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Top MLB Bet for May 24th

by May 24, 2019

There are some interesting moneyline plays to choose from on today’s slate. However, perhaps none more so than a battle between the second place teams in the AL East and AL Central. As expected two winning teams doing battle presents solid value as far as odds are concerned. This is especially true when both teams are fielding top pitchers. To side with a road team there needs to be a significant potential edge. This contest promises that and more, and as a result is our top play of the day.

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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Indians

Team Record Power Ranking Runs Scored Differential
Tampa Bay Rays 29-18 6 4.53 +62
Cleveland Indians 25-24 11 3.87 -1


Pitcher Record ERA WHIP
Blake Snell 3-4 3.31 1.00
Shane Bieber 3-2 3.22 1.01

The Tampa Bay Rays are set to do battle with the Cleveland Indians in an evening affair. The Rays are sitting pretty with a 29-18 record, and hold a healthy +62 run differential. They have scored a rock solid 4.53 runs per game. The Rays have turned it on as of late scoring 15 runs in their last two contests. They have won two straight games, both being of note. The Rays surprised by hammering the Dodgers 8-1 to split their road series. They followed that up with a seven-run explosion to win game one of this series. The Rays have been tremendous on the road where they hold a 16-7 record.

Cleveland sits at second place in the AL Central with a 25-24 record. They have continued their struggle to score runs, and still sit under four runs per game at 3.87. Due to a recent slide they now have a negative run differential. They have lost four straight games including a 7-2 loss in the series opener. Cleveland owns a 7-2 record against the AL East this season. That number can be a bit misleading however, as they beat up on the bottom dwellers, sweeping Toronto, and winning three of four against Baltimore. The Rays have been the team in better form.

The Rays will be sending ace Blake Snell to the mound. Cleveland will be countering with the electric Shane Bieber. Blake Snell holds a disappointing 3-4 record on the season. His peripherals are much better as he holds a 3.31 ERA and 1.00 WHIP. He has struck out 71 in 49 innings, and has struck out 30 in his last 17.2 innings. Snell was lights out against Cleveland last season. He won both of his starts against them, and posted a sparkling 2.88 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. Snell has been lights out at home this season, but still sports solid road marks. He is 1-1 through four starts, and holds solid ratios with a 3.86 ERA and 1.14 WHIP.

Shane Bieber has had a strong start to the season. He holds a 3-2 record through nine starts. He currently sports an exciting 3.22 ERA and 1.01 WHIP. Bieber was on fire in his last start striking out 15 batters in a complete game gem against the Baltimore Orioles. He has actually been better on the road this season, but has still been solid at home. He holds a 1-1 record through five starts with a 3.16 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Snell is the better pitcher, and has also been in better form.

Edge: Tampa Bay Rays

While the pitcher trends read as expected from two of the American League’s top pitchers, the team trends are more intriguing. The Rays have won 14 of their last 16 games against starters with a WHIP lower than 1.15. They have won seven of their last nine road games against teams with a winning home record, and are 21-7 in their last 28 game twos of a series. The Rays have won an impressive 16 of their last 21 games against the AL Central. Finally, they are 45-22 in their last 67 games against a right-handed starting pitcher.

Cleveland has won five of their last six games against teams with a winning percentage above .600. They are 9-2 in their last 11 games against the AL East. However they are winless in their last four home games. They have lost four of their last five game twos, Finally they have lost six of their last seven games against pitchers with a WHIP lower than 1.15. The Rays hold the edge in the team trends department.

As expected the Rays win more often than not when Blake Snell takes the mound. They have won all four of his last four road starts against teams with a winning record, and are also undefeated in his last four Friday starts. The Rays have won 20 of his last 27 starts against teams with a winning record. Finally, the Rays are 14-5 in his last 19 starts.

Cleveland has found a way to win in the majority of Shane Bieber’s recent starts. They are undefeated in his last four starts against the AL East, and are 12-5 in his last 17 starts overall. Cleveland has won four of his last five starts against teams with a winning record. They hold the same record in his last five home starts, as well as his last five Friday starts. Finally, they are 8-3 in his last 11 starts on four days rest. These two teams are pretty even in the pitcher trends arena. The Rays hold the trends edge due to team trends.

Edge: Tampa Bay Rays

In what is expected to at least start out as a pitching duel, the odds on this contest present value on both sides. Blake Snell is the superior pitcher here so the Rays are the -140 favorites despite playing on the road. The line has already started to move with the early action coming in on the Rays. Tampa Bay has won five of their last six meetings in Cleveland, and five of six against them overall.

Cleveland has continued to struggle to score runs and facing Blake Snell will not be doing them any favors in that department. They do have a chance to pull this one out in the late innings, but could be in for a tough night against the reigning AL Cy Young winner. While Cleveland cannot be counted out in any contest, especially one with Shane Bieber toeing the rubber, the Rays are still the lean here. They hold the edge in both form and trends and look like the superior play despite being on the road. Roll with the Rays as a one unit play or as the first team in a parlay with some weekend action.

Pick: Tampa Bay Rays

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Raju Byfield is a featured writer at BettingPros. Raju currently sits at 20-12-2 on the season. For more from Raju, check out his archive, and follow him @FantasyContext.