Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays Game 2 Odds & Predictions

October 12, 4:07 PM EDT

Betting Odds

HOU +128 / TB -138
8ov -115

After taking the opener of this American League Championship Series Sunday night, the Rays shoot for a 2-0 lead when the teams meet again Monday afternoon on neutral turf in San Diego. Tampa posted the best record in the American League this season and began this ALCS as a -150 favorite to win it. Houston, on the other hand, couldn't even play .500 ball this year but finds itself four wins away from the World Series. How are we playing Game 2 with our free MLB pick?

MLB Betting Odds

Game 2's MLB betting odds opened Tampa Bay at around -135 over Houston, with an over/under of eight runs. Both those figures were holding steady in the early betting action.

The Rays could also be found getting around +140, giving the run and a half on the Game 2 run line.

Astros vs. Rays Set-Up

Tampa Bay is the home team for the first two games of this ALCS, based on the better regular-season records, 40-20 to 29-31.

The Rays grabbed Game 1 of this ALCS Sunday night 2-1. Tampa spotted Houston the first run of the game in the top of the first inning, then tied the game with a run in the bottom of the fourth and took the lead for good with another run in the fifth. The Rays' bullpen then closed things out from there with four scoreless innings to preserve the victory.

Tampa won Game 1 as a -130 favorite on the MLB betting odds, and the game played under a total of eight runs.

The Rays opened this postseason by sweeping two games from Toronto in the wild-card round, then outlasted the Yankees in five games in the ALDS.

The Astros opened their postseason by sweeping two games in Minnesota in the wild-card round and then beating Oakland in four games in the ALDS.

These two teams did not meet during the regular season.

Game 2's Starting Arms

Morton is a "perfect" 0/10 on quality starts this season, never pitching more than five innings in any outing. Last Wednesday, in the ALDS against the Yankees, he allowed two runs – one earned – and four hits through five innings, with two walks and six strikeouts, in an 8-4 Tampa victory. But over his last five starts, he's given up 11 ER and 26 hits through 24 1/3 innings.

On the season, the Rays are 6-4 with Morton, 3-0 over his last three starts.

In three starts against Houston last year, including one in the playoffs, Morton allowed nine runs and 13 hits through 14 innings, with six walks and 21 whiffs. Tampa won two of those three games.

McCullers is 5/12 on quality starts this year, and two for his last four. Last Monday, in the ALDS against Oakland, he got batted around for five runs – four earned – and eight hits, including three home runs, through just four innings, although the Astros won that game 10-5. But over his three starts previous to that, he allowed four runs – zero earned – and just seven hits through 17 2/3 innings, with four walks and 24 strikeouts.

On the season, Houston is 6-6 with McCullers, and while the Astros are only 1-4 over his last five starts, that's not all his fault.

In his most recent start against Tampa Bay, back in 2018, McCullers threw seven scoreless innings in a 1-0 Houston victory.

Game 2's Batting Splits

The Astros batted .244 against right-handed pitching this season, with a .318 team OBP and a .410 team slugging percentage.

The Rays batted .238/.324/.415 against RH pitching this season.

The Bullpens

The Houston bullpen posted a 4.39 ERA this season, along with a 1.52 WHIP and a 1.91 K/BB ratio. Numbers like those "helped" this unit rank among the bottom half-dozen or so bullpens in Baseball this season.

The Tampa pen put up a 3.37 ERA this season, along with a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.02 K/BB ratio. Numbers like those help this unit rank among the top three bullpens in Baseball this year.

MLB Betting Trends

  • Houston played 17-21 against right-handed starters this season.
  • Tampa played an ML-best 31-12 against RH starters this season.
  • Houston played 3-14 as an underdog this season.

Totals Report

  • Overs played 29-28 in Astros games this season.
  • Unders played 30-27 in Rays games this season.
  • Totals played 13-13 in games played at Petco Park this season.

Houston at Tampa Bay Game 2 Prediction

We're calling both the pitching match-up and the splits with the sticks a wash. Tampa Bay owns a fairly solid advantage in the comparison of the bullpens, but it's not enough to warrant a price like -135. We won't be surprised if this ALCS goes six or seven games, so we like the baseball betting value with Houston for this Game 2.
Free Pick: 
Take the Astros + 118