As far as baseball team records go, and pitching matchup statistics, it seems to this sports handicapper that perhaps the Kansas City Royals should be larger favorites today.
Rays vs. Royals (Game 1) Betting Odds
Today in the American League we have a very interesting matchup in the Tampa Bay Rays and the Kansas City Royals. The numbers in this game don't seem to add up to me so we are calling in the OPOD, opposite play of the day, and I'm going to back Tampa Bay in this spot. MLB odds makers have come out with Kansas City at around -120 favorite, making Tampa Bay around a +110 underdog. As mentioned, on record alone the Royals should be favored by more and I thought the Rays would come out at least around +130 so I'm a bit surprised at this low number. The best odds I see at the time of writing is for Tampa Bay is at +115 at Pinnacle sports, and even at the lower than expected odds I still will back them today.
Tuesday's Starting Pitchers
For the Rays Matt Moore takes the mound with a 7.71 ERA and 1.71 WHIP. But of course that is only off of one start in which he just came back from injury and wasn't real sharp against the Cleveland Indians. For the most part the 26-year-old can be a really dominant pitcher at times and has solid career numbers with a 3.58 ERA and 1.33 WHIP in 60 career starts and 337 innings. I look for him to have a nice bounce back day today against the road. For Kansas City Chris Young gets the start with a 2.64 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. At 36 years old he is really putting together a nice season and is one of the surprises of the American League. The issue for me with him is although his numbers are solid he has been a bit inconsistent this year, for example twice in the month of June he allowed six runs and then seven runs against the Indians and the Red Sox over a combined nine innings. So for those of you scoring at home that is 13 runs in nine innings, and it seems to me he is due for another one of that type of game so look for Tampa Bay to have some real nice at-bats against him. Still, our OPOD is in play because Young's numbers have been so good this season.
In most major categories Kansas City ranks higher than Tampa Bay at the plate. They rank 12th in runs scored per game compared to Tampa Bay who ranks 25th. To keep this pretty simple from hits per game, to batting average, to on base plus slugging percentage, and even in strikeouts Kansas City ranks higher than Tampa Bay and the disparity is actually pretty high. While the Royals are sitting around the top 10 in most every major offensive category Tampa Bay ranks in the bottom part of the league.
So what is it all add up to when planning MLB picks? Tampa Bay a +115 underdog? It simply doesn't make sense when you add up all the numbers and it seems to me the odds makers are on top of this one and think that Moore is going to come out and have a fantastic ball game. Don't let the low odds fool you, Matt Moore actually is the better pitcher in this matchup and should have a great bounce back day, and I suggest you back Tampa Bay as my OPOD today.
Free MLB Pick: Rays +128 at Bovada