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2018 MLB Lines - Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Betting

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2018 Tampa Bay Rays MLB Baseball Odds

MLB Betting Odds and Lines

The Tampa Bay Rays stole the headlines early in Spring Training with several surprising moves including dealing away Jake Odorizzi and Steven Souza while designating Corey Dickerson for assignment before trading him, too.

The Rays were the epitome of average last year, winning 80-games. They made some moves to push towards the wild card last year and fell short. Over the offseason, Tampa Bay made moves to cut costs off what was already the lowest payroll in the sport.

It’s back to rebuilding for Tampa Bay. The team has no real expectations in the AL East, but could be a surprise team. They still have depth in the rotation, an athletic outfield and a few other interesting pieces.

Tampa Bay Rays MLB Betting

2017 Record: 80-82

2017 Moneyline Record: -6.50 Units

2017 Over/Under Total Record: 78-81-3

Current World Series Odds: +15500

Current Odds To Win AL: +7700

Current Odds To Win AL East: +2150

Regular Season Win Total: 74.5

2018 Tampa Bay Rays Season Outlook

The Rays have been a team built around its pitching. Even when finishing at or near the top of the AL East, Tampa Bay did so with a strong pitching staff and just enough offense.

In 2017, Tampa Bay got plenty of pop, ranking sixth in baseball with 228 home runs. While the homers were a nice change of pace, the Rays still finished with only 694 runs scored, the second fewest in the American League.

Much of the power from the 2017 club is gone as Tampa Bay is taking a new approach to try and score in 2018. They’ve dealt away Dickerson, Souza and Evan Longoria. They let Logan Morrison walk. Between those four, that’s 115 home runs out of the lineup.

Without Souza and Dickerson, that opens the outfield for Mallex Smith and the newly acquired Carlos Gomez. Gomez will hit for a bit of power, but both he and Smith add more speed to the mix. Denard Span will also factor into the outfield along with defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier.

On the dirt, the Rays go around the horn with C.J. Cron, Brad Miller, Adeiny Hechavarria and Matt Duffy. Again, defense looks improved. Cron lost his spot with the Angels after they added Shohei Ohtani and will get a chance to establish himself with the Rays.

Behind the plate, the Rays have veteran backstop Wilson Ramos who at 30 will be one of the elder statesmen along with Span and Gomez.

There’s no question the offense will take a step back in power. A healthy Miller could help add some thump. Gomez, Cron and Ramos could each hit 20, too, but the 30-40 homer bats are gone from the order meaning the speed of Smith, Kiermaier and Gomez will need to factor in manufacturing runs.

The added speed will also need to come into play on the defensive end in run prevention. The pitching has a better defense behind them in 2018 than in 2017 which could help Chris Archer and company.

Archer was just 10-12 with a 4.07 ERA in 2017, leaving him with a 101 ERA+. He’s the ace of the staff, but those numbers are close to what you’d expect from a mid-rotation arm. Some of that is luck and some defense behind him. He had a 3.40 FIP and 11.1 strikeouts per nine. His walk rate was reasonable, too, meaning he got unlucky on balls in play. With better defense, that luck should turn.

While Archer could improve, can the rotation itself improve? With Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi both gone, that could be difficult. The Rays will have to find their 322.2 innings somewhere else.

Tampa Bay is always developing more arms. Both Blake Snell and Jake Faria had some success last year. Both will be penciled into the 2018 rotation. Brett Honeywell, the team’s top prospect, was supposed to factor in, too, but will now miss all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery.

That leaves an opening for the likes of Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Andriese, and others to take the final spot.

As for the bullpen, Alex Colome remains the closer despite plenty of offseason trade speculation. Colome saved 47 games in 2017 and pitched to a 3.24 ERA. After him, Sergio Romo is back as a veteran presence. Daniel Hudson is one of the pieces the team got back for Dickerson and he’s got a nice live arm.

The Rays are one of the best teams at exceeding expectations and winning without the benefit of household names. They’re a development organization able to find useful pieces and exploit their talents.

In the end, this could be a team that surprises some people who are down on the club after their recent sell-offs, but they play in a tough division and are a considerable underdog with more than their share of questions, particularly on offense.

Major League Baseball Teams

AMERICAN LEAGUE
EAST TEAM CITY STADIUM
Baltimore Orioles Baltimore, Maryland Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Boston Red Sox Boston, Massachusetts Fenway Park
New York Yankees New York City, New York Yankee Stadium
Tampa Bay Rays St. Petersburg, Florida Tropicana Field
Toronto Blue Jays Toronto, Ontario Rogers Centre
CENTRAL Chicago White Sox Chicago, Illinois Guaranteed Rate Field
Cleveland Indians Cleveland, Ohio Progressive Field
Detroit Tigers Detroit, Michigan Comerica Park
Kansas City Royals Kansas City, Missouri Kauffman Stadium
Minnesota Twins Minneapolis, Minnesota Target Field
WEST Houston Astros Houston, Texas Minute Maid Park
Los Angeles Angels Anaheim, California Angel Stadium
Oakland Athletics Oakland, California Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum
Seattle Mariners Seattle, Washington Safeco Field
Texas Rangers Arlington, Texas Globe Life Park in Arlington
NATIONAL LEAGUE
EAST Atlanta Braves Atlanta, Georgia SunTrust Park
Miami Marlins Miami, Florida Marlins Park
New York Mets New York City, New York Citi Field
Philadelphia Phillies Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Citizens Bank Park
Washington Nationals Washington, D.C. Nationals Park
CENTRAL Chicago Cubs Chicago, Illinois Wrigley Field
Cincinnati Reds Cincinnati, Ohio Great American Ball Park
Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee, Wisconsin Miller Park
Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania PNC Park
St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis, Missouri Busch Stadium
WEST Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix, Arizona Chase Field
Colorado Rockies Denver, Colorado Coors Field
Los Angeles Dodgers Los Angeles, California Dodger Stadium
San Diego Padres San Diego, California Petco Park
San Francisco Giants San Francisco, California AT&T Park

Tampa Bay Rays Upcoming Schedule

March 29-April 1: vs Boston Red Sox

April 2-4: at New York Yankees

April 5-8: at Boston Red Sox

April 9-11: at Chicago White Sox

April 13-15: vs Philadelphia Phillies

April 16-18: vs Texas Rangers

April 20-23: vs Minnesota Twins

April 24-26: at Baltimore Orioles

April 27-29: at Boston Red Sox

April 30-May 3: at Detroit Tigers

Tampa Bay plays in a tough division and will have a real test as they start the season. Tampa Bay opens hosting the Red Sox and then will immediately take a road trip to New York and Boston, playing their first nine games against the favorites in the AL East.

From there, the schedule eases up for the Rays with series against the White Sox, Phillies, Rangers, Orioles and Tigers throughout April.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of their early season schedule is the number of games head-to-head against the Sox in April. They play Boston in three separate series, playing 10 games against them by April 29.

After a cost-cutting offseason depleted the team’s talent pool, the Rays will be more than challenged early. If, however, the team can get through the first nine contests at or around .500, they could have a solid first month, but that’s a lot to ask.

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