At first glance the July 11th Blue Jays at Rays contest looks like a betting trap. We’ve got Tampa Bay as +105 underdogs despite being at home, going for the series sweep, and having won six straight coming into Sunday’s tilt. Toronto is a -125 favorite despite losing 4 of 5.
Is Rich Hill (6-3, 3.65 ERA) on the bump that big of a disadvantage for Tampa Bay? The Blue Jays counter with Robbie Ray (6-4, 3.36 ERA) but the Rays are 7-3 in their last 10 home games vs. a LH starter. Oddsmakers are begging for a play on the Rays – do we oblige?
Toronto Ready for the Break
It’s been a tough 1st half of the season for Toronto, who has been forced to play a majority of their ‘home’ games in New York this season due to continuing COVID protocols in Canada. The Blue Jays play their final contest of the 1st half on Sunday, currently sitting 9 GB in the AL East.
The Blue Jays seem like they’re ready for a week off, having dropped 4 of 5 and being outscored 12-3 so far this weekend in St. Petersburg. The Toronto offense will have their work cut out for them against a Tampa Bay pitching staff that has allowed 2 runs or less in five of their last six games. Only three Toronto batters have ever faced Hill as well.
Charlie Montoyo’s best bet for Sunday may be to try and pull things out in a low scoring game, since his offense is in a bit of a funk. Robbie Ray will try to do his part, having allowed 2 ER or less in 5 of his last 7 starts. The left-hander has posted double digit strikeouts in three of his last six starts, and has a 2.70 ERA in three matchups with Tampa Bay this season.
Tampa Bay Closing Strong
The Rays have momentum heading into the all-star break and want to top that off with a 7th straight win to try and close on their 1.5 game gap of Boston in the division. TB is just 3-7 in their last 10 as a home underdog though, and something about Toronto being favored on the road does raise a red flag here.
It’s still hard not to like Tampa Bay in the July 11th Blue Jays at Rays matchup even though oddsmakers appear to be laying the bait. The Rays have won six straight, scoring 5+ runs in five of those while also allowing four total runs in their last four wins. Brandon Lowe has led the way offensively, with 4 HR and 8 RBI over his past four games, including two long balls in Saturday’s win.
Tampa Bay has managed just 6 runs in three starts vs. Ray this season though (20 IP) which means Hill may not get that much run support. The left-hander has given up 4+ ER in three of his last five starts, and managed to go just 3.1 IP against Cleveland last time out. The good news is that the Tampa Bay bullpen has a stretch of 18 scoreless innings going.
Free July 11th Blue Jays at Rays Pick
Tampa Bay has been getting things done as of late, but why are they an underdog at home in the midst of a 6-game win streak? Taking the side in this one is off limits, but with the way Ray has had success against Tampa Bay this season and the way the TB relievers are pitching we have to go on the side of a low scoring affair on Sunday.
Blue Jays 4 – Rays 3
Free Pick: Under 8.5