Money Line: -142.00 Tampa Bay (Away)
As we have mentioned in the write-up for each of our first three premium MLB plays in the ALCS (all 3 winners on Tampa Bay): the Rays were the better road team in the regular season and these games are being played at a neutral location and that certainly favors Tampa Bay. In the regular season, the Rays went 20-11 away from Tampa Bay. As for the Astros, they went 9-23 away from Minute Maid Park. The Yankees were the only other team still in the post-season last round that had a losing road record in the regular season and Tampa Bay dispatched them in 5 games. We like the Rays to now exact some revenge against the Astros team that eliminated them from the playoffs in last year's post-season. Though Tampa Bay failed to pull off the sweep (fell just short by a 4-3 count in yesterday's Game 4), they still have been the better team overall in this series. The Rays have made exceptional plays in the field (Astros, on the other hand, have had issues defensively) and Tampa Bay also has been solid at the plate in this post-season. That has been a big difference with the 2020 version of TB is that they are such a much better hitting team. No matter what starting pitchers get announced for this game keep in mind that the bullpens are likely to be heavily involved. In fact, both teams could approach this as a "bullpen game" using their best arms available even if only for an inning or two at a time. That is why we're comfortable releasing this play with "ACTION" on the starting pitchers because it is going to be a "team pitching effort" for both clubs in this one. That said, in terms of the Rays solid pitching overall (including superb bullpen) they have allowed an average of only 2.3 runs per game in their 8 post-season victories. They have the bullpen edge in this match-up and our computer math model predicts another solid win for them in this one as they advance to the World Series. Bet the Tampa Bay Rays on the money line Thursday.