Red Sox vs. Rays MLB Best Bets for July 13

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Josh Winckowski #73 of the Boston Red Sox pitches during the third inning against the Cleveland Guardians. Nick Cammett/Getty Images/AFP

The Tampa Bay Rays have the pitching advantage for Wednesday’s game with the Boston Red Sox – but can they beat the MLB odds?

Boston Red Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays

Wednesday, July 13, 2022 – 07:10 PM EDT at Tropicana Field

Who Has the Edge on Wednesday?

Starting pitching just isn’t what it used to be. Before Moneyball came around and forced teams to smarten up, the starters were the undisputed focal point of baseball betting. They were expected to go deep into games; you still have to pitch at least six innings and give up three earned runs or fewer if you want to earn a “quality start” on the stat board.

Now it’s pretty rare to see anyone go six innings, quality or otherwise. But the starter is still the most important player on the field, and this Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Rays will have the pitching advantage when they host the Boston Red Sox in Game 2 of a three-game set at Tropicana Field.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the Rays are the right choice for your MLB picks. They’re -161 home faves at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review) as we go to press, up from -154 at the open; FiveThirtyEight project Tampa to win 61 percent of the time, for a “fair” moneyline of -156 using the ineffable BMR Odds Converter.

Sadly, that doesn’t give us any betting value on Boston either as +151 road dogs. And that 7-run total at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) is pretty tight, too. But maybe we can take that low, low total and use it to get a leg up on the run line – our third option for a basic “straight” bet.

Who’s Starting for the Red Sox?

Let’s begin with that pitching matchup. The Red Sox find themselves in a sticky situation with three of their regular starters on the injured list: Nathan Eovaldi (back), Michael Wacha (arm) and Rich Hill (knee). That leaves Boston needing a spot starter for Wednesday’s contest.

Enter Josh Winckowski (4.36 xFIP). He was a 15th-round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016, and bounced from there to the New York Mets organization before landing in Boston in February 2021. Winckowski finally made his MLB debut this past May, and has started six times thus far, leading the Sox to a 3-3 record with the Under at 4-2.

The Toledo native hasn’t pitched all that badly, either. Winckowski’s .320 BABIP allowed suggests he’s even got some room for positive regression, but there’s almost no gap between his xFIP and his 4.32 ERA, so then again, maybe not.

Is Shane McClanahan the Best Pitcher in Baseball?

Pretty close. McClanahan (1.98 xFIP) is doing his best Bob Gibson impersonation, leading the American League with 141 strikeouts and a 1.73 ERA – although he’s only third on ESPN’s AL Cy Young tracker. Can a guy this good be underrated? Yes, if he plays for Tampa Bay.

The difference between McClanahan and Winckowski is pretty big. FiveThirtyEight has McClanahan rated 62 Elo points higher, and a single run is worth somewhere around 75 Elo points in baseball, so the Red Sox are already behind the 8-ball heading into this matchup.

But maybe not as much as it appears at first blush. Again, pitchers don’t go six innings much these days, although McClanahan is a rare bird in that regard – he’s lasted at least six in each of his last 11 starts, without throwing more than 100 pitches in any of those appearances.

Having said that, Rays relievers did honk both of McClanahan’s last two no-decisions, leaving them at 11-6 on the season (Under 10-5-2) for a mere 1.44 units in profit. The Red Sox have the superior bullpen according to the WAR charts at FanGraphs, so maybe they can pick Winckowski up and keep this game close.

Is It Safe to Bet the Under at Tropicana Field?

Of course. This may be an indoor-only venue, but the Under is 22-19 at the Trop this year, including Tuesday’s 3-2 victory for the Rays (Under 7.5) as +102 home dogs.

Which brings us to our sports picks. There might not be any betting value on the moneyline, but the Red Sox are available at +1.5 (-150) on the MLB odds board at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review), and in a matchup with a total this low, there’s a higher chance that margin of victory will be exactly one run – just like Tuesday’s opener.

That’s where Boston might provide us some value. They’re 47-41 on the season, but 12-14 in games decided by one run. Not beyond the pale by any means, but it does suggest the Red Sox are slightly undervalued in this situation. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

MLB Pick: Red Sox +1.5 (-150) at BetOnline 

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Red Sox +1.5 (-150)
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MLB Pick: Under 7 (-113) at Heritage Sports 

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Under 7 (-113)
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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.