After two very entertaining single-elimination wild card games, the meat of the MLB Playoffs begins in earnest today. Thursday’s primetime MLB betting contest features two AL East Division rivals going head-to-head. After emerging from the American League Wild Card Game victorious, the Boston Red Sox will now continue their championship quest against the 100-win Tampa Bay Rays. While the Rays did win the regular-season series between the two, it was only a three-game difference. Indeed, anything can happen in October! The MLB betting odds have declared the home team as the favorite ahead of tonight’s Red Sox vs Rays ALDS Game 1 showdown.
This MLB betting preview for the Red Sox vs Rays ALDS Game 1 includes game info, projected starting pitchers, betting odds, trends and a prediction for this series-opening matchup.
Boston Red Sox vs Tampa Bay Rays Betting Preview and Prediction | MLB Playoffs Game 1
ALDS Game 1
Boston Red Sox (92-70, 43-38 Away) vs. Tampa Bay Rays (100-62, 52-29 Home)
Date: Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021
Time: 8 p.m. EST
Venue: Tropicana Field — St. Petersburg, FL
Red Sox vs Rays Starting Pitchers
Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez (13-8, 4.74 ERA)
Rays: Shane McClanahan (10-6, 3.46 ERA)
Boston Red Sox Preview
One potential advantage that the Red Sox will have in tonight’s MLB betting matchup is the fact that they have been in playoff mode for a couple of weeks now. After pulling out a series sweep over the final weekend of the regular season just to secure a Wild Card berth, Boston went toe-to-toe with the arch-rival New York Yankees in a win-or-go-home scenario on Tuesday night. The Red Sox were easily the better team on that night. They got to Yankees starter Gerrit Cole early on. Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber each homered and the Red Sox never looked back. It was an excellent outing for Boston pitchers as well. Perhaps the most important statistic from the AL Wild Card Game is that not a single Yankee drew a base on balls.
The Red Sox will look to continue that form on the mound tonight against a high-scoring Rays offense. While Tampa Bay did rank second in runs scored this season, they also struck out the third-most times per game of any team. Boston will give the ball to Eduardo Rodriguez as their ALDS Game 1 starter. After missing the start of the season with an injury, Rodriguez still managed to win 13 games on the year. He faced the Rays a total of four times, including twice in the month of September. After throwing six shutout innings against them in the first September matchup, Rodriguez got tagged for eight hits and six runs in just 3.2 innings in the second start.
Tampa Bay Rays Preview
The Rays are an analytical masterpiece. How they continue to win games and compete year after year with one of the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball is truly incredible. This year’s Rays actually set a club record for wins in a season. The managerial tendencies of Kevin Cash certainly aren’t mainstream, but boy, do they work. Despite lacking any true offensive superstars in their lineup, the Rays were the second-best offensive team over the course of the regular season. 2020 postseason hero, Randy Arozarena, will look to lead Tampa Bay back to the World Series.
Another quirk of this year’s Rays is the massive age range that exists in their starting lineup. Tampa Bay acquired 41-year-old slugger Nelson Cruz just before the trade deadline to help round out their roster. Also present in the lineup is 20-year-old AL Rookie of the Year candidate Wander Franco. While he may only be 20 years of age, Franco has been as good as advertised since being called up to the majors, if not better. Brandon Lowe, Ji-Man Choi and Mike Zunino are all home run threats every time they come to the plate as well.
On the mound, the Rays will start Shane McClanahan in tonight’s Game 1 MLB betting matchup. He pitched exactly five innings in two September starts against the Red Sox. After allowing four runs and taking the loss in the first outing, McClanahan rebounded with a shutout in the second matchup.
Red Sox vs Rays MLB Betting Odds
MLB betting odds for Red Sox vs Rays are taken from BetMGM Sportsbook.
Moneyline: BOS: (+135) | TB: (-160)
Run Line: BOS: +1.5 (-155) | TB: -1.5 (+125)
Total: 7.5 — Over: (-120) | Under: (+100)
Public (Spread) Betting Percentages via Action Network: BOS: (33%) | TB: (67%)
Red Sox vs Rays MLB Betting Trends
- Red Sox are 5-1 SU in their last six games.
- The total has gone under in seven of the Red Sox’ last nine games.
- Rays are 7-3 SU in their last ten games.
- Six of the Rays’ last seven games have gone under the total.
- Rays are 11-4 SU in their last 15 head-to-head matchups against the Red Sox.
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Red Sox vs Rays Stats
- Boston is averaging 5.12 runs per game (RPG) this season (No. 4 in the MLB).
- Boston is surrendering 4.61 RPG this season (No. 17 in the MLB).
- Tampa Bay is averaging 5.29 RPG this season (No. 2 in the MLB).
- Tampa Bay is surrendering 4.02 RPG this season (No. 5 in the MLB).
Red Sox vs Rays Weather Report
Note: This game will be played indoors.
Red Sox vs Rays Prediction
The Red Sox vs Rays MLB betting prediction uses NumberFire’s probability model. They give Tampa Bay a 58.6% chance to win Game 1 of this ALDS matchup.
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