Rays vs Astros Picks and Predictions: Javier Shuts Down Tampa

Two of the best pitchers in the American League face off in a battle between two teams that have already clinched a spot in the postseason. Read more to see where the betting edge lies in our Rays vs. Astros picks.

Last Updated: Oct 1, 2022 2:48 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Cristian Javier Houston Astros MLB
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Though the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Houston Astros on Friday, both teams achieved good news regarding the playoffs.

The Rays clinched a spot in the postseason, grabbing the final American League Wild Card spot. The Astros lost but so did the New York Yankees, and Houston claimed the No. 1 seed in the AL and will have home-field throughout the playoffs.

With both teams assured of making the dance, do some starters get Saturday off? And if they do, how will that affect the lines for this game?

Find out in my MLB betting picks and predictions for Rays vs Astros on October 1.

Rays vs Astros best odds

Rays vs Astros picks and predictions

Astros' pitcher Cristian Javier is peaking at the right time. The 25-year-old right-hander has been mowing through batters the last two months. In August, he allowed nine earned runs in six starts, giving up just 20 hits in those 32 innings.

His ERA is 2.65 overall and was even lower at 2.53 in August. September, however, has been a real eye-opener. Javier pitched in four games and, in 22.1 innings, allowed just three runs. Javier currently has a streak of 17 scoreless innings, and five of those came 10 days ago against Tampa Bay.

His last start was last Sunday against Baltimore. Javier went six innings, allowing one hit and no runs. Javier might have gone a couple more innings, but a rain delay got him the early hook.

The right-hander gets another chance at the Rays this evening, and his scoreless streak could continue. Because they are in the playoffs, Tampa manager Kevin Cash may take this opportunity to rest some starters.

If he does, Javier might have an even easier time getting through their lineup. If Cash decides to play everyone, Javier still has some wiggle room on the total runs he will allow.

DraftKings has the total set at 1.5, with the Over juiced to -125. The books might think that Javier will allow two or more runs, but I don’t. I'm banking on the fact that Cash will bench a couple of starters, and Javier will pitch another five or six innings of shut-out ball.

My best bet: Javier Under 1.5 earned runs (-105 at DraftKings)

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Rays vs Astros moneyline analysis

This is a bet that has a lot of uncertainty because of what each manager is going to do with his lineup.

Will Kevin Cash and Dusty Baker rest some players? Baker hasn’t taken that route yet in the last couple of games, but that could change since the team will have home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs.

He did tell reporters that he was going to play his stars in the last six games of the season for “integrity” reasons, but that may change since Tampa Bay isn’t fighting for a playoff spot anymore.

One option Baker did employ was to have star second baseman Jose Altuve come off the bench. The 32-year-old had played in nine games over 10 days. Against Arizona last Tuesday, he got the day off, though Baker did call him up to pinch hit.

Yordan Alvarez has watched from the dugout during two games in the last 10 and could be a candidate to not appear on the lineup card tonight. The designated hitter has been nursing a bad ankle, so this might be the perfect situation for him to take a break.

The Rays have battled injuries all season and are missing key players such as catcher Mike Zunino and second baseman Brandon Lowe, who are out for the season.

Cash doesn’t have the luxury of resting players, but if he decides to give some a break, Javier should have an easier time between the two starters. He has been strong anyway and has had prior success against the Rays.

Javier faced them last Tuesday and allowed just one hit and no runs through five innings, picking up his 10th win of the season. Take the Astros on the moneyline.

Rays vs Astros Over/Under analysis

I would say go with the Under tonight, regardless of which position players take the field. Javier is on a 17-inning scoreless streak and is sporting an ERA of 0.40 for the month of September. The Rays have also been held to two runs or less in 14 of their last 29 games.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has scored just one run in four of their last six games. The Astros are 5-0 to the Over in their last five games, but I am counting on Tampa Bay starter Shane McClanahan to change that.

Although the Rays' ace is still dealing with neck stiffness and hasn't looked like his elite self in the last two starts, he still has the proven ability to shove at Minute Maid Park tonight. 

Rays vs Astros trend to know

The Rays are 4-10 in their last 14 meetings in Houston. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Astros

Rays vs Astros game info

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Date: Saturday, October 1, 2022
First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
TV: FOX

Starting pitchers

Shane McClanahan (12-7, 2.51 ERA): The Rays' southpaw has been dealing with injuries the last month and even spent time on the injured list. The 25-year-old lefty came back from the IL on September 15 and pitched five strong innings, allowing three hits and no runs. In his last two appearances, however, he has struggled. He has allowed nine runs and 11 hits in nine innings.

Cristian Javier (10-9, 2.65 ERA): On a talented Houston pitching staff, the 25-year-old right-hander has definitely earned his place. In Javier's last four games, he has allowed three runs on eight hits. Javier has faced the Rays once this season, limiting Tampa to just one hit through five innings last month.

Rays vs Astros latest injuries

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Rays vs Astros weather

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