Tanaka Will Lead Yankees Over Rays

Jake Walker

Saturday, April 1, 2017 1:16 AM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 1, 2017 1:16 AM UTC

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays open the regular season at Tropicana Field on Sunday. The Rays are at -103 on the MLB odds board while the Yankees are at -107 and the total has been set at 6.5.

Game Information
New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays 
1:10 PM ET, April 2
Tropicana Field
Coverage: ESPN


New York Yankees

The Yankees went 84-78 last season to finish in fourth place in the American League East and five games out of a wild card spot. The team focused on building one of the best farm systems in the majors and it paid off with Gary Sanchez, who became a star instantly

New York's focus this season is to get younger and remain competitive, which is easier said than done. With that in mind, they signed Aroldis Chapman to the largest contract in history for a reliever and they also added designated hitters Matt Holliday and Chris Carter but they will continue developing young talent along the way.


Tampa Bay Rays 

The Rays haven't had a winning season since 2013 and their 68-94 record last season was their worst since they were the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

This year's Rays team has enough talent to win more than 68 games. They added Colby Rasmus, Mallex Smith, Rickie Weeks, Derek Norris and Wilson Ramos and if Chris Archer regains his All-Star form, they will possess a dangerous pitching staff and surprise many. 


Pitching Matchup
Masahiro Tanaka (14-4, 3.07 ERA in 2016) vs. Chris Archer (9-19, 4.02 ERA in 2016)

Masahiro Tanaka went 14-4 with a 3.07 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP with 165 strikeouts and just 36 walks in 199.2 innings of work over 31 regular season starts last year and he's 6-0 with a 2.82 ERA and an 0.81 WHIP in his career against the Rays. The right-hander finished 3-1 with an 0.38 ERA in 23.2 inning pitched in Spring Training and he's looking to keep his momentum going.

Chris Archer is coming off the worst season of his career, after finishing 9-19 with a 4.02 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, 233 strikeouts and 67 walks in 201.1 innings in 33 starts, including 0-3 with a 3.86 ERA in three starts against the Yankees. He was outstanding in Spring Training though, posting a 1.98 ERA with 17 strikeouts over 13.2 innings. 


Betting Trends

The Yankees are 29-18 on the road with a moneyline of -100 to -125 over the last three seasons and 119-102 against right-handed starters over the last three seasons. 

The Rays are 39-53 when the total is 7 or less over the last three seasons and 68-84 against division opponents over the last three seasons.


Final Analysis

I like the Yankees at -107 MLB odds because of Tanaka's success against the Rays. Archer had a great spring but it's hard to trust him yet after his inconsistent 2016. Archer was winless against the Yankees last season, giving up five home runs in three starts and their better offense along with a lights out bullpen will make a difference here. I'm adding the Yankees to my MLB picks on Sunday.

Free MLB Pick: Yankees -107
Best Line Offered: at WagerWeb

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