Yankees vs Rays – MLB Pick for September 12th

by Kevin Roberts
on September 12, 2017

After a light 8-game MLB betting slate to start the week on Monday, things are back into high gear with a full schedule on Tuesday. One of the more enticing games figures to be an AL East clash between the New York Yankees (78-65) and Tampa Bay Rays (71-74).

Normally there would be a little hesitance with the Yanks on the road, but due to Hurricane Irma, this series actually shifts to Citi Field, which feels more like a home game for the Yankees. Tampa Bay has already been struggling (4-6 over their last 10 games) and are 35-39 on the road, so bettors may have to think twice before chasing their value.

The Rays do offer a nice +128 line at Bovada, but the Yanks have gone 40-27 at Yankee Stadium and won’t be far from home. New York has shined in this series in general, too, as they won game one of this series last night and are a strong 9-5 against Tampa on the year.

New York is the obvious favorite at -148, as they’ve now won three straight and are just three games outside of first place in the division. They will look to get their fourth consecutive win and keep the pressure on the Boston Red Sox.

Does that mean we can trust them as one of the top MLB bets tonight? Let’s break this matchup down further to find out:

New York Yankees (-148)
Tampa Bay Rays (+128)
Total: 8

First off, we get a pretty nice Total here. The Rays strike out a lot and they lose a little steam now that they’re not playing at home, but they do sport a ton of power. Ditto for the Yanks, so even though Citi Field isn’t great for the long ball, this feels like a Total we can easily target.

The only reason we wouldn’t want to chase the Over here is Sonny Gray (9-9, 3.22 ERA), who has been rather stellar since being acquired in a trade with the Oakland Athletics. The 27-year old righty has been quite stingy with the Yanks, allowing more than 2 runs in a game just once in his first 7 runs with New York.

Gray isn’t immune to power (he gave up 3 homers two starts ago), but he’s generally kept the ball in the park and should be protected by a solid stadium in this one. Gray’s recent form has been flat out fantastic, overall, while he fared just fine in two previous starts (1-0, 2.92 ERA) against these very Rays.

Tampa Bay does have a shot here based on splits, as they do provide solid power and are at their best against right-handed pitching (4th in HR). Still, they’re not as dialed in on the road and they’re also not very efficient.

The Rays don’t earn our confidence on the other side, as Blake Snell (3-6, 4.36 ERA) could be in trouble against a talented (and surging) Yankees lineup. It’s true that New York can struggle against southpaws, but the Yanks still boast three mashers in Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Matt Holliday that can crush lefties, while Snell has struggled slightly more on the road than at home.

I don’t see Snell carving up the Yankees tonight, but he does aid the argument for betting on the Under. Snell has kept it together just fine (0-0, 2.72 ERA) in two starts versus the Yanks and had been sporting solid form before getting shelled (6 runs) in his last start.

The Under is probably the play with the Total, but I don’t particularly trust Snell or the Rays in this spot. New York has a ton on the line still and they’ve handled the Rays fairly well all year long. The matchup with a southpaw could be troubling for New York’s bats, but they have enough power against lefties to keep bettors from feeling too sheepish here.

Ultimately, the Yanks look like the pick here and I don’t mind aiming high with their -1.5 Run Line, either. Run Lines can be tricky, though, and rivalry games are often tighter than we sometimes expect. I’ll just roll with the Yanks straight up tonight and take the easy money.

Pick: New York Yankees to Win (-148)
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