MLB Pick: Red Sox ML (+110) at Caesars Sportsbook
- Rays vs. Red Sox: Red Sox ML (+110)
- Cubs vs. Padres: Over 8.5 (-135)
- Yankees vs. Dodgers: Over 9 (-115)
We’re about to say the one phrase you never thought you’d hear during a baseball season: The Tampa Bay Rays are too expensive.
That doesn’t refer to the cost of assembling Tampa’s roster. The Rays are known for using their analytical prowess to put together a group of unknown and barely known players whose whole is much greater than the sum of the parts. That allows the Rays to compete against big-spending teams in their division, like the Yankees and Red Sox, with just a fraction of the budget.
No, the Rays cost too much at the betting window. Despite having the best record in MLB and winning more than two-thirds of their games this season, Tampa is not raking in the profits for bettors at a similar rate. Their moneyline record to date of +609 units puts them in a distant second in the AL East and on par with the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates.
On the road, they’re an even shakier moneyline prospect, which is why we’re taking them to lose in Boston on Sunday for your MLB picks, with an assist to the OddsTrader computer who puts us in that direction.
Sunday, June 4, 2023 – 01:35 PM EDT at Fenway Park
The Rays are actually a losing proposition away from Tampa. Their moneyline performance in road games has them in the red, at -256 betting units. Meanwhile, the Red Sox, who are +362 overall, are +294 at Fenway Park.
Make no mistake, Tampa is still a great team, with a 41-19 record and +118 run differential. And the Rays are facing a Red Sox team that finds itself in last place, 10 games behind Tampa. Boston is only 17-14 at home and 20-20 against winning teams.
The Rays just aren’t the guarantee they were in the first month of the season. After splitting a doubleheader with Boston on Saturday, Tampa is just 14-13 in the last 27 games and is just 15-13 this season away from the Trop.
No Finishing in the Red for Sox
The OddsTrader computer is leaning heavily toward Boston in Sunday’s game. It projects the Red Sox to win with an expected 5.8 runs to Tampa’s 5.5. That’s enough to clinch a moneyline win for Boston, which is where we’re putting our pick. It would also be an easy run line win, since Boston is getting 1.5, and the over seems like a very safe bet, as the 11.3 combined expected runs blow away the cutoff of Over/Under 9.
Tampa’s early success is driving up the price on the Rays, as the fact that 88% of early betting on this game was in Tampa’s favor.
Rookie Taj Bradley is starting on Sunday for Tampa. He’s 3-2, 3.60 on the year, but the Rays have lost his last three starts. And, in the three Rays’ wins that he’s started, he got a combined 27 runs of support. Boston starts Tanner Houck, 3-4, 5.30. His FIP is more than an entire run lower than that, so he’s been pitching in hard luck, and the five total runs of support he’s gotten in his last four starts are more evidence of bad luck.
MLB Pick: Red Sox ML (+110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Sunday, June 4, 2023 – 5:30 PM EDT at PETCO Park
Our last two picks take the Over as the OddsTrader computer is looking for an offense-heavy Sunday. With a schedule packed with day games, the warm June temperatures are expected to heat up bats.
The Padres seem to be doing that on their own recently. After struggling with inconsistency at the plate in the early season, San Diego may have finally started to click. Manager Bob Melvin thinks so, declaring, “We’re starting to find our way offensively,” after the Padres beat the Cubs 6-0 on Saturday. He’s said that on other occasions this season, but this time, he may have a point. The six-run outburst was preceded by games of 10, 9, and 7 runs in the last six contests. Plus, the Padres got back All-Star Manny Machado, who was activated from the injured list at the start of the series against the Cubs.
The Padres have been carried by a pitching staff that is in the top 10 in most measurements. However, FIP, which is a better predictor of future ERA, has them just above the league average at No. 14. Shaky offense and strong pitching are two big reasons that San Diego has been one of the biggest Unders this season, going under in nearly two-thirds of its games.
The computers see that trend being broken, or at least interrupted, on Sunday. OddsTrader calculates a Cubs’ win over the Padres, 6.1 runs to 3.8, with the 9.9 combined runs putting it over the 8.5 cutoffs. The Cubs are starting Marcus Stroman, who is the MLB leader in WHIP. He’s 5-4, 2.59 on the year, although his FIP is nearly a run higher.
San Diego starts Ryan Weathers, who is not a big reason for the Padres’ strong pitching rankings. Weathers has a spot in the rotation because of Seth Lugo’s injury, and he’s 1-3, 4.28. As a starter, he’s 0-2 in three starts and dodged another loss due to nine runs of support. He’s given up 11 earned runs, 17 hits, and nine walks in 15.2 innings.
The Padres’ newfound offense should be able to muster something against Stroman and the Chicago bullpen, while the Cubs will tee off on Weathers, putting this game firmly in the over.
MLB Pick: Over 8.5 (-135) at Caesars Sportsbook
Sunday, June 4, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at Dodger Stadium
The Yankees and Dodgers play the rubber game of their three-game series on Sunday, and the computers expect scoring.
Clayton Kershaw, Gerrit Cole, and Luis Severino have all gotten starts in this series so far, and 21 runs have been scored, so a game in the Southern Cal late afternoon heat with a rookie on the mound for the Dodgers promises offense aplenty.
The Dodgers are the third best over bet in MLB at 59.7%, and the Yankees have gone Over in 53.9% of their road games this year. The Dodgers also seem to wear their hitting shoes after a loss, like Saturday’s. The Dodgers have responded to an L by going over in their next game nearly 70% of the time, easily the highest rate in baseball. The Yankees, meanwhile, are all about offensive momentum, going over 60.6% of the time after winning their previous game, the fourth-highest rate in MLB.
The Yankees start Domingo German, who is 3-3, 3.98, and is making his second start after coming back from a 10-game sticky-stuff suspension. The Dodgers start rookie Bobby Miller, who is 2-0, 1.64.
The computers have L.A. taking this one 4.8 runs to 4.5, which puts the game over the 9-run cutoff.
MLB Pick: Over 9 (-115) at Caesars Sportsbook