Thursday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
The Sox, to our delight, won as +130 underdogs on Wednesday's MLB odds board, and thanks to Carp's clout the game played OVER its total of 7.5.
Tampa still leads the battle for the second American League wild-card spot, but only by a game over the surging Yankees and a game and a half over the Indians and Orioles.
So the Sox shoot for the sweep, while the Rays will try to avoid it, when the teams meet for the last time this regular season Thursday evening (7:10 pm ET).
Thursday's Betting Line
As of Thursday AM most MLB betting shops were chalking Boston and Jake Peavy at around -125 over Tampa and Jeremy Hellickson, with a total of eight. The Sox could also be gotten at around +130 on the run line.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Hellickson (11-8, 5.04) is just 9-for-28 on quality starts this season, and was going so badly a while back he got demoted to the Minors. After a week off to collect his thoughts Tampa brought him back to start against the Angels last Wednesday, and he held them scoreless through 5 1/3 innings.
Hellickson got the hook before that because he gave up 25 ER in six starts, covering 25 innings.
On the season Hellickson has allowed more hits, 170, than innings pitched, 159, but his K/BB ratio isn't bad, at 120/44.
The Rays are 16-12 in Hellickson's starts this year, and back in June-July they won seven of his outings in a row.
Peavy (11-5, 4.01) is 11-for-20 on quality starts this year, 4-for-7 since coming to the Red Sox in that trade with the White Sox back in July. Last time out Peavy gave up four runs in 7 1/3 innings against the Yankees, but in his four starts previous to that he had allowed just six ER through 27 2/3 innings. In two starts earlier this year against Boston Hellickson gave up four ER and 10 hits in 13 innings; Tampa split those two games.
For the season Peavy has given up 112 hits in 126 innings, walked 26 and whiffed 104.
Chicago, a terrible team this year, went 8-5 in Peavy's starts this year, while Boston has gone 4-3.
Peavy faced the Rays once earlier this year, back in April for Chicago, giving up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 5-4 White Sox victory.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
Peavy gets the edge in the pitching match-up, even though Hellickson has two quality starts against a tough Sox lineup already this season. But Boston remains hot, while Tampa's bats are struggling. So we like the Red Sox today. We also like to gamble. So we'll go with a run-line play on Boston for our free sports pick for Thursday.Pick: Take Boston minus the run and a half at the +142 offered at Pinnacle.
Wednesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Read Wednesday's Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report for more info on today's games!
Boston grabbed the first game of this series Tuesday night 2-0 behind five good innings from Clay Buchholz and four shut-down innings from three relievers.
The Sox won Tuesday as +130 MLB odds underdogs, and the game never threatened its total of seven.
In fact, the last nine games in this season series have played UNDER on the totals.
Boston now leads the AL East by 8.5 games over second-place Tampa.
Game 2 of this series is slated for Wednesday night at the Trop (7:10 pm ET, ESPN).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday AM, most MLB betting shops were listing Tampa and Alex Cobb at around -135 over Boston and Ryan Dempster, with a total of eight.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Cobb (8-3, 2.99) is 9-for-18 on quality starts this season, 2-for-5 since coming off the DL three weeks ago (took a line drive to the noggin).
Most recently he gave up four runs in six innings vs. Seattle, but since coming off the DL he's allowed 10 ER in 30 2/3 innings.
On the season Cobb has given up 99 hits in 114 innings, walked 37 and whiffed 104.
Tampa is 11-7 in Cobb's starts this year, although it's lost his last three outings.
In three starts this year against the Red Sox Cobb has allowed 10 ER and 17 hits in 17 innings; the Rays lost all three of those games.
Dempster (8-9, 4.79) is just 10-for-28 on quality starts this year, and 0 for his last three. Last time out he gave up four runs in six innings vs. Detroit, and over his last three starts he's allowed 14 ER in 17 2/3 innings.
For the season Dempster has given up 160 hits, including 25 dingers, in 158 innings, walked 69 and struck out 144.
Boston is 16-11 in Dempster's starts this year, and thanks to some very good run support has won 10 of his last 12 outings.
In two starts previously this season against Tampa, Dempster held them to four ER and 10 hits in 13 innings; the Sox split those two games.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
We're not exactly impressed with Dempster this season, but he's been good against the Rays. Also, Boston is hot again, while Tampa has lost 12 of its last 16 games, as Rays bats have gone cold. So, we'll go with the Sox and the underdog price for our free sports pick for Wednesday.
Let us know your series progress on our Major League Baseball forum!
Tuesday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Get your baseball picks in early. Read our Daily Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report!
Boston has recently put a little distance between itself and its closest pursuers in the divisional race; can Tampa make up some ground?
These should be three good games, with a lot at stake, between two pretty good teams. They should be fun to watch, but where might the sports betting money lie in these games?
Tuesday's Betting Odds
In early morning betting, most sports books were offering Tampa and David Price at around -140 over Boston and Clay Buchholz, with a total of 7.5. Many books then dropped the Rays to around -130.
Also, TheGreek.com was listing the Rays at -130 to win this series, with the Sox getting +110 in these MLB odds.
Sox-Rays Series Set-Up
Boston just took three of four games from the Yankees in New York over the weekend, missing out on the sweep by losing 4-3 Sunday. The Sox have won six series in a row, and 12 of their last 15 games.
Tampa, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games in Seattle to finish off a 3-7 road trip.
So Boston, at 87-58, leads the AL East by 7.5 games over the Rays. The Sox are also three games up on Oakland in the battle for the best record in the American League.
Tampa also owns the second American League wild-card spot at the moment; but four teams lurk within four games of the Rays.
Boston leads this season series 10 games to six, with the totals going 4-12.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Price (8-7, 3.51), by our tough standards, is 14-for-22 on quality starts this year, but only two for his last five. Last time out he got touched up for six runs and 11 hits in seven innings against the Angels, and over his last five starts he's given up 17 ER in 32 innings.
For the season, Price has allowed 147 hits in 151 innings, walked just 22 and whiffed 122. Somewhat surprisingly, Price is only 2-4 with a 3.76 ERA at home this season. Tampa is only 11-11 in Price's starts this year.
In four previous starts this season against Boston, Price allowed seven ER and 16 hits in 24 2/3 innings; the Rays split those four games.
Buchholz (9-0, 1.71) will be making his first start off the DL (sore shoulder) since June 8th. The last time he threw, he held the Angels to two runs in seven-plus innings, and he was 10-for-12 on quality starts when he went down.
During the season, Buchholz has allowed just 57 hits in 84 innings, walked 29 and whiffed 81. Boston has won 11 of his 12 starts this year.
In his one start this season against Tampa, Buchholz was great, throwing eight innings of two-hit, shut-out ball, walking four and whiffing 11 in a 5-0 Sox victory back in April.
Buchholz is likely to be on a pitch count Tuesday night. The Boston bullpen he'll turn things over to ranks 17th in the Majors with a 3.62 ERA but has blown 21 of 51 save opportunities.
The Tampa pen, meanwhile, ranks 19th with a 3.71 ERA and has converted 37 of 52 save opps.
Sox-Rays with the Sticks
Boston leads the Majors in team OBP at .350, ranks seventh in homers with 158, fourth in stolen bases with 111 and No. 1 in scoring at 5.2 runs per game. Sox sticks also recently clicked for 54 runs over a four-game span.
Tampa ranks third in OBP at .332, 11th in homers with 147 and 13th in scoring at 4.3 RPG.
Sox-Rays Betting Trends
- Boston is 40-33 on the road this season.
- Tampa is 44-26 at home this year.
- The ‘Over’/’Under’ is 32-35 in games played at the Trop this season.
- The last eight games in this season series have all played ‘Under’ on the totals.
Sox-Rays Injury Update
Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury (.355 OBP, 52 SB) fouled a ball off his foot about 10 days ago; he's now on the DL and could be out for the rest of the season.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
This should be a good one, if Buchholz can pick up where he left off back in June, and if Price can regain some of his previous form. But missing Ellsbury from the top of the lineup might hurt Boston, and it's always a bit risky backing a pitcher who's just coming off the DL. So in a tough call we'll go with Tampa for our free Tuesday's MLB picks.
Share your picks for this end-of-the-season series on our Major League Baseball forum!