Rays vs Cubs Picks and Predictions: Stroman Stymies Tampa Bay in Friendly Confines

Marcus Stroman got lit up in Colorado — as pitchers often do — and returns to the friendly confines to shut down the Tampa Bay Rays. We like the Cubs to rebound after losing on Tuesday and to finish this series with a win in our betting picks.

Last Updated: Apr 20, 2022 3:26 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Marcus Stroman Chicago Cubs MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The winner of Wednesday’s meeting between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Chicago Cubs will take this three-game series while also climbing above .500 in the process. 

Will Chicago earn a surprising series win over Tampa Bay to continue its solid start to the season? Keep reading our MLB picks and predictions for Rays vs. Cubs to find out. 

Rays vs Cubs odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Chicago opened as a +102 favorite, but the best odds you’ll find on the Cubs is +100 by this writing. They’re actually as high as -108 favorites over the Rays and that would have been surprising to hear before the season. 

The total, meanwhile, opened up at 9 and appears likely to stay put at that number. Depending on where you look, you could see the Over or the Under being juiced a bit.  

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Rays vs Cubs predictions

Picks made on 4/20/2022 at 10:55 a.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Rays vs Cubs game info

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Date: Wednesday, April 20, 2022
First pitch: 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: Marquee Sports Network-Chicago, Bally Sports Sun

Rays vs Cubs betting preview

Starting pitchers

Drew Rasmussen (0-1, 5.00 ERA): Rasmussen has already started two games for the Rays this year, and the righty has allowed a total of five earned runs over nine innings. The 26-year-old isn’t going to be asked to work very deep, but Tampa Bay will certainly be counting on him to allow three or fewer runs over just about five innings in this spot. 

Marcus Stroman (0-1, 6.00 ERA): Stroman gave up only one earned run against the Milwaukee Brewers over five innings in his home debut on April 10 and followed it up by giving up five earned in four innings against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. That road start is one you can really throw out, as it’s nearly impossible to pitch effectively in Colorado. The Cubs will surely be hoping he can channel some of his AL East experience against the Rays to turn in a good outing. 


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

Key injuries

Rays: Wander Franco SS (Questionable), Shane Baz P (Out), Luis Patino P (Out), Ryan Yarbrough P (Out), Nick Anderson P (Out), Tyler Glasnow P (Out).
Cubs: Adbert Alzolay P (Out), Alec Mills P (Out), Wade Miley P (Out), Andrelton Simmons SS (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Cubs are 6-1 in their last seven games following a loss. Find more MLB betting trends for Rays vs. Cubs.

Rays vs Cubs picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

There’s no denying that it’s very early in the season, but the Cubs have been one of the more dangerous offenses in baseball against right-handed pitching thus far. On the year, Chicago is third in the league in on-base percentage and fifth in batting average against righties. The Cubs are also tied for second in the league in walk-to-strikeout ratio, which means Chicago has a decent chance of scrapping together some offense against Rays starter Drew Rasmussen. 

That batting average may come more into play against the Rays right-hander, though, as Rasmussen has showcased pinpoint control since arriving in Tampa following a trade with the Brewers last season. Rasmussen has issued 14 walks over 68 innings with the Rays, including just one in his nine innings of work this season.

That said, he hasn't missed a ton of bats, recording just five strikeouts across his two starts so far. The Cubs should have plenty of opportunities to put the ball in play as they own the 10th-lowest strikeout rate in MLB at 20.7%.

So, keep an eye on guys like Jonathan Villar and Seiya Suzuki for the Cubs. Even though the switch-hitting Villar has historically done better against southpaws, he’s batting .389 with three RBIs against righties in this young season.

If Villar can stay hot, it should help Suzuki do some damage. The rookie outfielder is batting .414 with four homers and 11 RBIs this season. It has not taken him very long to get used to his new surroundings, and he looks the part of one of the more dangerous hitters in the league. 

Chicago also has to feel like it has an edge on the mound in this game. Stroman might have had a poor outing at Coors Field, but who doesn’t? The righty did, however, give up only one run in five innings against the Brewers at Wrigley Field, and he should be able to similarly trouble a Rays lineup that could struggle to deal with the sloppy weather conditions in this game. 

Prediction: Cubs moneyline (+100 at WynnBet

Over/Under analysis

The Under is 9-2-2 in Tampa Bay’s last 13 road games against right-handed starters and it’s also 5-2 in the last seven games Chicago has played. The Under is also 6-1-1 in the last eight games in which the Cubs gave up five or more runs in their previous contest.

Look for this one to be a bit lower scoring than yesterday’s game, especially considering it’s supposed to be in the low 50s and raining at first pitch. It could be a bit uncomfortable for some of these hitters in that batter’s box, so this should end up being a scrappy game. 

And despite pitching to contact almost exclusively, Rasmussen rarely gets lit up. He might not dominate or go deep into games, but he’ll give the Rays five or so competitive innings with regularity. As long as Stroman pitches as well as he’s capable of, this could be a relatively stress-free win for Under bettors.

Prediction: Under 9 (-104 at FanDuel

Best bet

This isn’t supposed to be a very nice evening, which makes things a little harder on hitters. When it’s chilly, it’s not easy for those at the plate to get a good feel for their bats. The Rays are currently tied for 11th in strikeout rate at 24.1%.

Stroman has above-average stuff, so this could be a matchup in which he fans a few more hitters than usual. That would go a long way in him keeping the Rays offense down as he’s already effective at pitching to contact.

Chicago also has just a 3.14 bullpen ERA thus far, which is a big improvement on last season’s 4.39. Cubs relievers should be able to pick up the slack and pull their own weight to help Stroman finish off a solid job of keeping this Rays team from putting a big number on the scoreboard.  

Pick: Rays Under 4.5 runs (-108 at FanDuel

MLB parlays

Did you know that if you parlayed today’s MLB Rays vs. Cubs picks, you could win $65.56 on a $10 bet?

Use our MLB parlay calculator to create your own parlays and see their potential payouts.

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