Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:49 AM

Game 1 Predictions & Odds: Rays vs. Dodgers

  • October 20, 2020
  • By Tom Wilkinson

World Series Game 1 Preview and Predictions

There were fears that a 60-game season would lead to an unworthy champion at the start of the abbreviated 2020 MLB season, but that won’t be the case.

The Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers each finished with the best record in their leagues, making this the first World Series with the best teams from the American League and National League since 2013.

The Dodgers are -200 favorites at BetMGM to win the World Series for the first time since 1988, but the Rays are looking to keep them waiting on that elusive seventh title in claiming their first in franchise history.

Betting Resources

World Series Schedule

  • Game 1 - Tuesday, Oct. 20
  • Game 2 - Wednesday, Oct. 21
  • Game 3 - Friday, Oct. 23
  • Game 4 - Saturday, Oct. 24
  • *Game 5 - Sunday, Oct. 25
  • *Game 6 - Tuesday, Oct. 27
  • *Game 7 - Wednesday, Oct. 28

Game 1 Betting Odds - Rays vs. Dodgers

Line Movements

  • Money-Line: Los Angeles Dodgers -170 / Tampa Bay Rays +160
  • Run-Line: Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (+120) / Tampa Bay Rays +1.5 (-140)
  • Total: 7.5 (Over -105, Under -115)
  • Updated Series Price: Los Angeles -200, Tampa Bay +175

Game 1 Pitching Analysis

Starting Pitchers

  • Tyler Glasnow
  • Clayton Kershaw

Tyler Glasnow will get the start for the Rays in Game 1. He has arguably been Tampa Bay’s best pitcher all season. During the regular season, he started 11 games and posted a 5-1 record with a 4.08 ERA and a 1.134 WHIP. His 14.3 K/9 was by far the highest of his career, but he had a little trouble with his control at times.

Glasnow saw a significant increase in his walks, posting a 3.5 BB/9, and he threw an MLB high seven wild pitches in just over 57 innings of work.

In the postseason, Glasnow has been solid but not spectacular. He was rocked by Houston in last year’s ALDS, but he put those demons behind him in 2020. Glasnow is 2-1 in four starts with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. His 11.6 K/9 is the highest of any starter on the Rays in these playoffs.

Clayton Kershaw is hoping that he can finally overcome his postseason demons and lead the Dodgers to a World Series crown.

The three-time Cy Young Award winner is arguably the best pitcher of this generation, but he has consistently come up short in October. Kershaw had another great regular season in 2020, finishing 6-2 in 10 starts with a 2.16 ERA and a miniscule 0.84 WHIP. However, he will be maligned once more if the Dodgers fail to win it all.

In 28 postseason starts, Kershaw is 11-12 with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.088 WHIP. His K/9 rate is nearly the same as it is in the regular season over his career, but he has given up the long ball twice as often on average.

We have seen Kershaw pitch well this postseason with a 2-1 record to go with a 3.32 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP, but he was rocked by Atlanta in his lone NLCS start.

Game 1 Bullpen Analysis

Rays have Choices

If there’s an area where Tampa Bay has an edge over Los Angeles, it’s in the bullpen. The Rays have a bevy of arms that manager Kevin Cash has trusted all season.

No Rays starter has gone deeper than the seventh inning this year, as Tampa Bay’s relievers combined to post a 3.37 ERA in the regular season.

Tampa Bay’s relievers are hard to get a read on because they all use different arm angles.

Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson, and Pete Fairbanks are the best of the bunch, and the Rays might use them all on Tuesday night.

The Rays have won 63 straight games when leading after seven innings, so keep that in the back of your head during live betting.

L.A. short-handed for Game 1

The Dodgers won’t have Julio Urias available after he threw three innings of perfect baseball in Game 7 against Atlanta on Sunday, but manager Dave Roberts will be able to use any other reliever he wants to bring to the mound.

Brusdar Graterol brings serious heat and made four appearances during the NLCS, while Kenley Jansen has been the long-time closer.


Blake Treinen and Joe Kelly could see some action too for the Dodgers in Game 1.

Players to Watch - Dodgers

Corey Seager was named the NLCS MVP after a fabulous series against the Braves. He hit five home runs in 30 plate appearances, posting a 1.230 OPS over the seven games. Seager raked against the Padres in the previous series too, and he has been the best hitter for the Dodgers this postseason. In 12 games, Seager has a .766 slugging percentage and he leads the team in OPS.

The 2019 NL MVP is starting to look like himself too. Cody Bellinger had a dismal regular season, but his bat has come alive in October. If you’re still stuck on batting average, you might not be impressed with his .250 BA, but he has a .365 OBP and is currently second on the team in OPS. Bellinger has played excellent defense too, robbing multiple hitters of home runs this postseason.

Mookie Betts’ first season in Los Angeles has gone very well for both Betts and the Dodgers. His .407 OBP is the second-highest on the team next to Max Muncy, and he nearly has as many walks (8) as strikeouts (9). Tampa Bay must be wary of his speed as the leadoff hitter too, as Roberts hasn’t been afraid to let him run.

Players to Watch - Rays

One of the biggest stories in these playoffs has been the emergence of Randy Arozarena.

Arozarena has been the Rays’ one reliable hitter throughout the postseason. He went from barely making the Opening Day roster to etching his name in franchise history over the last month, hitting seven home runs with a 1.288 OPS. His 21 hits are three more than anyone else this postseason, and one more base knock will lead to him tying Derek Jeter for the rookie record during a single playoffs.

The Rays do need their best hitter from the regular season to step up in a big way if they are going to knock off the Dodgers. Brandon Lowe’s bat has been virtually nonexistent over the last month. In 52 at-bats, Lowe is hitting just .115 with 18 strikeouts, and his paltry .366 OPS has led to some tough decisions for Cash. He continues to bat Lowe at the front of the order, but that might change if he continues his slump.

World Series Game 1 Predictions

There are only four Tampa Bay hitters with at least a .700 OPS in the playoffs, so the Rays are at a significant disadvantage in both Game 1 and the series. Kershaw will pitch well and get the job done for the Dodgers on Tuesday night.

  • Score Prediction: Los Angeles 4 Tampa Bay 2
  • Best Bet: Dodgers -175
  • Best Bet: Under 7.5 Runs

World Series Futures Best Bets

  • L.A. Dodgers -200
  • L.A. Dodgers to win series 4-1 +350

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