VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Bright Rays

Sand always was a possibility, but the best way to get buried last year was playing on the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Rays blew 15 games in the ninth inning or later. These memories are brought up in conjunction with sportsbooks beginning to release regular season baseball ‘over/under’ win totals.

Expect Tampa Bay’s win total to be in the range of 68-74 victories. Anything under 74 wins is a worthwhile investment.

Advertisement
Yes, I realize the Rays have finished last in the American League East nine of the past 10 years. I’m not saying they are even going to scare the Red Sox or Yankees.

But enough parts have been assembled where the Rays can do better than finish eight games below .500.

There’s a big bat at first, maybe the fastest outfield in baseball, a much upgraded bullpen and strong top of the rotation starters.

Tampa Bay has never had three starters the quality of Scott Kazmir, James Shields and newly acquired Matt Garza. We know how good Kazmir and Shields are. The Ray had a winning record in games started by Kazmir and Shields.

A key is Garza, the former No. 1 pitching prospect of the Minnesota Twins. He was 7-3 with a 3.13 ERA last year when not pitching in the hitting-friendly Metrodome.

The Rays may have had the worst bullpen in history last year. It can’t be worse this season. On the contrary, it looks much better. Troy Percival is the new closer after proving he was healthy last season while performing well for St. Louis.

Percival brings experience and credibility. He’s held opponents to a .186 career batting average. Al Reyes was miscast as a closer. He’s better as a setup man. Dan Wheeler, brought in from Houston, is a respectable setup man, too.

First baseman Carlos Pena finally lived up to his hype, slugging a team record 46 homers and driving in a Tampa-best 121 runs. He’ll have plenty of RBI opportunities with speedy Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and Akinori Iwamura hitting in front of him.

You would be hard-pressed to find a faster outfield trio than Crawford, who has more steals during the past four years than anyone else in the American League, Upton and Rocco Baldelli. Crawford has improved his batting average during each of his first six seasons. Those three are going to track down a lot of fly balls in the outfield.

The farm system is good. Catcher Dioner Navarro, who had the third-best slugging percentage of any catcher following the All-Star break, and third baseman Evan Longoria are excellent young talents.

I’m not a fan of manager Joe Maddon. Too many bizarre and short-sighted moves on his part. However, the ownership that took over three years ago has proven solid. There’s talent in the farm system. It has already started to blossom and could really become ripe in two-three years.

In the meantime, the Rays have improved enough to make a serious run at .500. That’s enough to cash on this prop.

  
HEADLINES
News: Season Win Total Update
Lawrence: September Pitchers Report
Lindor leads surging Indians over Angels
Sale reaches 300 Ks; Red Sox blank O's
Frazier's late HR lift Bucs past Brewers
Nats rally for 6 runs in 8th to top Braves
Rays end Cubs' 7-game winning streak
Gurriel helps Astros slip by White Sox
Altherr leads Phils past slumping Dodgers
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
MLB Pro Baseball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
MLB Hot Streaks
29-11 L40, 38-14 +2,216 Run
4-0 L4, 17-5 Streak, 14-3 G-Plays
4-1 Y'day, 9-1 L10 Guarantees
4-0 +501 G-Plays, 8-4 +597 Picks
6-3 +461 L9 GPlays, +3,197 Overall
4-0 +452 L2 Days, 3-0 L3 G-Plays
9-1, +824 MLB Win Streak
13-4 L17 G-Plays, 8-3 L11 Picks
4-0, +456 Record L2 Days
11-5, +634 Last 16 MLB G-Plays
3-1 Picks, 24-13 +1,122 G-Plays
3-1 L4 G-Plays, 6-2 +405 L8 Picks
11-5 L16 Over/Under Plays
7-3 L10 G-Plays, 10-5 L15 Picks
MLB Pro Baseball Expert Sports Picks - Minnesota Twins at Detroit Tigers
2017 MLB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Gary Bart + 3197
ASA + 1476
Stephen Nover + 1260
Underdog Leaders
Handicapper Money
Chip Chirimbes + 2430
Gary Bart + 1737
Vince Akins + 1677
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
NeiltheGreek + 1859
John Fisher + 646
Joe Williams + 533
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 813
Joe Nelson + 618
ASA + 533
Favorite Leaders
Handicapper Money
John Fisher + 926
Stephen Nover + 597
Scott Rickenbach + 553
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Dave Cokin + 1514
Stephen Nover + 1495
ASA + 1049
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership