MLB Betting: Orioles Plus-Money A Winning MLB Pick When Hosting Rays

Jason Lake

Friday, April 8, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 8, 2016 12:00 PM GMT

The Baltimore Orioles are on top of the American League standings. The Tampa Bay Rays are in last place in the AL East. But Friday's MOL odds are in Tampa's corner.

In this age of enlightenment and snark-free commentary... ah, who am I kidding. The Baltimore Orioles should be congratulated for starting the year 3-0, but that's someone else's job. Our job here at the ranch is to remind you that the Orioles aren't expected to do much this year. They're +5000 outsiders on Bovada's World Series futures market as we go to press.


Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Rays (+4000) have started the season at 2-2, which technically leaves them in last place in the American League East. But the Rays have arguably been more impressive than Baltimore thus far, and they're –125 road faves on the MLB odds for Friday's matchup (7:05 p.m. ET) at Camden Yards.

 

12 Angry Jays
The pitching matchup might have something to do with it. Thanks to a quirk in the schedule, the Rays have already returned to the top of their starting rotation, where Chris Archer (2.90 FIP last year) lies in wait. Archer made the AL All-Star team last year and finished fifth in the Cy Young vote; however, Tampa only went 18-16 in his 34 starts for a loss of 2.59 betting units.

Archer had a difficult Opening Day matchup last Sunday against Marcus Stroman and the Toronto Blue Jays, and he did end up taking the loss in a 5-3 final. However, Archer performed reasonably well, striking out 12 Jays while allowing five hits and two earned runs over five innings of work. Consider it a warm-up for Friday's game.

Get Back Out There
The Orioles, meanwhile, have played just three games this year, not four. But they've got a solution: Chris Tillman (4.45 FIP) only pitched two innings against the Minnesota Twins on Monday, thanks to a rain delay, so he'll be back on the mound Friday night. Tillman has been a useful workhorse for the Baltimore the past three years, and while his results took a small step back in 2015, the damage was limited to 0.99 betting units on a team record of 15-16.

While the pitching matchup appears to favor Tampa Bay, this might actually be a closer contest than expected. Current O's batters have a combined .726 career OPS against Archer, while the Rays respond with a collective .720 OPS versus Tillman. Interesting. And even if OF Adam Jones (strained oblique) ends up missing Friday's game for Baltimore, he's only 2-of-22 lifetime against Archer with a .251 OPS. Maybe Jones should just sit this one out.

 

Fantasy Corner
Orioles 2B Jonathan Schoop (.788 OPS) is one of the gentlemen who's done well against Archer, ringing him up for three hits in five career at-bats. Okay, not much of a sample size, but that's fantasy life. Schoop (must... avoid... Salt-N-Pepa joke) is only owned at 39.4 percent of ESPN leagues at press time, and he had a hit in each of his first three games this year. Let's give the O's a spin for our MLB picks, too, and may the sphere be with you.

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MLB Pick:  Baltimore +123 
Best Line Offered:  at BetOnline

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