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Betting Preview: Tampa Bay Rays vs Houston Astros

The Astros sent out Justin Verlander on short rest to close out the ALDS. That didn’t work, so now Houston will call on its other ace, Gerrit Cole, in a winner-take-all Game 5. He’s fully rested and back home; can he repeat his dominant Game 2 and dispatch the Rays?

Matchup Information
  • Tampa Bay Rays vs Houston Astros (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: October 10, 7:07 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: Fox Sports 1
  • Opening Odds: TB +225/HOU -270 | O/U 7  (Line History)
  • Starting Pitchers: TB Glasnow (6-2, 1.94 ERA), HOU Cole (21-5, 2.41 ERA)

Opening Odds Analysis

At home and sending to the mound Cy Young front-runner Gerrit Cole, who had a historic performance in Game 2, the Astros are understandably big favorites. Tyler Glasnow also pitched well for Tampa Bay in Game 1, so the strong starting pitching equates to a total lower than previous games, set at 7 runs for this one.

Tampa Bay News & Notes

The Rays offense finally showed up as they stayed alive in Game 3. In Game 4, they needed Justin Verlander to not be his usual self pitching on short rest, and for the planned bullpen matchups to pan out across nine innings.

The cards aligned as Tampa Bay jumped on Verlander quickly, scoring four runs and forcing him out of the game by the fourth inning, while no Rays pitcher faced the same Houston hitter twice as they allowed just six hits in a 4-1 victory.

It was also fitting that on a bullpen-focused game that saw six different Tampa Bay pitchers, the final two outs were secured by a starting pitcher, reigning Cy Young winner Blake Snell, who quashed a Houston rally by retiring Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel.

The Rays managed just 11 hits in the first two games, then piled up 25 hits in Games 3 and 4. Tampa’s offense will be tested against Gerrit Cole, but if the Rays are going to complete this improbable comeback, look for Tommy Pham, who has at least one hit in every game this series, to be involved.

Houston News & Notes

While it’s disappointing for Astros manager A.J. Hinch that his starting pitching faltered in Tampa, as Zack Greinke and short-rest Justin Verlander allowed 12 hits, 10 earned runs and five home runs at Tropicana Field, he can relax knowing Gerrit Cole is on the mound for Game 5. Cole struck out 15 Rays over 7.2 innings in a historically dominant Game 2 victory.

Where Hinch stays concerned, however, is how his offense disappeared in Florida; Houston combined for just four runs in two games. One player they need to turn it around is Michael Brantley; since going 2-for-4 in Game 1, he’s hitless in 12 at-bats with nary a walk. A .311 hitter in the regular season with a .372 on-base percentage, if Brantley can get back to setting the table, it would go a long way to getting Houston’s offense back on track to scratch out a win.

Betting Pick: Houston -270

The Rays found their offense and have momentum in the series. But the Astros have Gerrit Cole on full rest. That alone is enough to swing the balance, so I’ll take Houston to win.

Shark Bites
  • Tampa Bay is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road.
  • Houston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 home games.
  • Houston is 14-4 SU in its last 18 games.