Rays vs Astros Picks and Predictions: Tampa's Offense Shows Out

Houston has enjoyed plenty of success this season and now has nothing to play for, while Tampa fights for better playoff positioning. Our MLB betting picks break this matchup down and picks on Luis Garcia, who may be in for a rough outing.

Last Updated: Oct 2, 2022 10:07 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
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We have the third and final game of this series with the AL West’s Houston Astros hosting the AL East’s Tampa Bay Rays. This matchup is the fifth meeting between these two clubs this season with Houston winning three of the first four contests.

Will the Stros win once again at home, or can Tampa pull off the victory as a road underdog? Find out in our free MLB betting picks and predictions for Rays vs Astros on Sunday, October 2.

Rays vs Astros best odds

Rays vs Astros picks and predictions

Right-hander Luis Garcia is taking the mound for Houston and should be a good candidate to fade in this game. Through 27 starts this season, Garcia is 14-8 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. 

Since the All-Star break, he has posted a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. With this decline over the second half of the season, opposing teams have collected at least three total runs in 10 of Garcia’s last 13 starts.

We are getting great value in Tampa Bay to collect at least three runs because Houston’s bullpen is one of the best in baseball. However, Garcia’s trend is too strong, and I could see the Rays getting three runs before the Astros go to the bullpen.

Through 40 career plate appearances against the right-hander, this current Tampa Bay roster boasts a .254 xBA, .412 xSLG, and .345 xwOBA. It is also important to look at each team’s situation entering this contest.

The Rays have much more to play for considering they are still vying for a better spot in the AL Wild Card race. Meanwhile, Houston has absolutely nothing to play for now that they clinched the No. 1 seed in the AL, but can no longer catch the Dodgers for the overall No. 1 and home-field advantage in the World Series.

Los Angeles is in a somewhat similar situation this week, and we saw it save some of its better bullpen arms while sitting Mookie Betts, Freddie Freeman, and Max Muncy halfway through Friday’s game. While the Dodgers’ decision-making has absolutely nothing to do with the Astros’, I would not be shocked at all if they take it easy down the stretch and save the big arms/names for the postseason.

My best bet: Rays Over 2.5 total runs (-150 at BetMGM)

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Rays vs Astros moneyline analysis

I would lean towards the Rays’ moneyline in this contest but am not confident enough to pull the trigger. While I think the offense will provide a few runs, I do not trust their projected starting pitcher.

Taking the mound for Tampa Bay is right-hander Corey Kluber, who is 10-9 with a 4.36 ERA and 1.21 WHIP through 30 starts this season. Posting a .311 xwOBA, .262 xBA, and .417 xSLG, we should not expect any positive regression from the right-hander.

Entering this game in poor form, Kluber is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA and 1.93 WHIP over his last four starts. Like Houston, the Rays do have a strong bullpen which could bail out Kluber if he is to have a bad outing.

But, in a game where Houston is playing for nothing, I do not want to wager on the effort it may or may not show.

For those reasons, I am staying away from picking a side.

Rays vs Astros Over/Under analysis

As you can probably guess by now, I would lean towards taking the Over in this game. Neither of these pitchers has been in the strongest form and should be good fade candidates.

So why not take the Over? First of all, both bullpens are strong and could shut this game down over the last few innings.

Additionally, Houston’s lineup has not been as strong against right-handed pitching as you would expect. Since September 1, the Astros rank in the bottom half of the league in BA, SLG, OPS, and wOBA when facing right-handed pitching.

Again, I am stuck on how Houston will approach this game. Is it sending out its good bullpen arms late, or give the rotational guys a shot as it gains nothing from winning? 

I am not confident in either direction, so I am staying away from the total.

Rays vs Astros trend to know

Opposing teams have collected three or more total runs in 10 of Luis Garcia’s last 13 starts. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Astros

Rays vs Astros game info

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Date: Sunday, October 2, 2022
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
TV: AT&T Sportsnet, Bally Sports

Starting pitchers

Corey Kluber (10-9, 4.36 ERA): Making his 31st appearance on the mound for Tampa Bay this season, Kluber will look for a better outing. Over his last four starts, he is 0-2 with a 7.27 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. The only good game over that stretch came against Houston, surrendering just one run on six hits through seven innings pitched. While Kluber possesses a five-pitch arsenal, he typically relies on his cutter to set up his sinker or curveball.

Luis Garcia (14-8, 3.81 ERA): Making his 28th start on the mound for the Astros this year, Garcia will look to turn around a poor second half. Since the All-Star break, he has posted a 4.02 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Opposing teams have collected three or more total runs in 10 of his last 13 starts. Garcia possesses a six-pitch arsenal but relies heavily on his 4-seam fastball, throwing it 42.1% of the time.

Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Rays vs Astros weather

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