After an abbreviated six-game MLB slate on Monday, we get back to a full slate of 15 games with every team in action today. Tuesday marks the start of some very intriguing series around the league. The Cardinals and Brewers look like they will be battling for the NL Central crown all season, and they begin an important three-game series tonight. The Yankees and Rays also figure to battle for the AL East and/or Wild Card spots for much of the season and meet in Tampa tonight. Meanwhile, the A’s and Red Sox are both out to prove that their first-place standing in their respective divisions is not a fluke.
Do any of these series openers catch our eye from a betting perspective?
Here are my MLB top betting plays for Tuesday. (Odds courtesy DraftKings Sportsbook):
View the best player prop bets for today’s slate with our MLB Prop Bet Cheat Sheet >>
YTD: 45-32-2 (+9.61 units)
Tampa Bay Rays ML (+110)
The Tampa Bay Rays have owned the New York Yankees of late. The Rays are 21-8 in their last 29 games against the Yankees and are 4-1 in their previous five home games against them. They are 5-1 against them this season, including a three-game home sweep of the Yankees from April 16-18. At some point, we will have to ignore the names on the front of the jerseys and stop favoring the Yankees when they play the Rays on reputation alone.
The Yankees are coming off a productive homestand where they went 7-2 against the Tigers, Astros, and Nationals. However, the Yankees have one of the most streaky offenses in baseball, and right now, their offense should not be too feared. New York has not scored more than four runs in any of its last four games and struck out 45 times as a team in that span.
While Tampa Bay starting pitcher Ryan Yarbrough remains on the COVID-19 IL, the Rays will use a bullpen game with Luis Patino (1-0, 1.17 ERA) opening for roughly the first 3-4 innings. Patino has electric stuff and has totaled ten strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work. Meanwhile, Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 4.41 ERA) has not won since his first start of the season on April 5th. He has allowed three earned runs in four of his last five starts and has just a 21:18 K/BB ratio in that span.
Montgomery is just 1-3 with a 5.63 ERA in eight career starts against the Rays. He is winless in two career starts at Tropicana Field while pitching to a 5.14 ERA. Do not be put off because the Rays are using a bullpen game, and instead trust that their dominance of Montgomery, and the Yankees in general, continues tonight.
Phillies-Nationals OVER 9 runs (+100)
Though the under is 13-6-3 in the last 22 meetings between the Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals, many of those games were started by pitchers like Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Aaron Nola. Tonight’s starting pitching matchup of Philadelphia’s Chase Anderson (1-3, 5.54 ERA) and Washington’s Erick Fedde (2-3, 5.27 ERA) does not suggest a pitcher’s duel is on hand, so bank on plenty of runs being scored between the two offenses.
Fedde tends to struggle with good teams, as suggested by the 5-0 over record in his last five home starts against teams with a winning record. His career numbers against the Phillies are very similar to his numbers so far this season. Fedde is 2-4 with a 5.26 ERA in eight appearances against Philadelphia, seven of which were starts. Though current Phillies are a combined 22-for-98 (.224 BA) against Fedde, they have slugged a combined .459, and four different hitters have taken him deep.
The Phillies have won Anderson’s last two starts, which saw a combined total of 12 runs scored. However, both of those starts came at home, and Anderson’s road ERA is 9.39 compared to 3.93 this season. Anderson has allowed current Nationals to hit .324 and slug .593 in 108 career at-bats against him, and he has allowed home runs to six different Washington hitters in his career.
Washington’s bullpen has been a strength so far, as they entered Monday ranked best in the league with a .220 BABIP and ninth in the league with a 3.46 ERA. However, their confidence may be somewhat shaken after blowing their last two games late against the Yankees. Meanwhile, the Phillies bullpen has been a mess all season, as they rank 25th in the league with a 4.92 ERA. Thus, each offense should score plenty of runs after each starting pitcher gets knocked out.
Boston Red Sox ML (-132)
The Boston Red Sox are playing their eighth consecutive game after finishing their four-game series with the Orioles on Monday night. The A’s had the benefit of a day off on Monday, after completing a ten-game homestand where they went just 5-5. Regardless, the Red Sox are a profitable 3-1 when they have a rest disadvantage against their opponents, and Oakland should be sluggish in this series opener after a cross-country flight.
The biggest reason to feel confident backing the Red Sox is the success that starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi (4-2, 4.62 ERA) has had against current A’s hitters. Eovaldi has held current A’s to a microscopic .034 BA (1-for-29) and struck out six batters in 34 combined plate appearances. Bettors may see that Eovaldi has a 1-2 career record with a 4.28 ERA in seven career starts against Oakland and thus be scared off by Boston’s odds. However, six of those seven starts came before 2019, so the much more relevant data is his dominance of the A’s as they are currently constructed.
Boston is 4-1 against the A’s in their last five meetings and is 48-19 in their previous 67 meetings at Fenway Park. Thus, the Red Sox should once again be able to take this series opener.
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Mike Spector is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeSpector01.
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