Red Sox vs. Rays ALDS Game 2 Betting Preview and Pick

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Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox. Mitchell Layton/Getty Images/AFP

The Tampa Bay Rays took Game 1 of the ALDS, but are they’re still the correct MLB pick for Friday’s rematch with the Boston Red Sox?

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Friday, October 8, 2021 – 7:02 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before here at the ranch, but I love it when a plan comes together. Game 1 of the American League Division Series went about as well as we could have hoped, with the Tampa Bay Rays blanking the Boston Red Sox 5-0 as –156 home favorites on the closing MLB lines. Shane McLanahan held Boston to five hits with no walks in five innings, and the outstanding Rays bullpen did the rest.

Stack ‘em, pack ‘em, and rack ‘em. Now let’s see if Tampa Bay still has enough value for Game 2 this Friday night. Once again, it took a while for the Red Sox to announce their starter; it’s going to be Chris Sale (3.69 FIP), who’s a pretty darned good pitcher, but believe it or not, he’s coming off his worst season since his first full year back in 2012. Maybe that will make the Rays the right choice as the –159 home faves on the MLB odds board with BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

This Is Not A Test Of Faith

Then again, maybe not. The Rays had their own decision to make: Whom to start after McClanahan? The gig went to Shane Baz (4.07 FIP), another of their rookie phenoms – this time a north paw, with a 97-mph fastball that sometimes touches 100 on the radar gun. Tampa Bay fleeced the Pittsburgh Pirates when they acquired both Baz and Tyler Glasnow (2.77 FIP), along with LF Austin Meadows (.772 OPS), in the 2018 trade for Chris Archer.

Baz was called up in late September and has made three starts in the majors; Tampa won all three, with Baz giving up just three earned runs in 14.1 innings of work. Is it real? This is a very small sample size to look at, but the peripheral stats for Baz (who was the “player to be named later” in that Archer deal) aren’t good. You have to like the 12.15 strikeouts per nine innings, but the 2.03 home runs are problematic, as are the abnormally low .120 BABIP and completely unsustainable 100 percent of runners stranded.

Starting Game 2 of the ALDS against the Red Sox is a tall task for such a raw talent. But with Glasnow recovering from Tommy John surgery, the Rays are low on options. Computers don’t have time for feel-good stories like Baz. They prefer Sale in this matchup by 31 Elo points, giving the Red Sox a 42-percent chance of winning Game 2 – that’s up from 35 percent in Game 1.

And according to the unwavering BMR Odds Converter, 42 percent works out to a fair money line of –138. That leaves us enough room to put the Red Sox in our MLB picks as +150 road dogs at YouWager. Just don’t call it the Zigzag Theory. That’s another sport for another day.

MLB Pick: Red Sox +150 with YouWager (visit our YouWager Review)

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Red Sox +150
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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.