MLB Picks: Rays vs. Rangers

Jeff Grant

Monday, April 8, 2013 12:57 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 8, 2013 12:57 PM GMT

The Tampa Bay Rays won five of their nine games against the Texas Rangers a season ago, which makes them a dangerous road underdog in a series opener Monday night. Where are we looking to place our MLB picks in this matchup?


Let’s take a closer look at the MLB betting odds for this American League matchup at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, with the first pitch scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET.

Blown away

Tampa Bay ended its six-game homestand with a 3-3 record, as it looks to bounce back from a humiliating 13-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians as minus-200 favorites Sunday, while going OVER the total of seven.

The Rays are still 33-22 in April the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 32-22-1 in that situation.

Solid start

Texas sits a half-game back of the Oakland Athletics in the American League West division standings, as it improved to 4-2 on the season with a solid 7-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels as minus-137 home favorites on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.

The Rangers are 36-18 in April since the start of the 2011 campaign, with the UNDER going 31-20-3 in those 54 opportunities.

A celebration

Rays starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 7.11 ERA) will be celebrating his 26th birthday Monday, as he failed to earn the decision in a 8-7 home victory over the Baltimore Orioles last Wednesday—allowing five runs and eight hits over 6.1 innings of work.

The right-hander is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts versus the Rangers, but the club has dropped his last four games outside of Tropicana Field dating back to last season.

Six innings is the key

Rangers starting pitcher Alexi Ogando (1-0, 0.00 ERA) earned a 4-0 road victory over the Houston Astros in his first outing, as he issued just a single walk and struck out 10 batters in 6.1 shutout innings.

The right-hander has compiled a dominating 14-1 record and 2.22 ERA in 21 career starts when lasting at least six innings, which is certainly possible in this spot.  It’s still important to note that he is 0-1 with a 4.82 ERA in eight relief appearances (one start) versus the Rays.

[gameodds]3/224274/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Rays as one of their MLB picks Monday, as the Rangers may suffer a bit of a letdown after starting the season with six division games.

Tampa Bay is 10-3 in its last 13 games as a road underdog of plus-110 to plus-150, while Texas has dropped its last four games versus AL East foes with Ogando on the hill.

MLB Pick:  Tampa Bay Rays +145 at Sports Interaction

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