Baseball streak bettors get a double play Thursday as the Twins, winners of six games in a row, shoot for a sweep of the Rays, who have lost three straight, down in St. Pete.
Twins-Rays Thursday Odds
As of this writing the best price we could find on Tampa with Drew Smyly was the -152 offered at BetOnline, while Minnesota and fellow lefty Tommy Milone were getting +145 at Heritage. And the total on tonight's game sat at 7.5 runs.
Minnesota has taken the first two games of this series, following Wednesday's 5-3 victory. So the Twins have won six games in a row, while Tampa has lost three straight.
At 65-61 Minnesota has played itself back into the second American League wild-card spot, and now leads Texas by a half-game in that battle.
At 62-64 the Rays have fallen three games and three teams behind the Twins in that wild-card race.
The Twins lead this season series four games to one, with the OVERS going 4-1.
Thursday's Mound Match-Up
Smyly (1-2, 3.42) is two-for-five on quality starts this season, 0 for two since rejoining the Tampa rotation two weeks ago, after doing three months on the DL with a bad shoulder. Eleven days ago, in his first start back, Smyly gave up five runs in four innings against Texas, but last Friday he tossed 5 2/3 innings of shutout ball against Oakland, coming up one out short of “quality.” On the season Smyly has allowed 23 hits through 26 innings, walked just five and struck out 27.
Tampa is 3-2 in Smyly's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER by a 4-1 margin.
Over four career starts against Minnesota, all when he was with Detroit, the most recent coming back in June of last season, Smyly has allowed just four ER through 20 2/3 innings; the Tigers, thanks to some poor run support, only won one of those games, while three of those games played UNDER.
Milone (6-3, 3.69) is seven-for-16 on quality starts, but 0 for his last five. Last Friday he gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings against Baltimore, although all those runs came on one swing of the bat, while over his last five starts he's allowed 17 earned runs through 25 innings. But he also picked up a save last Sunday by pitching a clean 12th inning against the Orioles in an emergency situation. On the season Milone has allowed fewer hits, 89, than innings pitched, 93, but 15 of those hits have left the yard.
The Twins are 8-8 in Milone's starts, with the totals splitting 7-7.
Over four career starts against Tampa, all when he was with Oakland, the most recent coming back in May of last season, Milone has given up 16 ER through 23 1/3 innings; the A's managed to split those four games, while three of those games played OVER.
Thursday's Batting Splits
Minnesota ranks 15th in the Bigs this season against left-handed pitching with a .258 team batting average, and 20th with a .312 team on-base percentage.
Tampa ranks ninth against lefties with a .262 team BA and seventh with a .330 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at the Trop this season are 31-24 on the OVERS, averaging 7.5 runs per. Apparently linesmakers have been under-estimating their totals on Rays home games just a bit this season.
Twins-Rays Thursday Free Picks
We don't always subscribe to the “streak” betting theory, but Minnesota, with the underdog price, looks like the value MLB pick in this spot. Also, both these bullpens rank among the bottom 10 or so in baseball right now, so we can see this game going OVER.
MLB Picks: Twins and OVER 7.5 runs (+110) at 5Dimes