Royals vs. Rays MLB Best Bet: Wacha Will Sink In Tampa Bay

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Jonathan Aranda #62 of the Tampa Bay Rays hits a fielders choice RBI in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Tropicana Field on May 24, 2024. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images/AFP

We have a full Sunday slate of 15 MLB betting matchups for Memorial Day weekend. The action starts early at 11:35 AM ET. We are here with the three plays we feel have the most betting value at the current MLB odds offered by the top-rated sportsbooks.

These plays are based mostly on our proprietary model. One of the best bets for Sunday is at 1:40 PM ET down in Tampa, where our model likes a side when the Royals visit the Rays.

Check out our other two MLB best bets for more of today’s content.

MLB Best Bet: Rays ML (-118) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Rays ML (-118)
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Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Sunday, May 26, 2024 – 01:40 PM ET at Tropicana Field

The Rays are 0-5 on their current homestand, but we look for them to break that losing streak here behind the promising Taj Bradley taking on Michael Wacha and the Royals.

Ready for the Next Step

Bradley was a highly regarded prospect with an electric fastball and plus-rated secondary pitches. With that said, most considered his rookie season last year to be disappointing as he was 5-8 with a 5.59 ERA. 

However, he did have much better metrics with the most notable being his 3.83 xFIP and great strikeout rate of 11.09/9.

Taj had a belated start to this season, but he looked great in his first two starts before allowing five runs in seven innings last time out. While that raised his ERA to 4.00 over 18 innings, he did have 10 strikeouts in that outing, leaving him with a 2.81 xFIP and an 11.50/9 strikeout rate thus far. 

He is averaging 96.2 MPH and, perhaps more importantly, has lowered the walks that plagued him in his rookie season to 1.50/9 from 3.35/9.

While the Royals are a surprising 34-19 to begin the season, the veteran Wacha has been a weak link in the rotation. He has been the beneficiary of good run support going 4-4 despite a 4.45 ERA and 4.20 xFIP. 

He is primarily a contact pitcher given his moderate strikeout rate of 7.46/9, and much of the contact has been in the air given the low 38.8% groundball rate.

MLB Best Bet

We do not expect much to change with that profile as Michael has seen a big dip in his swinging strike rate at the age of 32, all the way down to 9.0% from 10.7% just last year. 

He is not a hard thrower at 93.2 MPH and the low swinging-strike rate indicates the already moderate fastball has lost some movement as he has advanced in age.

We see this is a matchup between a pitcher with a ton of upside and a veteran on the decline, so bet Bradley and the Rays as moderate favorites.

Predicted Score: Rays 5 – Royals 3

MLB Best Bet: Rays ML (-118) at BetOnline

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Rays ML (-118)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.