Fresh off an ALDS win over the New York Yankees, the Tampa Bay Rays take on the Houston Astros in Game 1 of the 2020 American League Championship Series on Sunday in San Diego. The Astros knocked off the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS, seemingly gaining traction after an uneven regular season. Framber Valdez will start on the mound for the Astros, with Blake Snell getting the call for the Rays.
William Hill lists Tampa Bay as -130 money line favorites, and first pitch is scheduled for 7:37 p.m. ET. The over-under, or total number of runs Vegas is expecting, is 8 in the latest Astros vs. Rays odds. Before you make any Rays vs. Astros picks, check out the latest MLB predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
This model, which simulates every pitch 10,000 times, returned more than $1,400 on its top-rated money-line and run-line picks, and anyone who followed it saw huge rewards. It also got off to a hot start in the first week of the 2020 MLB Playoffs, hitting all three top-rated money-line MLB picks -- including the Cardinals (+150) in Game 1 against the Padres -- and returning almost $300 on the week.
- Astros vs. Rays money line: Rays -130, Astros +120
- Astros vs. Rays over-under: 8 runs
- Astros vs. Rays spread: Rays -1.5
- HOU: The Astros are 9-6 in the last 15 games, dating back to the regular season
- TB: The Rays are 14-4 in the last 18 games, dating back to the regular season
Why you should back the Astros
Though the Astros struggled by their previous standards in the regular season, Houston's offense is very much alive in the playoffs. The Astros have 13 home runs in six playoff games, including an explosion of 12 home runs against Oakland in the ALDS. In that series, Houston put together a batting line of .332/.388/.594 and the Astros seemed to find a groove at the optimal time.
Talented outfielder George Springer was one of the best players in baseball this season, hitting 14 home runs with a .540 slugging percentage in 51 games, and Carlos Correa has been unbelievable in the playoffs. Correa is hitting .500 with four home runs and 12 RBI in the postseason, with Michael Brantley, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman all sporting a .944 OPS or better during the playoff run. Finally, defense has been a strength in the postseason, with only two errors across the first two series.
Why you should back the Rays
Tampa Bay is a balanced, talented team, and the Rays can rely on a quality option on the mound in Game 1. The Rays tapped 27-year-old left-hander Snell for the opener, and he boasts a 3.38 ERA in two playoff starts, generating 13 strikeouts against only four walks. Snell, who won the 2018 AL Cy Young award, also ranked 12th in the American League with a 3.24 ERA in the regular season.
On the offensive side, the Rays are also potent. Tampa Bay was an above-average team in home runs (80), runs scored (289), on-base percentage (.328), wOBA (.325) and wRC+ (109) during the regular season, and the Rays rank in the top five in slugging percentage (.434) in the playoffs. The team's playoff star has been 25-year-old outfielder Randy Arozarena, with three home runs and a blistering 1.426 OPS in seven games.
How to make Astros vs. Rays picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with Tampa Bay's relievers projected to allow two runs and Valdez projected to allow more than one baserunner per inning. The model also says one side of the money line has all the value. Head to SportsLine now to see the pick.
So who wins Rays vs. Astros? And which side of the money line has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to see which side to jump on, all from the advanced model that returned over $1,400 on MLB picks last year and got off to a hot start in the 2020 MLB Playoffs.