MLB Betting Preview: Rays vs Blue Jays Series Odds

Tampa Bay and Toronto Fighting for Wild Card Positioning

Rays vs Blue Jays Series Odds: With the AL East starting to look out of reach for both teams; the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays meet up north of the border this week as they try to jockey for position in the division and in the jam-packed AL Wild Card race.

As of right now, Tampa Bay is essentially tied with the Seattle Mariners for the top Wild Card spot and has a slim half-game lead over Toronto, which is currently the third Wild Card team.

Plus, with a doubleheader on Tuesday, this five-game set takes even more importance and is why the Rays vs Blue Jays series odds are so even (with Toronto as slight favorites).

If either team is able to win four of five this week, then that side would have an enormous advantage in terms of the likely end-of-season Wild Card standings.

There are four games left between them after this series but any five-game set is going to be wildly influential.

Tampa Bay had won nine of 10 before dropping the final two games of a weekend series with the Yankees, and Toronto had won eight of nine prior to Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the lowly Texas Rangers. Despite recent setbacks, the Rays and Blue Jays are both playing good baseball as of late.

Rays-Blue Jays Game 1 Information

Toronto’s Rotation Is Mostly Set

Toronto Blue Jays game, the performance of that night’s starting pitcher is extremely critical considering how inconsistent the Toronto bullpen has been this season.

The good thing for Toronto in this series is that the Blue Jays have their entire usual rotation {with the exception of Yusei Kikuchi, whose struggles have bumped him to the bullpen} lined up to face the Rays. They’ll turn to José Berríos, Alek Manoah, Kikuchi, Ross Stripling, and Kevin Gausman for the five games.

On the other hand, the Rays starting pitchers, thanks in part to some injuries and to the natural makeup of their pitching staff… will need to piece things together.

Cooper Criswell, who has 1.1 innings of big-league experience, is Monday’s likely starter and Tampa’s starter is still TBD for the second game of Tuesday’s doubleheader and for Thursday’s finale.

Jeffrey Springs and Drew Rasmussen are the only starters the Rays have locked in and while both of them have been very good, neither tends to go deep into games. It’s going to be hard for Tampa Bay to piece together 45 innings of pitching this week.

Rays’ Offense Hasn’t Done Much Lately

Tampa Bay got an enormous boost over the weekend with player Wander Franco returning from the MLB injured list but, even with their star shortstop healthy, the Rays’ offensive struggles continued.

In their last eight games, the Rays have scored only 27 runs with eight of those runs coming in one win against the Red Sox and scored four runs or fewer in the other seven games.

Having Franco back helps them in terms of the Rays vs Blue Jays series odds but he can’t do it all by himself and the rest of Tampa Bay’s lineup just isn’t producing.

It also doesn’t help matters that the Rays are an extremely underwhelming 31-36 on the road this season. Their offensive numbers aren’t particularly good at Tropicana Field either but, away from home, the Rays boast a mediocre .689 OPS.

That’s going to need to change if Tampa Bay has any chance of winning this critical series against a Toronto team that is playing really well.

Blue Jays Are Healthy

Toronto seems to have shaken off a disappointing start to the season, especially on offense, and health has played a big role in that turnaround.

Right now, other than Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (out with a hamstring injury), all of the Blue Jays’ key regulars are healthy. That has been a key aspect of Toronto’s season as the Blue Jays’ top eight hitters (other than catcher Danny Jansen) have all played 110 or more games.

With that kind of continuity and offensive talent, Toronto was bound to break out which is exactly what the Blue Jays have done.

That’s why the Blue Jays have the edge in the Rays vs Blue Jays series odds. Tampa has had to shuffle in batters throughout its lineup all year due to injuries and ineffectiveness while Toronto’s has more or less been the same.

With guys like George Springer, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Bo Bichette leading the charge, it’s tough to keep the Blue Jays down for long. They have MLB’s fourth-best OPS and second-best batting average, so Toronto hits for plenty of power but also gets on base a lot. That’s a deadly combo.

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