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Jose Siri #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays slides into home to score during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 15.
Jose Siri #22 of the Tampa Bay Rays slides into home to score during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 15. Photo by Sarah Stier / Getty Images via AFP

The Tampa Bay Rays look to gain even more ground on the New York Yankees in the second game of a three-game series. Read on for our Yankees-Rays MLB picks.

On July 8, the Yankees had a 15.5-game lead in the AL East. After Friday night's 9-0 Rays victory in the series opener, that lead has been whittled down to five games. The pressure is starting to mount for New York, especially since these two teams meet five more times over the next two weeks.

Here are my MLB picks and predictions for Saturday’s game between the Yankees and Rays (odds via Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Yankees vs. Rays Game Info

Date/Time: Saturday, Sept. 3, 6:10 p.m. ET
Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Weather: Indoors

Yankees vs. Rays Odds Analysis

FanDuel and Caesars are the lowest on Tampa Bay, instilling the Rays as -130 moneyline favorites, while DraftKings is as high as -140. There has been good two-way action on the number of tickets (52-48 in favor of New York), but the money is 3/1 on the Rays.

DraftKings is the lone major sportsbook offering a total of eight runs, as all others are at 7.5. As of early Saturday morning, the Over had attracted 60% of the bets and 78% of the cash.

Yankees vs. Rays Projected Pitchers

Clarke Schmidt (5-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.339 WHIP) vs. Corey Kluber (9-7, 4.21 ERA, 1.166 WHIP)

Clarke Schmidt is making his second straight start (third total this season) which has been mixed with 16 other appearances out of the bullpen. Schmidt had three consecutive appearances of three innings pitched but threw a season-high 4.1 innings in his last outing, a start at Oakland, but he also tied a season-high with four earned runs allowed. 

This season, Corey Kluber has made three starts against his former team, the Yankees. His win-loss record in those starts is no indication of how he has pitched, going 0-1 with a 1.50 ERA. His eight strikeouts against them on Aug. 17 at Yankee Stadium tied a season-high.

Yankees vs. Rays Picks

Yankees vs. Rays Pick

Rays ML (-130) ★★★

Two of the last three times the Yankees were underdogs were in Subway Series games when they opposed Max Scherzer. Nowadays, it does not even take a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher or a first-place team to force the Yankees into an underdog role.

The Yankees are 5-5 as underdogs this season, returning a profit of +21.52 units to bettors. However, Tampa Bay is coming off an MLB-best 18-9 record in August. That record includes a road series victory at Yankee Stadium, and the Rays have won four straight and 10 of 12. New York has been held to two or fewer runs 16 times since the All-Star break and has not shown any signs an end to its slump is coming.

Yankees vs. Rays O/U Pick

Under 8 (-120) ★★★★

Tampa Bay's pitching staff was on fire in August, posting a 2.85 ERA (third-best in the majors). Before Friday's shutout of the Yankees, the team had an ERA of 2.36 over the previous 18 games and allowed two or fewer runs 11 times in that span.

Kluber faces an already slumping Yankees lineup that is likely without Andrew Benintendi, who left Friday's game with a right wrist injury. In addition, Anthony Rizzo received an epidural for a back injury and the team expects him out through the weekend. Thus, New York will not have much firepower with whatever lineup Aaron Boone trots out.

Yankees vs. Rays Prop Pick

Diaz Over 0.5 runs scored (+115)

Yandy Diaz has one hit in three at-bats against Schmidt, but the fact he's hitting at the top of the lineup in place of the injured Brandon Lowe and Wander Franco makes this wager most appealing.

He leads the team with 63 runs scored and his .815 OPS ranks second. Diaz is batting .421 (8-for-19) over the last seven days, so he should find his way on base today, especially since his -235 odds to record a hit is one of the steepest for any Rays player.

Where to Bet on Yankees-Rays

Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:

FanDuel Sportsbook
Caesars Sportsbook
DraftKings Sportsbook
PointsBet
BetMGM

SEE ALSO: All picksodds, and sports betting news. Be sure to check out SportsbookReview.com’s community forums and betting tools.

Yankees-Rays picks made 9/3/2022 at 6:47 a.m. ET.