Rays vs. Yankees MLB Best Bets for June 15

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Shane McClanahan #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays throws against the St. Louis Cardinals. Mike Carlson/Getty Images/AFP

Nestor Cortes is once again featured in our MLB picks. Can he help the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays this Wednesday?

Tampa Bay Rays vs. New York Yankees

Wednesday, June 15, 2022 – 07:05 PM EDT at Yankee Stadium

It worked the last time we danced with Nestor Cortes. One week ago, we bagged both our MLB picks by taking the Minnesota Twins (+155) and Over 8.5 (-103) for their matchup with Cortes and the New York Yankees. Final score: Yankees 1, Twins 8. Just like nature intended.

Cortes is back on the mound this Wednesday, but the situation has changed. The 45-16 Yankees are at home this time, hosting their division-rival 35-26 Tampa Bay Rays; there isn’t an obvious moneyline pick this time with Tampa opening as +126 underdogs on the MLB odds board at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).

We have options. The Rays are also available at +1.5 (-175) on the run lines at Bovada, and that might be the right call with New York going a fortunate 12-4 in games decided by one run. That exact winning margin is more likely this week given the small-ish 7.5-run total at GTbets, so clearing that hurdle with Tampa +1.5 seems prudent... at this... juncture.

What Happened to Nestor Cortes?

Last Wednesday was a difficult one for Cortes (3.24 xFIP). The affable junkballer allowed four runs in 4.1 innings of work, including a pair of home runs in the fifth to end his night at 88 pitches. That was one of the earliest hooks Cortes has gotten all season; it was also the first time he’s given up two homers in a single appearance.

Now the MLB lines aren’t quite as tilted towards New York as they were last week. Here are the projections for Wednesday’s contest:

  • FiveThirtyEight: Yankees 57 percent
  • Baseball Power Index: Yankees 62.6 percent

As usual, the oddsmakers are hewing pretty close to what Nate Silver’s crew at 538 have on the board. The scintillating BMR Odds Converter says that 57 percent is the equivalent of a -133 “fair” moneyline (with no hold percentage for the books), so we’re not quite breaking even with Tampa Bay at +126.

Maybe the BPI is onto something, though. Their 62.6-percent projection works out to -167, which would make New York a bargain as -136 home faves at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review). We lean towards the Silver numbers here at the ranch, but secondary sources are important, and this BPI projection is enough to make us think twice about hammering Tampa on the moneyline.

Is Shane McClanahan a Cy Young Candidate?

He is in our books. McClanahan (2.02 xFIP) is starting for the Rays this Wednesday, and he’s an absolute gem of a lefty, with a 97-mph fastball and already one of the best curves in the business as a sophomore.

McClanahan also has Tampa Bay up 2.75 betting units this year on a team record of 9-3, with the Under at 7-3-2. That includes seven straight wins (Under 4-2-1), and each of the last six was a quality start.

Too bad nobody knows who he is. McClanahan might be Tampa Bay’s ace, but he’s a distant fifth on the AL Cy Young predictor charts at ESPN – just two spots ahead of Cortes. He’s also one spot behind another Yankees starter in Jameson Taillon (3.62 xFIP), which hardly seems fair.

We don’t mind here at the ranch. It’s just another example of the small-market Rays getting overlooked, and hopefully producing some betting value against the most celebrated team in baseball. Let’s see if taking the run line will help us realize that value.

Should I Bet the Over Again?

Maybe not this time. The weather conditions won’t be quite as favorable in the Bronx as they were at Target Field; according to Wednesday’s forecast, temperatures will be a shade cooler in the low-70s, with more humidity and 10-mph crosswinds from first to third instead of out to right-center.

We’re also looking at a Rays team that ranks No. 16 in hitting value (plus-7.3 WAR) at FanGraphs. That’s nine spots worse than Minnesota (plus-10.1 WAR), although the Yankees remain No. 1 at plus-13.0 WAR as we go to press.

The Rays also have a considerably better bullpen than the Twins, checking in at No. 10 (plus-1.7 WAR) at FanGraphs; Minnesota ranks near the bottom of the majors at No. 26 (plus-0.2 WAR).

Again, the Yankees still have the bullpen edge at No. 2 overall (plus-3.5 WAR), and that’s obviously great for the Under. But it’s one more reason to temper our enthusiasm with the Rays and bet smaller on the run line than we might have last week on the moneyline. It’s just the right thing to do.

MLB Pick: Rays +1.5 (-175) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Rays +1.5 (-175)
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MLB Pick: Over 7.5 (+100) at GTbets (visit our GTbets Review)

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Over 7.5 (+100)
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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.