Rays vs. Marlins MLB Picks: Despite Injuries, Underdog Will Triumph in Sunshine State Opening Series

Darin Zank

Friday, April 10, 2015 2:11 PM GMT

MLB Odds favor Miami in this opener of a Sunshine State series Friday night. The Marlins are off to an 0-3 start. What's the best bet for tonight as they host the Rays? 

Rays-Marlins Betting Odds
As of early Friday morning the best price in MLB Odds we could find on Miami with Dan Haren was the -134 offered at BetOnline, while Tampa and Steve Geltz could be found at +132 at BookMaker.

Also, the total on this game opened at 7.5 runs, and that number was holding steady in the early betting.

 

Rays-Marlins: Background
Miami is off to lousy start, after getting swept three games at home by Atlanta. The Marlins lost Monday 2-1, Tuesday 12-2 and Wednesday 2-0. They've gotten a pair of quality starts, from Henderson Alvarez and Tom Koehler, but the offense has come up with 19 hits, just two for extra bases, and three runs.

Wednesday Koehler took a shutout into the seventh inning, but let 38-year-old AJ Pierzynski beat him with a two-run homer.

Tampa opened this season by dropping two of three games at home against Baltimore. The Rays lost Monday 6-2 and Tuesday 6-5, then avoided the sweep with a 2-0 victory Wednesday. Tampa got a quality start from Jake Odorizzi and 2 1/3 innings from the bullpen to secure its first victory of the season.

Rays closer Brad Boxberger, who struck out 104 batters in 65 innings last year, whiffed the last three batters he faced in the ninth inning Wednesday for the save.

These teams met for a four-game, two-city inter-league series last season, and Miami swept all four games. The Marlins took two low-scoring game at their home park, then won two OVERS at the Trop.

Friday's MLB Picks with Heavy Money from Public: Fade or Shade?

Friday's Starters
Geltz will be making his first career ML start Friday, after 15 relief appearances, including two already this season. The 27-year-old righty pitched an inning and a third Monday against the Orioles, whiffing all four batters he faced, then threw a perfect inning Tuesday, notching another strikeout.

Geltz has earned a shot at a permanent spot in the Majors by going 27-12 with a 3.38 ERA in the Minors, giving up just 254 hits in 362 innings, with 144 walks and 481 strikeouts.

Haren will make his first start for his new team, after coming over in an off-season trade with the Dodgers. Last year Haren went 13-11 with a 4.02 ERA for LA, which was a decent rebound after going 22-27 for the Nationals and Angels the previous two seasons combined. Haren only went 14-for-32 on quality starts last year, but he gave up fewer hits, 183, than innings pitched, 186, and compiled a neat 145/36 K/BB ratio. However, the 27 home runs allowed was a bit much.

Los Angeles went 16-16 in Haren's starts last year, with the totals going 17-14.

Haren last started against Tampa back in 2012, when he was with the Angels.

 

Betting Trends
Miami went 57-69 against right-handed starters last season.

Tampa went 57-61 against righties last year.

 

Injury Update
Tampa is already banged up; 1B James Loney, who hit .290 last year, is on the DL with a strained oblique, and DH John Jaso, who was brought back from Oakland to provide some punch, has missed recent action with a sore wrist. And that's not to mention the injuries on the pitching staff.

 

Rays-Marlins Free Pick
Miami is off to a slow start, but it's better than that. We expect the Marlins to make a run at .500 this season. Tampa, on the other hand, is likely to struggle, especially if it can't stay healthy. And yet, it appears the value  MLB pick on today's line resides with the underdog. So we'll go with the Rays tonight.

Free MLB Pick: Tampa Bay +118 at YouWager