Sale and the Red Sox are Heavy Chalk vs. the Rays Tuesday

Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, August 8, 2017 1:24 PM GMT

Rookie right-hander Austin Pruitt squares off against Cy Young favorite Chris Sale as the Rays host the Red Sox at the Trop on Tuesday (7:10 p.m. ET) in the first of a short, but significant two-game series. Boston is a heavy favorite. Read on for our best bet.

Boston Red Sox (63-49)

The Red Sox roll into Tampa winners of six straight. Oddsmakers imply the team has a 66 percent chance to make it seven in a row with ace Chris Sale opening as a -194 favorite on the MLB odds boards. Early money is adjusting the line further in Boston’s favor (-200 as of publication). Sale has gone off as road chalk of -195 or less in four other starts this season. The team is 3-1 SU and RL, winning by 3.0 runs per game.

Sale is coming off his worst outing of the year, yielding 7 earned runs on 8 hits in a 12-10 win over the Indians at Fenway Park. The southpaw recorded a no-decision, lasting just 5 innings, tying for his shortest appearance of 2017. Sale has allowed more than 5 earned runs in a start 10 times in his career. He owns a 3.43 ERA in the follow-up effort, gifting 2 runs or less in seven.

This will be Boston’s seventh road contest since the All-Star break. It is 2-4 SU overall, failing to produce much at the plate. The lineup is averaging 3.33 runs per game on 7.17 hits. The team has taken the first pitch as the favorite in all but one.

Tampa Bay Rays (58-55)

Tampa has won two of three series versus the Red Sox in 2017, while going 3-1 as home pups to their division rivals. The Rays are the second most profitable team in MLB when underdogs. They are 31-28 SU, returning 16 percent profit at +129 average odds. Only the Royals (19 percent) have returned more. Tied with the Kansas City for the final AL Wild Card spot, Tampa may find it tough to steal one more. Since 2008, the Rays are 1-10 SU as dogs of +180 or higher. They have not gone off as home pups greater than +180 since 2007.

Rookie Austin Pruitt takes the pill for manager Kevin Cash. The right-hander has bounced back and forth between the big club and Triple-A Durham this year, picking up a handful of starts in place of the injured Jake Odorizzi (back). Pruitt will keep his spot in the rotation with Blake Snell sent down to the minors last week. Favoring the slider, Pruitt is 6-2 with a 5.65 ERA. Ugly defense and bad luck has plagued the right-hander as evident by his 3.91 FIP. The Rays are 2-1 SU with Pruitt as a starter. He and the bullpen tossed shutouts in each victory.

The ‘under’ is 15-6-2 in Rays games since the All-Star break, returning nearly 35 percent profit to backers. Only the Brewers (49 percent) have been a better investment among MLB teams in this span.

Final Analysis

This will be the fourth time the Rays have seen Sale this season. They are 1-2 SU overall, crossing the plate 2.67 times per game. Tampa has managed to push a run across through the first 5 innings in each. Given Boston’s hit-or-miss offense on the road lately, take the half point with the Rays for your MLB picks through the first five innings. It presents some value.

Free MLB Pick: Tampa Bay Rays +.5 in the 1st 5Best Lines at Bet Online & Bookmaker

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