
One team that falls into that latter category is the Tampa Bay Rays. They stormed to the top of the AL West, and while they have since slowed down, they are still in a very decent position. The same cannot be said for their weekend opponents, the Cleveland Indians, as they are losing a lot of ground in their battle to win the AL Central. This looks as though it might be a decent match-up, with the Rays in as a 1 ½ run favorite for the Thursday game. The run total for this one is set at 9 ½.
Rays vs Indians MLB Odds, Game Info & Expert Pick
- When: Thursday, May 23 at 6:10 PM EST
- Where: Progressive Field, Cleveland
- Starting Pitchers: Undecided vs. Plutko
- TV: MLB Extra Innings
- Radio: 104.5 The Team
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- MLB Odds: Tampa Bays -135 (Total 9.5)
Why bet on the Tampa Bay Rays?
The Tampa Bay Rays came storming out of the gate to take an improbable lead in the AL East, a division that was supposed to be a 2-horse race between the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Rays have since cooled off, seeing the red-hot Yankees pass them to take a 2-game lead in the division. It is not all doom and gloom for Tampa, though, as they are still sitting with a very respectable 28-18 record, which would be more than good enough to land them a Wild Card spot if the season ended today.
The Rays head on the road for a weekend series with the Indians, looking to improve on a very solid 15-7 road record. The Rays are 14-8 ATS in the road and 11-8 ATS as a road favorite. At the time of writing, the Rays had not announced their starter for this one.
- Runs: 4.48
- Hits: 8.67
- Walks: 3.65
- Strike Outs: 9.57
- Runs: 3.24
- Hits: 7.15
- Walks: 2.93
- Strike Outs: 9.96
Why bet on the Cleveland Indians?
The Indians also started the season well, but they have fallen off the pace rather dramatically in the Central Division. They have had this division all their way over the last couple of seasons, but at 7 games back of the Twins right now, they are going to be in a real dogfight to get back in this thing. They come into this series having lost 3 in a row to the Oakland A’s, taking their home record to 14-11 in the process.
They are now 5-5 in their last 10 games, also going 5-5 ATS during that same stretch. It is a little unusual to see the Indians in as the underdog at home this season, as it has only happened once this season. They are 0-1 ATS as a home dog, but they are 6-2 ATS overall as a favorite. Adam Plutko (1-0, 1.50 ERA) will be on the mound for the Indians.
- Runs: 3.92
- Hits: 7.21
- Walks: 3.85
- Strike Outs: 8.94
- Runs: 3.83
- Hits: 7.60
- Walks: 2.92
- Strike Outs: 9.29
Rays vs Indians MLB Betting Trends
- Rays are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games against Cleveland
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Tampa Bay’s last 8 games on the road
- Indians are 2-4 SU in their last 6 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Cleveland’s last 10 games against Tampa Bay
Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction for Rays vs Indians
It’s tough to make a prediction for this one without knowing who the Rays will be sending to the mound, but I am still willing to take a leap of faith and go with Tampa to win and cover.
Score: Tampa Bay Rays 4 – Cleveland Indians 2