With Rays Being Favored by MLB Odds, Yankees Are A Good Road Dog To Back

Jason Lake

Saturday, July 30, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 30, 2016 2:12 PM UTC

The Tampa Bay Rays might get rid of Saturday's starter by the trade deadline, even though the MLB odds are in their corner versus the rebuilding New York Yankees.

Here's a twist: The New York Yankees are sellers at this year's MLB trade deadline. They've sent closer Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs in exchange for prospects, and rumor has it starting pitcher Ivan Nova could be next. It's pretty rare the Yankees have to dump ballast in July, but at 52-50 and –2.99 units, this team needs an injection of fresh talent, stat.

So do the Tampa Bay Rays (40-61, –26.98 units). They're by far the least profitable team in the majors this year. But the Rays might be content to wait until the offseason; there was some buzz a couple of weeks ago that starter Drew Smyly could be on the move, but it looks like he'll be in uniform Saturday night (6:10 p.m. ET) when Tampa Bay hosts Nathan Eovaldi and the Yankees. The Rays are –120 favorites on the MLB odds board as we go to press.

Guy Smyly
New York may be throwing in the pinstriped towel, but Smyly (4.44 FIP) is near the bottom of the MLB money pile at –8.89 units on a team record of 6-13. The Rays have lost each of Smyly's last six games, with only one quality start in the bunch. Sure, his .317 BABIP is due for some regression, but Smyly just hasn't been all that.

Eovaldi (4.78 FIP) has struggled, too, enough to get demoted to the bullpen in early July. But he's back in the starting rotation, and New York won each of his last two starts to improve to 10-8 on the season, good for a whopping 0.10 units in profit. Wouldn't we rather have the Yankees in our MLB picks? FiveThirtyEight would. They project New York to win 51 percent of the time, or –104 on Ye Olde SBR Betting Odds Converter.

Fantasy Corner
On top of that, Eovaldi has allowed a mere .591 OPS combined to current Tampa bats. Smyly? Well, this is where things get complicated: New York has a collective .433 OPS against the fourth-year lefty. These were two respectable pitchers heading into the new season. Maybe their improved recent form will be on display at the Trop.

Maybe. In the meantime, we'll have to recommend another relief pitcher for your fantasy team. Former Yankee Adam Warren (5.75 FIP) was brought back into the fold via the Chapman trade, and he slots in as the second set-up guy behind Dellin Betances. Pretty much nobody owns him in ESPN leagues (0.9 percent at press time). Warren was very good for the Yankees the first time around, so maybe he'll get his groove back in the Big Apple. He's available after the Yankees punted Friday's game, 6-1 to the Rays (–123), with the Rays using five relievers to secure the victory. That could come back to bite Tampa on Saturday.

Free MLB Pick: Yankees +117
Best Line Offered: at Matchbook
Record: 19-17 ML, 7-3-1 Totals (+6.97 units)

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