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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox - 3/29/18 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction

Boston Red Sox (0-0) at Tampa Bay Rays (0-0)

MLB Baseball: Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 3:33 pm (Tropicana Field)

C Sale (0-0) (0.00) vs. C Archer (0-0) (0.00)

The Line: Tampa Bay Rays +150 / Boston Red Sox -160 --- Over/Under: 7 See the Latest Odds

TV: NESN, SUN

The Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays meet Thursday in MLB action at the Tropicana Field.

The Boston Red Sox are expected to give the New York Yankees a run for their money in the AL East, as they bring the band back together and added pop to their lineup in J.D. Martinez. The Red Sox were a balanced team last season but struggled to put quick runs on the board, and having Martinez in the middle of the order certainly takes pressure off Hanley Ramirez and Xander Bogaerts to do all of the heavy lifting. The Boston Red Sox also keep their starting pitching rotation intact, but the health of David Price will certainly go a long way. The Red Sox will be a fun watch, as they hope to make the playoffs for the third straight year for the first time since 2007-09. Chris Sale gets the ball, and he was 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and 308 strikeouts last season. Sale is 8-5 with a 3.29 ERA and 143 strikeouts in his career against the Rays.

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Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox - 3/29/18 MLB Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays haven’t made the playoffs since 2013, and they enter this season with lowered expectations. The Rays say goodbye to the best player in franchise history in Evan Longoria, and they have four new everyday players in Denard Span, Carlos Gomez, CJ Cron and Joey Wendle. A lot of the pop is gone from this Tampa Bay lineup, but the Rays should be much better defensively, which could go a long way when playing in a division that’s downright loaded with scary offenses. There’s also limited pitching options for the Rays behind Chris Archer, and you have to wonder if he’s on the trading block as well if things continue to go south. The Tampa Bay Rays have not gone five years without making the playoffs since 2003-07. Archer gets the ball, and he was 10-12 with a 4.07 ERA and 249 strikeouts last season. Archer is 2-12 with a 5.45 ERA and 117 strikeouts in his career against the Red Sox.

The Red Sox are 6-2 in their last 8 road games, 7-3 in Sales last 10 road starts and 19-9 in Sales last 28 starts. The Rays are 4-0 in their last 4 vs. American League East, 0-4 in their last 4 games following an off day and 1-5 in Archers last 6 starts. The Red Sox are 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Tampa Bay, 6-2 in the last 8 meetings and the Rays are 3-11 in Archers last 14 starts vs. Red Sox.

I'm all for taking shots with underdogs in a sport like baseball where you can take tons of chances, lose lots of bets and still make a major profit. However, the Rays lineup isn't good and Archer wasn't Archer last season. Tampa Bay's ace struggled last season and won't get much run support this season. Sale is usually lights out in the first half of the season and had an ERA of 2.71 with 191 strikeouts in 126 innings on the road last year. The Red Sox also beat up on Tampa Bay pretty good last season, and Archer's career numbers against Boston aren't good to say the least. I'll eat the juice with the better team and more consistent pitcher.

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