Tampa Bay (Romo) +122 at Seattle (Leake) O/U 8
Recommendation: Tampa Bay
The betting markets are having a hard time pricing the Tampa Bay Rays correctly these days, now that manager Kevin Cash has gone to Sergio Romo as his ‘opener’. Romo will be making his fifth start for Tampa – the first four coming in a nine day span in May -- but his longest stint was 1.1 innings.
The Rays braintrust have decided that opening with a reliever who can get righties out is the way to go right now, but the betting markets have no clear path to follow in games where the ‘starter’ doesn’t enter the game until the second inning. That offers value for bettors who can accurately assess Tampa’s chances for winning – teams that think outside the box in MLB often offer overlays for savvy gamblers.
Romo is taking his new role very seriously: "It's an opportunity to help my team out in a different situation, in a different inning, but with the same concept. The concept in our job is to get outs, regardless of the inning. It's fun that it's the beginning and I'm all for it. If they think I help the team out best doing this, OK, let's do it. If they think in another form or fashion, I'm in."
The Rays are playing good baseball of late, taking three out of four to open this West Coast swing at Oakland and six of their last eight overall. They’ve been significant profit producers on the highway all season: 17-14 on the road, despite playing sub .500 baseball at the Trop in Tampa. The Mariners just split a series at home with the last place Rangers, and they, too, have a better road record than they do at home. The optimal spot for betting profitability from BOTH of these teams is away from home.
Mariners starter Mike Leake has no strikeout pitch these days, notching only seven K’s in his last three starts combined. That’s bad news against a ‘contact’ lineup like that of the Rays. Behind him, the Seattle bullpen is anything but fresh after a rough series against the Rangers, leaving the door open for some late inning shenanigans should we need them. Take the Rays.