The 2021 American League Division Series brings the AL East showdown between Boston and Tampa Bay, so we have prepared the best Red Sox vs. Rays betting pick and tips for Game 1 with the first pitch at 8:07 PM ET.
According to Bookmaker Sportsbook, the Rays are firm -185 favorites to win this set. Tampa Bay went 11-8 against the Red Sox, and the Rays have dropped only four of their previous 15 matchups with Boston.
The Sawx survived the wild-card round
After finishing the 2021 regular season tied with the Yankees for the second spot in the AL East, the 92-70 Boston Red Sox outlasted New York in a wild-card game at home this past Tuesday, 6-2. The Sawx scored three runs off Gerrit Cole, while Nathan Eovaldi fanned eight across 5.1 frames of a one-run ball.
Boston has scored 47 runs over its last ten outings, posting a solid .255/.326/.443 batting line in the process. On the pitching side of things, the Red Sox have registered a 4.40 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in that stretch.
Eduardo Rodriguez will toe the rubber Thursday at Tropicana Field where he’s 2-2 with a 4.26 ERA in seven career starts and 38 innings of work. The 28-year-old southpaw has met the Rays four times in 2021, going 1-1 in the process and surrendering 13 runs (11 earned) on 23 hits and three walks across 21 innings of work.
Rodriguez went 13-8 with a disappointing 4.74 ERA and 1.39 WHIP in 31 starts and one relief appearance this past regular season. He’s registered a 3.19 ERA and 2.62 FIP over his previous seven outings, allowing a .727 OPS and .381 BABIP to his opponents.
The Rays easily retained the AL East crown
The Tampa Bay Rays went 100-62 in 2021 and won their second consecutive AL East crown. They’ve been in the driving seat for most of the season, and in the last few weeks, it’s been clear that Tampa Bay will enter its third consecutive ALDS.
Over the last couple of weeks, the Rays have gone 7-3 while scoring 68 runs on a terrific .277/.347/.491 slash line. On the pitching side of things, the Rays have posted the lowest ERA in the majors (1.95) to go with a sparkly 0.90 WHIP and a .184 batting average against.
Shane McClanahan will take the hill Thursday just one year after becoming the first pitcher in MLB history to debut in the playoffs. The 24-year-old lefty went 10-6 in 25 starts (123.1 innings) this past regular season, posting a solid 3.43 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 141/37 K/BB ratio.
McClanahan is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox this term. He’s allowed just five earned runs on 15 hits and five walks while striking out 18 through 16 frames of work.
- 4-11 in the last 15 games against Tampa Bay
- 2-5 in the last seven games against the American League
- 7-3 in the last ten games overall
- 5-1 in the last six games at home
Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick
The Rays have mashed the ball down the stretch while killing it at the mound, so I’m backing them to carry on with a strong performance and beat the Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS. Shane McClanahan has been rock-solid all season, and in his last four outings, the lefty has registered a 1.50 ERA and 3.50 FIP across 18 innings of work.
McClanahan has dominated the Red Sox thus far. On the other side, Eduardo Rodriguez has been pretty unpredictable. He’s met the Rays twice in September, tossing six scoreless frames at Tropicana Field while yielding six earned runs in just 3.2 frames at home. The current Rays are slashing .297/.365/.488 in 129 at-bats against Rodriguez.
Pick: Take Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays possess one of the best bullpens in baseball. Kevin Cash will be able to mix and match at will. In the last two weeks of action, Tampa Bay ‘pen has registered a 2.98 ERA and 3.31 FIP, surrendering only 2.27 free passes per nine innings.
On the other side, the Red Sox bullpen has recorded a 4.83 ERA and 4.96 FIP over the past two weeks. On paper, their ‘pen is a problem, but I’ll still take the under. Seven of Boston’s last nine games went in the under, as well as six of Tampa’s previous seven contests. Also, four of their last five H2H duels at The Trop went in the under.
Pick: Go under