Rays vs Cubs Predictions, Picks, Odds: Can McClanahan Handle Road Trip?

Shane McClanahan's been a force this season, but he hasn't kept it all together on the road, leading our MLB picks to find value in a slept-on market as the Rays visit the Cubs

Last Updated: May 30, 2023 12:04 PM ET Read Time: 4 min
Shane McClanahan MLB
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays will send the betting favorite for the American League Cy Young to the bump tonight as lefty Shane McClanahan takes on the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley as a heavy -200 favorite with a total of 8.5.

The Cubs blanked the best offense in baseball yesterday but with Kyle Hendricks making just his second start of the season for the home side, should bettors be looking to back the heavily favored road team even with McClanahan’s splits on the road this season?

Find out where my best bets lie in my MLB pick and predictions for Rays vs. Cubs on Tuesday, May 30. 

Rays vs Cubs odds

Rays vs Cubs predictions

Shane McClanahan might be the best pitcher in baseball but his play away from the Trop hasn’t been nearly as good as at home.

On the road this season, he owns a 3.00 ERA with a 1.44 WHIP thanks to control issues on visiting mounds. In 2023, he has 25 total walks, with 16 coming on the road. That might not seem like a big difference, but the difference in output is significant and worth exploiting in his walks issued market. 

He owns a 48:9 K/BB ratio at home over 37 innings (six starts) while posting a 27:16 K/BB ratio over 27 innings on the road across five starts. The opposition isn’t even a case to fight here as he’s seen the Jays, Yankees, Orioles, White Sox, and Nationals on the road while also facing Toronto and New York at home. Even those strikeout numbers are eye-catching.

He’s allowed at least two walks in each of his five road starts this year, and over his short career owns a BB% that is 10% higher on the road than at home, where he has thrown 59% of his total innings. 

Adding to this Over 1.5 total walks handicap is the strength of the Chicago offense to draw a free bag. Only two other teams in baseball have a higher BB% than the Cubs at 9.9% and vs. lefties, that number is pretty stable at 9.3%.

Considering he’ll likely finish in the Top 10 in H/9, the Cubs could be taking a few more pitches than normal today vs. the Cy Young Favorite, who has 16 walks in 27 road innings this year. THE BAT isn't very high on the Tampa Bay lefty and projects just 16.0 total outs recorded.

My best betShane McClanahan Over 1.5 total walks (-125)

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Rays vs Cubs moneyline analysis

Following yesterday’s afternoon complete-game shutout from Chicago starter Marcus Stroman as a slight home dog, the Cubbies are in trouble today as -200 underdogs and face possibly the best pitcher in baseball in McClanahan. 

Bettors weren’t afraid to bet the juice this morning, as Tampa opened a -180 favorite and quickly moved to -200, which seems to be a buy-back point as some books have moved from -200 to -190. 

The pitching matchup is certainly lopsided, but both bullpens are fresh and this game could likely be won in the later innings if Kyle Hendricks can throw four to five decent innings. 

McClanahan doesn’t have the longest of leashes as he's topped 95 pitches just twice over 11 starts and averages 90 pitches per. He's also just a K/inning pitcher on the road this season and hasn't been nearly as elite away from the Trop.

Hendricks does have the hitting conditions in his favor which should help as the winds are blowing in at Wrigley and high-60 temperatures are expected. Yesterday’s game saw just four total hits in similar conditions. 

Every recreational bettor will want to pile on the Rays tonight who will likely be in a lot of parlays but I’m staying away from this steep -200 moneyline and feel the move off of -200 to -190 is the way the market should go. I wouldn’t be surprised if this moved back to the original -180/-185 price, especially if the weather conditions at Wrigley continue to favor the Cubs.

Everyone knows the Rays have the best offense right now in baseball, but Chicago is a legit Top-10 offense and one possibly worth backing at plus money on a +1.5 run line.

Rays vs Cubs Over/Under analysis

There's a lot to unpack here with the movement that this total has seen. 

Wrigley is a park where wind and weather have a bigger effect on the total than in other settings. Some books opened this total at 7.5 and in other places, this total has hit as high as 8.5. Pinnacle opened at 8 and just moved to 8.5 as of 10 am ET this morning likely meaning the rest of the market will follow.

A lot of the movement has to do with the handicap of the Tampa offense vs. Hendricks,who didn’t look good in his season debut but was also making his first start since last summer. His velocity was all there and this is a slightly-better-than average pitcher who THE BAT is projecting to get over 16 outs and allow just 2.89 earned runs. 

With McClanahan on the other side and two rested bullpens whose numbers look worse than they are thanks to some bad relievers (ie: Michael Fulmer and Jake Diekman), the rest of the handicap outside of Hendricks is saying Under — especially after the move to 8.5.

With the wind blowing in and temperatures expected in the mid-to-high-60s, I’m leaning on the Under between two teams that managed just four combined hits and a single run yesterday. 

Rays vs Cubs game info

Location: Wrigley Field, Chicago, IL
Date: Tuesday, May 30, 2023
First pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, Marquee Sports Network

Starting pitchers

Shane McClanahan (8-0, 1.97 ERA): McClanahan is currently the betting favorite for the AL Cy Young at bet365, at +325. The Rays are 10-1 straight up over his 11 starts and he’s allowed more than one earned run just once this month over five starts. He has an elite 16% swinging strike rate, but hasn’t needed to waste a lot of pitches and has recorded at least 21 outs in back-to-back games despite throwing less than 85 pitches in each game. THE BAT is projecting 90 pitches, 16 outs, 6.37 strikeouts, and 2.24 earned runs.

Kyle Hendricks (0-1, 6.23 ERA): Hendricks will be making his second start of the season after dealing with a shoulder strain that has lingered since last July. He was roughed up in his debut vs. the Mets for six runs (five earned) over 4-plus innings and 86 pitches. THE BAT is projecting 90 pitches, 16.5 outs, 4.46 strikeouts, and 2.89 earned runs. 

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