The Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays wrap up their three-game set with a matinee tilt at Rogers Centre on Wednesday afternoon.
Toronto's bats were finally cooled Tuesday night, as the Rays blanked the Jays in a 2-0 victory, spoiling a strong performance from Jose Berrios. Now they'll have to go through ace Robbie Ray to win the series.
Find out who we like in our Rays vs. Blue Jays picks for September 15, with first pitch at 3:07 p.m. ET.
Rays vs Blue Jays game info
• Location: Rogers Centre, Toronto, ON
• Date: Wednesday, September 15, 2021
• Time: 3:07 p.m. ET
• TV: Bally Sports Sun, Rogers Sportsnet
Rays vs Blue Jays odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
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Rays vs Blue Jays betting preview
Michael Wacha (3-4, 5.37 ERA): Wacha has had another rough season and faces an elite offense today, but he goes into this start having thrown better of late. He has a 2.35 ERA over his last three outings, striking out 19 and walking two over 15 1-3 innings.
Robbie Ray (11-5, 2.69 ERA): The lefty is having a career year and has been one of the top pitchers in the game this season. Ray's 2.69 ERA is tops in the AL and his 170 1-3 innings trails only his teammate Berrios, while he's second to Gerrit Cole in strikeouts, WHIP, and No. 2 in opponents' batting average. There's a good chance he'll be No. 1 in a few more categories after today.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Rays: Wander Franco SS (Out), Matt Wisler RP (Out).
Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio UTIL (Out), Santiago Espinal 3B (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 6-0 in Wacha's last six starts as an underdog. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Blue Jays.
Run line pick
Drew Rasmussen continued his strong run in the rotation Tuesday, firing five scoreless innings of two-hit ball before handing it off to Tampa's bullpen, which did more of the same. Four Rays relievers combined to allow one hit and shutout the Blue Jays for the first time since July 23. It was just the second time in 14 games that Toronto's thumping offense scored fewer than five runs.
The start was Rasmussen's sixth straight allowing one or zero runs, but Tampa won't be sending out an arm as consistent today. This is Wacha's third straight season with an ERA north of 4.75 and he has allowed four-plus runs in five of his last 10 outings. While his last three starts have been solid, they've come against the Orioles, Twins, and Tigers — three teams that rank in the bottom half of FanGraphs' catch-all offensive stat wRC+ post-All-Star break... And not exactly the Blue Jays, who are first.
With Ray, a Cy Young contender who is currently No. 2 on the odds board behind Cole, on the mound, Toronto has a significant advantage in the starting pitching matchup. Ray struggled in his last start against Baltimore, but he kept all the damage limited to three first-inning runs on two homers and battled without his best stuff to still punch out eight over 4 1-3 innings.
The southpaw had allowed two runs or fewer in eight consecutive outings before the Baltimore start, putting up a 1.51 ERA and holding opponents to a .176 average over that stretch. He has had his way with the Rays this season, too, posting a 2.00 ERA in four starts with 33 strikeouts and three walks over 27 innings. His worst start against them was in April (three runs in six innings with nine strikeouts), while he has gone seven innings each of the last three times he has faced them, allowing two or fewer runs in all of those starts.
We don't like either team on the moneyline: Wacha can't be trusted against this offense, so even at +145 odds the Rays aren't a great bet. Especially not when Ray has had their number the way he has and is one of the AL's elite pitchers, which is why Toronto, 12-2 in September, is coming in at -170.
The play then becomes either Tampa +1.5 (-130) or Toronto -1.5 on the run line, and we're backing Ray and the Blue Jays' big bats at plus money.
PREDICTION: Toronto -1.5 (+110)
Wacha has the 13th-highest home run rate (1.87 HR/9) among the 116 pitchers who have thrown at least 100 innings. He has surrendered multiple bombs in five of his last 10 starts and his counterpart has struggled with the long ball, too.
While Ray has settled down since the beginning of the season, he's still allowing 1.43 homers per nine innings, and both starters will be up against two of MLB's best home run-hitting teams. The Jays are first with 232 bombs while the Rays are sixth at 201, and they rank No. 1 and 2 in the AL since the break (a side bet I'd be hitting is Over 2.5 total homers for the game).
Toronto's offense, save for last night, has been deadly and Wacha is the right guy to keep that hiccup to a one-game blip. Batters are hitting .283 off him (the seventh-highest mark, minimum 100 innings) while slugging .501 with a .831 OPS. Seven of Wacha's last 10 starts have gone Over and the Rays, who get a tough assignment but can still contribute to this number with their power stroke, have cashed Overs at the second-highest rate in MLB.
Prior to last night, Toronto was averaging 8.7 runs per game during September while hitting .331/.410/.636 as a team. Even after the shutout, the Blue Jays still have a 1.002 OPS and have scored 26 more runs this month than the next highest team.
The 8.5 total is the lowest of the series, with last night's game falling well short and the opener just climbing past that number. For a game that should definitely see some balls leave the yard between MLB's Top 2 teams in OPS in the second half, the Over is the play for us today.
PREDICTION: Over 8.5 (-115)
Rays vs Blue Jays betting card
- Toronto -1.5 (+110)
- Over 8.5 (-115)
Picks made on 9/15/2021 at 8:53 a.m. ET
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