Rays vs Astros Picks and Predictions: Astros Blast Off on Wacha, Rays

Houston is fighting to keep its hopes of catching the Rays alive, and has its target in the crosshairs tonight. Find out if Michael Wacha can shake his generous ways as we break down our Rays vs Astros picks.

Last Updated: Sep 28, 2021 12:18 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Yuli Gurriel Houston Astros MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The MLB betting board has a loaded slate with 16 games this Tuesday, including a matchup between a pair of division leaders as the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Houston Astros.

This will be the first contest in a three-game set at Minute Maid Park and the AL West-leading Astros are slim -130 home favorites against the Rays, who are the cream of the crop in the AL East. 

Here are our best free Rays vs. Astros picks and predictions for Tuesday, September 28.

Rays vs Astros odds

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Rays vs Astros picks

Picks made on 9/28/2021 at 11:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

Rays vs Astros game info

Location: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Time: 8:10 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, ATT SportsNet-SW

Rays vs Astros betting preview

Starting pitchers

Michael Wacha (3-5, 5.49 ERA): The 30-year-old has been mediocre in his first year with the Rays, pitching to a 1.39 WHIP with an opponent batting average of .285 in 114 2-3 innings. In his last appearance last Tuesday, Wacha came out of the bullpen to pitch three innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays. That allowed him to bounce back from an ugly performance against Toronto just six days earlier when he surrendered six runs in six innings. 

Jose Urquidy (8-3, 3.56 ERA): Urquidy has earned a spot in Houston's rotation with his strong play this season, pitching to a 0.99 WHIP with an OBA of .218 across 18 starts. That said, the 26-year-old is coming off a rough outing against the Angels where he allowed a pair of dingers and four runs before getting the hook midway through the sixth inning.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Rays: Andrew Kittredge RP (Probable), Ryan Thompson RP (Out).
Astros: Michael Brantley LF (Questionable).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Rays are 2-5 in their last seven road games. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Astros.

Rays vs Astros predictions

The Rays have a 97-59 record, and as long as they win one of their final six games (or the Astros lose one) they will wrap up the top spot in the American League. The 'Stros are 91-65 with a 4.5-game lead on the Mariners in the NL West, but after losing four straight games, they can't get too comfortable. 

Houston will send Jose Urquidy to the mound in this one and the righty has been sharp this season, especially at home, where he has pitched to a 3.15 ERA with an impressive 0.88 WHIP in eight starts.

The Astros also have a loaded lineup that leads the majors in scoring with 5.34 runs per game while ranking second with an OPS of .782. The Rays rank 10th in the majors with an OPS of .746, and while they have been hitting the ball well, they're not quite on Houston's level.

In addition, Michael Wacha will get the start for Tampa Bay today and he's been very unreliable. The longtime Cardinal has pitched to a 6.65 ERA with a 1.52 WHIP in nine starts since the beginning of August and the Rays have lost six of those contests. 

With the Astros going 11-3 in Urquidy's previous 14 starts, back the home side on the moneyline. 

We mentioned that the 'Stros lead the majors in scoring, and while the Rays might not have as many big names in their lineup, they actually rank second with 5.31 runs/game. They've also upped their OPS to .776 over the last month. Unfortunately for Rays fans that strong batting might be offset by Wacha's poor pitching. 

Among 146 pitchers with at least 250 batted ball events this season, Wacha ranks dead-last with a sweet spot percentage of 40.7 while ranking 124th in hard-hit percentage at 43.

That's bad news against a Houston squad that ranks fifth in the majors in sweet spot percentage (34.9) and sixth in hard-hit percentage (40.9).

The Astros are plating 6.15 runs per game over their last 20 contests and have gone 12-6-2 O/U during that span. With the Over also going 5-0-2 in the last seven starts for Urquidy, back it again tonight.

Rays vs Astros betting card

  • Moneyline Houston (-130)
  • Over 9 (-120)
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