Rangers vs Rays Prediction, Picks, and Odds: Texas Snags Series-Opening Win

The Rangers may be slight underdogs for this series-opening affair against the Rays but we actually prefer their chances of getting a win on Monday. Find out why in our MLB betting picks below.

Apr 1, 2024 • 11:24 ET • 4 min read
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This article contains predictions for an old game!

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Marcus Semien Texas Rangers MLB
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The defending champs are off and running, as the Texas Rangers opened defense of their 2023 World Series crown with a series win over the Cubs.
They hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Rays, a team that could be contending with them in the American League. Tampa is a -122 moneyline favorite in the MLB odds as the teams battle Monday night at Tropicana Field.
Don’t miss my free preview of the AL elites — and find out what my MLB best bet is in my Rangers vs. Rays MLB picks below. 

Rangers vs Rays odds

Rangers vs Rays predictions

The Tampa Bay Rays were feast or famine in their opening four-game series split with the Blue Jays to kick off 2024. They were lights out in the middle games, putting up 13 runs and surrendering just three for their first two wins of the season. Those were bookended, however, by blowout losses where Tampa was outscored 17-4.

The Rays are middle of the pack in almost all major hitting statistics and their pitching took some lumps against Toronto, giving them a team ERA of 4.75 that ranks 20th in baseball.

Ryan Pepiot will try to turn things around for them when he takes the mound on Monday. He had just eight appearances last year and three starts, going 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. It will be the first time any of the Texas Rangers regulars will face the 26-year-old righty.

Texas may be coming off a 9-5 loss to the Cubs, but it did the heavy lifting in prior games to wrap up a series win. Offensively, the Rangers put up better than six runs per game against the Cubbies and they’re inside the Top 4 in both slugging percentage and OPS.

Their pitching is just outside the Top 10, limiting teams to a .228 mark while surrendering all of two home runs and the seventh-fewest walks. Dane Dunning takes the hill tonight: he had a solid 2023 with 33 appearances, a 3.70 ERA, and a 1.26 WHIP.

Tampa's had limited looks at Dunning with only two players getting more than five at-bats against him and no one topping 10. Texas has also owned this head-to-head, winning five straight and six of seven.

With an unknown commodity in Pepiot, I like the Rangers maintaining their dominance in this series — for at least one more evening.

My best bet: Rangers moneyline (+104 at FanDuel)

Rangers vs Rays same-game parlay

Rangers moneyline

Randy Arozarena to get a hit

Marcus Semien to hit a home run

After going hitless in Tampa Bay’s opener, Randy Arozarena has taken off with five hits in his last three games. In the series finale against Toronto, his one hit was a solo home run. He leads the team in total bases and runs with his .357 average second on the team.

He has not fared well against Dunning, though, going hitless in five career at-bats, with just a single RBI to show for it. This looks like a prime opportunity for him to break that slump.

We're also taking a flier on Marcus Semien going yard. He’s yet to homer this season but Pepiot had trouble keeping the ball in the park in his limited appearances in 2023. He gave up seven homers in just 42 innings of work last season and has given up a dinger in four straight games. 

After an 0-for-4 season debut, Semien has collected two hits in back-to-back games, with four runs batted in. He has two career homers against Tampa since joining the Rangers — I like the timing of a third tonight.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Rangers vs Rays moneyline and Over/Under analysis

  • Going back to last season, the Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10.

  • Tampa has lost five straight to Texas with its last win coming on July 17, 2023.

  • The Under has hit in four of the last five meetings.

  • The Over has hit in seven of the Rangers' last 10 games.

Trend to know

The Rays have gone Over the total in three of four games this season.. Find more MLB betting trends for Rangers vs. Rays

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Rangers vs Rays game info

Location: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
Date: Monday, April 1, 2024
First pitch: 6:50 p.m. ET

Starting pitchers

Dane Dunning (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Dunning had his best season as a pro in 2023, logging a 12-7 record with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.26 WHIP in 35 appearances (26 starts). 

Ryan Pepiot (0-0, 0.00 ERA): Pepiot made just three starts for the Dodgers in 2023 but finished the season with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.76 WHIP across eight total appearances. He had a 3.47 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP in nine 2022 appearances, however.

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