SI Gambling analyst Roy Larking previews Tuesday’s MLB betting action and shares the two top picks on his baseball betting card.
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New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays
Tied for second in the AL East standings, 3.0 games behind front-running Boston, New York, and Tampa Bay open a three-game series tonight. The first pitch for the Yankees vs. Rays matchup is slated for 7:10 p.m. ET at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. This is the third series between these teams and the seventh of 19 meetings this season. The Rays won twice, 10–5 and 4–0 before the Yankees avoided a sweep on the road with an 8–4 F/10 win during the first series. That was followed by Tampa Bay outscoring New York 18–7 during a 3–0 sweep at Yankee Stadium. The Rays are underdogs at home.
New York (18–16) had a three- & five-game losing streak and didn’t win more than two in a row during a 6–11 start to their season. Turning things around, the Yankees are 12–5 over the last 17 contests. New York heads to Florida following a 3–0 sweep of Detroit, plus 2–1 series wins against Houston and Washington, during a nine-game homestand. The Yankees had a 38–15 scoring edge during the seven wins and were outscored 18–8 during the two losses. New York is 9–12 against teams with a winning record. The Yankees had a day off yesterday, and they are 7–7 on the road this season.
Tampa Bay (19–17) also had a day off for travel on Monday, and they just completed a run of 17 games over 17 days. The Rays return home following a 4–0 sweep of the Angels in Los Angeles and a 2–1 series loss in Oakland. Tampa Bay outscored the Angels by a 26–10 margin, and all four wins were by two or more runs. That was followed by two losses to the Athletics, 2–1 and 6–3, before a 4–3 win in the series finale on Sunday. Tampa Bay batters lead the league with 373 strikeouts over 36 games. The Rays and Yankees are tied for 24th overall with a .222 team batting average.
Using a bullpen rotation to open this series, RHP Luis Patiño (1–0, 1.17 ERA) is making his second start for Tampa Bay. He has allowed one run and three hits, over 7.2 innings, during one start and two relief appearances. Third on the depth chart, LHP Jordan Montgomery (1–1, 4.41 ERA) makes his seventh start for New York. He held Baltimore to four hits, over six scoreless innings, during his first start. Since then, he has allowed three or more runs during four of his last five starts. Four of the first six games in this series went over eight total runs. Bet on that trend continuing.
Pick: Game total OVER 8 (-109) runs
Minnesota Twins at Chicago White Sox
Meeting for the first time this season, Minnesota and Chicago open a three-game series in the Windy City. Game time for the Twins vs. White Sox contest is slated for 8:10 p.m. ET at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, Ill. The White Sox (-121) and Twins (+125) were preseason favorites to win the American League Central Division. Chicago is living up to expectations while Minnesota is not. These teams split the season series 5–5 last year. Eight of those games were decided by at least two runs. The White Sox went 4–2 in the games played in Chicago, and they won three of the final four meetings.
Minnesota opened the 2020 MLB season with a 20–12 record after 32 games. The Twins are mirror opposite this year as they have struggled during a 12–20 start. After winning five of their first seven games, Minnesota was dismal during a 2–13 meltdown. Slightly more competitive, the Twins enter this series on a 5–5 recent run. Minnesota heads Chicago after splitting two games in Detroit. The Tigers and Twins both won 7–3 before the third game was postponed due to rain on Sunday. Those results are status quo for the Twins as two or more runs have decided 13 of their last 15 contests.
Chicago (19-13) was inconsistent early as they opened the season with a 6–8 record. Since then, the White Sox have won 13 of their last 18 games and didn’t lose two straight at any point during that run. Chicago has a one-game lead on Cleveland, and they are 3.5 games ahead of Kansas City in the AL Central standings. After ripping the Royals, the White Sox return home by a 21–4 combined count during a 3–0 weekend series sweep in Kansas City. Before that, Chicago won 9–0 and lost 1–0 F/10 to the Reds in Cincinnati. Two or more runs have decided 15 of the White Sox last 17 matches.
On a solid roll, after allowing four hits over 13 scoreless innings, RHP Dylan Cease (2–0, 2.37 ERA) is making his seventh start for Chicago. RHP Kenta Maeda (2–2, 5.02 ERA) gets the start for Minnesota. Over 5.1 scoreless innings, he allowed two hits during the Twins 6–5 win at home against Texas in his last start on May 3. Prior to that, Maeda gave up 12 runs, over just 8.2 innings, during two previous starts. Overall, Chicago is scoring 5.12 runs while Minnesota averages 4.68 runs per game. The White Sox allow 3.46 runs, and Twins give up 4.75 runs on defense. Lay the runs and bet on Chicago.
Pick: Chicago White Sox -1.5 (+176) run line
2021 MLB Regular Season Betting Record: 21–25 (-4.80 Units)
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