The two best teams in the AL East will continue their three-game set at Tropicana Field when the Tampa Bay Rays host the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday.
Boston took a wild series opener that saw it cough up a 5-2 lead in top prospect Wander Franco's MLB debut before plating four runs in the 11th to walk away with an extra-inning win.
What does the encore have in store? Find out with our best free MLB betting picks and predictions for Red Sox vs. Rays on June 23.
Red Sox vs Rays game info
• Location: Tropicana Field, Tampa, FL
• Date: Wednesday, June 23, 2021
• Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
• TV: BSN, NESN
Red Sox vs Rays odds
Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.
Compare MLB odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.
MLB sharp money and line movement reportBy Patrick Everson
As of 12:30 p.m. ET today, Tampa Bay is a -148 favorite at FanDuel, down a few cents from the -156 opener Tuesday night. The Rays are drawing 57 percent of moneyline bets and 63 percent of moneyline dollars. The total is at 9 (Under -120) from an opener of 8.5 (Under -115), with 78 percent of bets/64 percent of money on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Red Sox vs Rays betting preview
Garrett Richards (4-4, 4.36 ERA): Richards has had a brutal month, getting smacked around for six runs in his last start after the Blue Jays nailed him for four on a season-high 11 hits in the outing before. The right-hander has had one good month — he posted a 2.97 ERA in five May starts — sandwiched between two forgettable ones and his difficulty finding the strike zone has him entering this outing with a career-worst 1.61 WHIP.
Rich Hill (5-2, 3.64 ERA): Similar to Richards, Hill has been shaky in consecutive outings after a strong run that saw him consistently shut down any team thrown his way. He has allowed eight runs and three homers in his last three starts and hasn't pitched past the fifth inning once this month.
Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.
Red Sox: Christian Arroyo 3B (Questionable), Kevin Plawecki C (Out).
Rays: Cody Reed RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Over is 19-6-2 in the last 27 head-to-head meetings. Find more MLB betting trends for Red Sox vs. Rays.
A seven-game losing streak has dropped the Rays from first to second in the AL East standings in a hurry. Always lurking behind them, the Red Sox are back in first and can extend their division lead over Tampa to 2.5 games with a win Wednesday.
Seven straight losses are bad any way you slice it, but four of those came in extra innings and another was by one run. It's not all doom and gloom for the Rays but they will have to get past this series — and perhaps the entire season — without their best pitcher, Tyler Glasnow.
Hill will be tasked with getting the Rays over the hump and back in the win column today, but the 41-year-old has a tall mountain to climb against Boston's potent offense. Hill has predictably started to scuffle after an impressive run that saw him post a minuscule 0.78 ERA over six May starts while punching out more than a batter per inning. He's been hit around in back-to-back outings against two Bottom-10 OPS offenses in baseball, in the Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles, and will be up against a Red Sox team that ranks fourth with a mark of .759.
While the Red Sox have hit righties harder this season, there isn't any drastic split you will find here. They are a good offense, period, and have a trio of stars in Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez, and Rafael Devers who all have a .900-plus OPS. Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe (.985 OPS vs. LHP) have especially murdered southpaws, making it difficult to see Hill getting past five innings for the first time in four starts. And, assuming he doesn't, that will mean Tampa Bay is likely turning to its bullpen without a lead.
Now, Hill's counterpart Richards doesn't inspire confidence but getting the best team in the AL East at plus money is too much value to pass up. Back the BoSox to win a slugfest.
PREDICTION: Boston (+130)
Hill allowed four runs in each of his first four starts this season and in both of his last two. He hasn't allowed more than four once this season and sandwiched between those six outings was a run of eight consecutive starts allowing two runs or fewer.
The soft-tosser is very much a two-pitch artist and if his bread-and-butter curveball isn't on against a Boston team that's one of the best at hitting breaking balls, then he'll be in rough shape relying on a fastball that gets smacked around plenty.
Richards, meanwhile, has the worst hard-hit rate among starters in baseball and is in the Bottom-3 percent of the league in average exit velocity, which leaves him extremely susceptible to getting lit up. Tampa handles righties well, ranking eighth in on-base percentage with the sixth-best offense, according to FanGraphs' weighted runs created plus, making this a terrible matchup for the inconsistent 33-year-old.
The right-hander has struggled against good offenses all month (5.75 ERA over four June starts) and we don't see things changing in that regard against Tampa Bay.
The total opened at 8.5 and has been bet up to 9.0 but that's still not enough to scare us off from jumping on the Over. The Rays are a Top-5 Over play in baseball, cashing nearly 60 percent of the time and the pitcher-friendly Trop isn't going to be able to contain offense today with these two starters on the mound.
PREDICTION: Over 9 (+100)
Red Sox vs Rays betting card
- Boston (+130)
- Over 9 (+100)
Picks made on 6/23/2021 at 11:13 a.m. ET
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