Rays vs. Athletics Prediction
The Tampa Bay Rays and the host Oakland Athletics will battle it out in tonight's AL Wild Card Game. Is an underdog bet on Tampa Bay the smart play in this spot?
913 Tampa Bay Rays at 914 Oakland Athletics
Wednesday, October 2, 2019
Oakland Coliseum at 8:09PM ET
Public Betting Information
According to oddsmakers, the Athletics are a -131 favorite to win on the moneyline. The Rays are a +121 underdog, while the total sits at 7.5 runs. As of Wednesday morning, 51 percent of public bets are siding with visiting Tampa Bay. Check out our MLB Public Betting Page for the latest information.
Rays send Morton to mound
Tampa Bay, which led all of baseball in pitching WAR (FanGraphs) this season will send Charlie Morton to the hill for tonight's game after he finished the regular season 16-6 with a 3.05 ERA and 1.08 WHIP plus 240 strikeouts across 194 2/3 innings pitched. Leading the Rays' offense into tonight's game are the likes of Austin Meadows (.291/.364/.922), Tommy Pham (.273/.369/.818) and Avisail Garcia (.282/.332/.796). Tampa Bay also features a dynamic bullpen that present matchup problems for opposing hitters on both sides of the plate. The Rays lost the season series to the A's by a count of 4-3 and went 96-66 overall along with 48-33 on the road.
A's turn to Manaea
Oakland completed the regular season with a 97-65 overall record along with 52-29 at home. The Athletics will go with left-hander Sean Manaea as their starter tonight as he returned from an arm injury at the start of September. Manaea managed to go a sparkling 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 0.78 WHIP plus 30 strikeouts over 29 2/3 innings to quickly catapult himself to the top of the Oakland rotation. The back end of the bullpen is led by closer Liam Hendriks (85 IP, 124K, 1.80 ERA, 0.96 WHIP). The A's are paced offensively by a number of players including Mark Canha (.294/.368/.957), Matt Olson (.267/.351/.896), Marcus Semien (.285/.369/.892), Ramon Laureano (.288/.340/.860) and Matt Chapman (.249/.342/848).
MLB Betting Trends
The Rays are 5-0 in the last five Morton starts. Tampa Bay is 2-6 in its last eight playoff games.
The A's are 4-0 in their last four Wednesday games. Oakland is 38-18 in its last 56 games overall.
Tampa Bay has been a lab experiment for the last couple years and it has worked pretty brilliantly. Morton is about the only pitcher you could consider a workhorse on the staff this season and even he didn't eclipse 200 innings. Others would have gotten more innings if not for injuries, but clearly utilizing the bullpen the way the Rays do has paid off immensely. In what will likely be a tightly contested game tonight, I trust both starting pitchers fairly equally and the bullpens are about even. The A's might have some bigger bats, but the Rays are no slouches either and are masterful at playing matchups and being positioned well in the field. For whatever reason, I trust the Rays slightly more here and am going to ride Morton as a dog.
MLB DAILY PREDICTION: TAMPA BAY RAYS +121