yankees rays game 1 odds picks prediction
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays meet once again with their seasons on the line starting Monday night. We’ve got your best bets.

This Yankees vs. Rays betting preview will include odds, picks, and predictions for Game 1 of the ALDS.

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays do not like each other. Since the CC Sabathia “That’s for you, b*tch” incident in 2018, these teams have made it abundantly clear that every game is going to be a battle.

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Well now, the Yankees and Rays are meeting in the playoffs. Each with a chance to send their most hated rival home for the rest of 2020. Everybody is going to be amped up, so here’s our betting preview for game one.

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Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Here are the current odds for game one of the ALDS.

 

Yankees vs. Rays Betting Preview

The Yankees and the Rays have seen plenty of each other in 2020. So far, the Rays have held a distinct advantage. But postseason baseball is a completely different animal.

Note: Be sure to check out our Yankees-Rays odds page.

Aces Squaring Off In Game One

Gerrit Cole and Blake Snell will get the ball for their respective teams in game one and what a matchup that is. Cole got off to a slow start in 2020, but in the month of September. He gave up only three earned runs in 27 innings of work. He kept that success rolling against the Cleveland Indians in the wild card round, allowing two earned runs over seven innings while punching out 13 batters. He’s hit his stride at the perfect time.

Unfortunately, against the Rays this year Cole has allowed nine earned runs in 16.1 innings. Part of those struggles may have come along with finding his stride, as all three starts came in August. But it’s possible the Rays just have his number. Ji-Man Choi certainly has. But he’ll have those bad starts in his mind as motivation in the start that will set the series tone.

Blake Snell, on the other hand, gave up 8 runs in 21.1 innings in September. Notably, he hasn’t been able to work deep into a game all year. 5.2 innings is the most he’s thrown in a single start and against a team that can wear a pitcher down like the Yankees, we may see the Rays turn to the bullpen early.

Now while the Rays have one of the better bullpens in baseball, there are no days off in this series. If the Rays have to unload the pen in game one, that’s going to give the Yankees a huge advantage going forward. Snell only pitched against the Yankees twice this year, one start going three scoreless and the other going five and giving up three earned. So the Yankees know that they can get to Snell and if they don’t, they know they can get to the middle relievers early in game one.

Neutral Ground Negates the Tropicana Field Effect

The Yankees have always had a hard time winning at Tropicana Field. The turf field and poorly designed roof make it a very difficult place to play for a team accustomed to playing on a real field. If this series was being played in Tampa, I’d feel really badly about the Yankees’ chances.

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the rest of the playoffs will be played in bubble cities. This series in particular will be played at Petco Park in San Diego. This completely negates the advantage that the Rays would have as the top seed in the American League. Essentially, their first place finish in the AL now just means that they’ll hit second in these games.

These Aren’t the Same Yankees As A Few Weeks Ago

The Rays absolutely ran the table against the Yankees this year. There’s no questioning that. They went 8-2 against the Yankees this year.

But these aren’t the same Yankees.

I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but the New York Yankees are actually healthy. For the first time all year, it seems like the Yankees are playing their roster as it was built to be played. The Rays have not seen that yet.

So essentially, this is the first time these two offenses have matched up in 2020. It’s only natural to predict that the Yankees offense will be more effective than it has been to this point. Gerrit Cole found his stride and Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are back in the lineup together.

Yankees vs. Rays Game 1 Prediction

This game will set the tone for the series and against a lefty, the Yankees biggest bats should thrive behind a dominant Gerrit Cole. I expect them to win this game and put themselves in the driver’s seat for the rest of the series.

Yankees vs. Rays Pick

I’d take the Yankees moneyline in this game. The spread at -1.5 is interesting but Blake Snell is too good of a pitcher to get blown out on this stage. I’d also take the under on 7.0 runs with two aces on the mound, Cole being able to work deep into the game before turning it over to Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman and Snell being able to keep the game in check before a dominant Rays bullpen takes over.

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