Several crucial series are part of the weekend MLB betting slate, including the 3-game series in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
All six MLB divisions have good races going on as the 2015 baseball betting schedule races towards the all-star break, but none are tighter than the current AL East standings where the entire group is separated by just six games, the top four packed within a game of each other.
That should make for something of a playoff atmosphere this weekend in the Bronx where the New York Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays for a 3-game set. The series gets underway Friday evening (7:05 PM ET) with an intriguing battle of righthanders, Chris Archer and Masahiro Tanaka, the battle pegged as a pick 'em at 5Dimes where both sides are priced at -105 on the MLB odds. The 7 run total is also evenly priced for scoreboard bettors.
Tampa Bay has won or tied each of the last five season series, but it's the Yankees who hold a 6-4 edge in 2015 through three meetings. New York swept the Rays in St. Pete in mid-April before taking two of three at Yankee Stadium less than two weeks later. All three games played in the Big Apple stayed 'under' the MLB odds. The two rivals will meet just twice more, both of those series taking place in September.
Rays A Perfect 7-0 When Archer Faces The Yanks
Tampa Bay (42-39, +1.8 units) is hitting the road following a long 10-game homestand that ended with five straight losses, the last four via a broom job by the Cleveland Indians. About the best news during the lengthy stay at home was getting lefthander Matt Moore back following a long DL stint due to Tommy John surgery.
Archer was the losing pitcher to start the 5-game skid, the Red Sox taking him to the woodshed last Sunday at Tropicana Field. Boston batters slapped three home runs, the same number of long balls Archer had surrendered in his previous 10 starts combined, and scored five runs to halt a 5-game win streak for Tampa in his starts.
The 26-year-old righthander is catching the Yankees for a second time this season, and the Rays hope his magic against New York holds up with the team having won each of his seven career starts vs. the Bronx Bombers. Archer had to settle for a no-decision in the May 12 assignment, pitching the first seven frames and allowing two runs in a 4-2 Tampa Bay victory. Four starts at Yankee Stadium have resulted in three dubyas on Archer's scorecard with a 1.91 ERA along with one complete game shutout.
Tanaka Hopes To Rebound From Consecutive Poor Starts
New York (42-37, -2.2 units) enjoyed Thursday off following a 7-game tour through Houston and Anaheim where the Yankees dropped four contests. A big issue on the road trip was a lack of offense, New York's lineup blanked once by the Astros and held to one run in each of the other three defeats. Despite the recent struggles, New York remains tied for first in the AL East with Baltimore, the Rays and Jays both just a game behind.
Having an extra day of rest between his last five starts has not helped Tanaka much. He has been especially vulnerable the last two times out, the Tigers and Astros combining to plate 13 runs -- 11 earned -- in 10 total innings while each lineup banged three home runs off him in the two outings. Tanaka was brilliant against the Rays at Tropicana Field back in mid-April, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing just two hits to go with eight strikeouts in a 9-zip whitewashing. He also came away with a dubya the only time he faced them last year, another 7-IP performance that came in the Bronx, Tampa Bay scoring three runs.
I'm about to begin a nice little midsummer break, so let's see if I can close out my first half on the MLB betting schedule with a free baseball pick that adds a little coin to my vacation fund. Archer's history against the Yanks and his prowess on the road leave me with little choice but to play Tampa Bay.
MLB Pick: Rays -105 at 5Dimes
Season: 60-51-2 (+10.45 units)