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MLB Betting Preview (May 17): Rays vs. Blue Jays predictions

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Justin Turner (2) is congratulated by center fielder Daulton Varsho (25) after hitting a home runagainst the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field.
Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Greg Warren
2 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays will open a three-game set against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on Friday night after splitting a pair of games with the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards earlier this week.
Toronto suffered a deflating 3-2 loss on Wednesday in Baltimore when Adley Rutschman launched a walk-off, two-run homer off closer Jordan Romano in the ninth inning. The Blue Jays took the series opener by a 3-2 score on Monday, and Tuesday’s game was postponed until June due to rain. They are winless in their last seven series, losing five and splitting two.
 
 
The Rays are coming off a series win over the Boston Red Sox, taking three of four games at Fenway Park. They’ve posted back-to-back wins after claiming a 7-5 victory on Thursday in a game in which they used six pitchers.
Let’s dive into the game odds for Friday’s clash between the Rays and Blue Jays courtesy of bet365:

Rays vs. Blue Jays odds

Rays Moneyline Odds+145
Blue Jays Moneyline Odds-170
Runline OddsBlue Jays -1.5 (+125), Rays +1.5 (-150)
Over/UnderOver 8.5 runs (-105), Under 8.5 runs (-115)
Time/DateMay 17, 7:07 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: Apple TV

Betting Tampa Bay Rays (23-22 SU, 20-25 ATS, 24-20-1 o/u)

The Rays continue to find ways to win games despite their roster being decimated by injuries. Eight pitchers are currently on the shelf with various ailments, but if they can continue to cruise around the .500 mark, they’ll be in a position to make a postseason run once key arms like Ryan Pepiot, Shane Baz, and Drew Rasmussen rejoin the rotation.
After breaking out with 31 homers and 98 RBIs last season, third baseman Isaac Paredes has picked up right where he left off, leading the team in batting average (.305), RBIs (24), on-base percentage (.384), and hits (47). Amed Rosario has also thrived since coming over from the Los Angeles Dodgers, slashing, .300/.315/.429 while playing four different positions on the diamond.
The Rays have historically remained competitive due to their strong pitching, but the overwhelming number of injuries have taken their toll, as the staff has allowed 60 home runs to this point, the most in the majors. Toronto is right behind them with 56 homers allowed.

Betting Toronto Blue Jays (19-23 SU, 20-22 ATS, 17-25 o/u)

A virus circulating around the team kept several key players out of the lineup for various durations during this week’s series against the Orioles, but a day off Thursday will hopefully have given everyone on the roster some time to recuperate. The day off also means that manager John Schneider will have his full bullpen at his disposal on Friday, which should give the Jays an advantage after Tampa burned through six pitchers on Thursday.
 
 
The bullpen has struggled mightily, with the unit posting a combined 5.03 ERA (third-worst in the majors) while allowing 24 home runs (second-worst next to the Rays). Romano blew his first save of the season on Wednesday and he has an ugly 7.20 ERA this month after posting solid numbers in April. Both of the team’s lefties in the bullpen, Genesis Cabrera and Tim Mayza, have also faltered early on, allowing opponents to hit .355 and .291 against them, respectively.
Toronto split a four-game series in Tampa Bay to open the season. Three of those four contests played over the total.

Probable starting pitchers

Tampa Bay: LHP Tyler Alexander (1-2, 5.45 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 1.36 WHIP)
Alexander was torched for three home runs and six earned runs over seven innings last time out against the New York Yankees. He was also roughed up in his only previous start against Toronto this year, surrendering two homers and five earned runs to the Blue Jays over five innings of work. Alexander doesn’t throw hard, with his fastball averaging just 89 mph, but he does boast six pitches in his arsenal. He relies heavily on his cutter, which he throws roughly 33% of the time.
Toronto: RHP Chris Bassitt (3-5, 5.06 ERA, 8.44 K/9, 1.55 WHIP
Bassitt has been solid all season for the Blue Jays aside from one disastrous start against the loaded Los Angeles Dodgers, when he was torched for seven earned runs that inflated his stats. The crafty right-hander held the Philadelphia Phillies to two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings with six strikeouts last time out, so he should be feeling confident heading into this start versus the Rays. This will be the second time Bassitt has faced Tampa this year. He tossed five innings against the Rays in his first start of the campaign and was touched up for four earned runs on six hits while fanning six batters. Most of the damage was done by Brandon Lowe’s grand slam in the third inning.

Weather

Rain is expected Friday afternoon in Toronto until roughly 6 p.m. ET but then skies are forecasted to clear for the evening hours with temperatures around 17 C. That means this will likely be an indoor game, but there’s a slight chance the retractable roof could be open.

MLB betting trends

  • The under is 5-1 in Toronto’s last six games.
  • The Rays have won six of the 13 games (46.2%) they’ve been listed as underdogs this season.
  • The Blue Jays have hit the team total under in 26 of their last 41 games.

MLB player prop trends

  • Rays outfielder Josh Lowe is carrying a six-game hitting streak into action and he has at least one hit in eight of the nine games he’s played in this year. Lowe is -250 to get a hit.
  • Paredes is also swinging the bat well, claiming hits in five straight games and recording multi-hit performances in three of his last five contests. He’s -170 to get a hit.
  • Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is on a nice run in the hits + runs + RBIs betting category, claiming over 1.5 in six straight games and eight of his last 10. He’s -155 to record over 1.5.

Rays vs. Blue Jays predictions

  • Alexander over 2.5 pitcher earned runs: -130. With the bullpen gassed, the Rays will be looking for an extended outing from their starting pitcher. That also means that if things don’t go well, they could leave him in longer than they typically would in an attempt to ease the burden on the fatigued bullpen. Alexander has been susceptible to the long ball, and five players on Toronto’s roster have gone deep off him before. The Jays should be able to stack at least three earned runs on him.
  • Blue Jays runline -1.5: +125. The Jays are in a good position to win this game with obvious advantages in rest, the starting pitching matchup, and bullpen usage. You could play it safe betting on the Toronto moneyline at less desirable -170 odds, but Toronto should win this matchup by multiple runs.
  • Both of these pitching staffs are vulnerable to the long ball, so take a look at some of the player home run props available. Two players I’m considering are Justin Turner (if he’s recovered from the virus that’s held him out recently) and Randy Arozarena. Turner (+400 to homer) is 3-for-5 in his career against Alexander with two bombs. Arozarena (+525 to homer) loves hitting against Bassitt, posting a .455 average and 1.364 OPS with a home run in 11 career at-bats against the righty.

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