The AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays have all the momentum after coming back from an 0-2 deficit to force a deciding game in their best-of-five ALDS against the Texas Rangers.
The home crowd at Tropicana Field on Tuesday should give Tampa Bay the boost it needs. Still, most books only give them a slight advantage as -115 favorites.
Tampa Bay’s bats came alive in Game 4 of the ALDS, sending Texas starter Tommy Hunter to the showers after just four innings. Texas will travel to the sunshine state for Game 5; set to get underway at 8:07 p.m. ET.
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Tampa Bay will try and book a date with the Yankees in the ALCS when they give the ball to David Price (19-6, 2.72 ERA) who is still searching for his first postseason victory. Price has never beaten Texas in four starts, but has lost just twice in 16 starts at home this year; will it provide bettors with a chance to look for another payoff on an underdog wager?
Texas will send Game 1 winner Cliff Lee (12-9, 3.18 ERA) to the mound, hoping to turn things around just in time, or their season will end abruptly. It will lend some confidence to the Rangers knowing that Lee is an undefeated 6-0 in the postseason, with a staggering 1.52 ERA. It gives the +105 underdog Rangers a good upset bet possibility.
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The only downside with Lee on the mound is that he has struggled with left-handed hitters, and must shut down the big bat of Carl Crawford if Texas is to win their first-ever playoff series. Lee is primarily a fastball pitcher, and sluggers must get ahead in the count if they are to take Lee out of the game early and get into the Rangers bullpen.
If totals bettors are looking for an edge, then consider that three of four games have gone UNDER the posted totals set by sportsbooks.
Phil Hughes pitched a series-clinching victory for the Yankees in his postseason debut, as they swept the Twins in their ALDS. The Yankees will send Ace CC Sabathia (21-7, 3.18 ERA) to the hill in Game 1 of the ALCS, which is set for Friday at either Texas or Tampa Bay.
Even with the Yankees starting the series on the road, they will be favored in the ALCS. The Yankees are 3-0 when they don’t hold home-field advantage in ALCS play. Could it be a chance to take a bite out of the oddsmakers and go with a home “dog” in the opening game of the series?