Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Game 1 Pick

October 20, 8:09 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Rays +157/Dodgers -171
TB +1.5 (-130)/LAD -1.5 (+110)
7.5un -115

It wasn't supposed to happen this year, with a supposedly wide-open playoff tournament, but the two teams with the best records during the regular season meet in the World Series, which the Rays and Dodgers open Tuesday night on neutral turf in Arlington. LA is lined as a -195 favorite to win this series, but that might just make Tampa a tempting live dog at +165. How are we playing this World Series opener with today's free MLB pick?

MLB World Series Betting Odds

World Series Game 1 betting odds opened LA at around -170 over the Rays, with an over/under of eight runs. Early betting action then dipped the Dodgers about a nickel, to -165.

Los Angeles was also lined at around +135, giving the run and a half on the run line.

World Series Game 1 Rays vs. Dodgers Set-Up

Tampa Bay played 40-20 during the abbreviated regular season this year, posting the best record in the American League by four games. In the process, the Rays played over their wins over/under of 34.

Tampa then began this postseason by sweeping two games from Toronto in the wild-card round, then beat the Yankees in five games in a full divisional-round series. The Rays then outlasted Houston in the American League Championship Series four games to three, clinching the second pennant in franchise history with a 4-2 victory Saturday night.

So Tampa is 9-5 this MLB playoff season.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, played 43-17 this season, posting the best record in the National League by six games. In the process, the Dodgers played over their wins O/U of 38, which was the highest number on the board.

LA then began these playoffs sweeping two games from Milwaukee in the wild-card round, then swept three games from San Diego in the divisional round. The Dodgers then rallied from a three-games-to-one deficit to beat Atlanta in the National League Championship Series, clinching their third pennant in the last four years with a 4-3 victory Sunday night.

So Los Angeles is 9-3 this postseason.

These teams met most recently last season, splitting four games.

Game 1 Starting Arms

Lefty Kershaw is 8/13 on quality starts this season, 2/3 this postseason. Last Thursday, in Game 4 of the NLCS against Atlanta, he gave up four runs and seven hits through five innings of a 10-2 Los Angeles loss. And in three starts in these playoffs, Kershaw has allowed seven runs and 16 hits, including three home runs, through 19 innings, with two walks and 23 strikeouts.

On the season, the Dodgers are 10-3 with Kershaw, 2-1 this postseason.

In his most recent start against Tampa Bay, in May of last season, Kershaw held the Rays to two runs through 6 1/3 innings, with one walk and eight whiffs, in a 7-3 Los Angeles victory.

Glasnow is 4/15 on quality starts this year, one-for-four this postseason. Last Wednesday, in Game 4 of the ALCS against the Astros, he gave up four runs and eight hits, including two homers, through six innings of a 4-3 Tampa loss. And in four starts this postseason, Glasnow has allowed ten runs and 17 hits, including six homers, through 19 1/3 innings, with eight walks and 25 strikeouts.

Tampa is 12-3 with Glasnow this season, 3-1 this postseason.

This will be Glasnow's first-ever start against the Dodgers.

Game 1 Batting Splits

Tampa batted .237 this season against left-handed pitching, with a .339 team OBP and a .455 team slugging percentage. The Rays also led the Majors in striking out, at 10.1 whiffs per game. Tampa has also scored a total of 28 runs over its last nine games in these playoffs, not once scoring more than five in a game over that span.

Los Angeles batted .259/.338/.498 vs. right-handed pitching this season. The Dodgers also led the Majors in homers with 118, and they've scored at least five runs six times over their last ten games.

The Bullpens

The Rays bullpen posted a 3.37 ERA this season, along with a 1.19 WHIP and a 3.02 K/BB ratio. Numbers like those helped this unit rank among the top three bullpens in Baseball this year.

The Los Angeles bullpen put up a 2.74 ERA this season, along with an ML-best 1.04 WHIP and a 3.34 K/BB ratio. Numbers like those helped this unit rank as the best bullpen in Baseball.

MLB Betting Trends

  • Tampa Bay played 9-8 against left-handed starters this season.
  • Los Angeles played 30-12 vs. right-handed starters this season, the 2nd-best mark in the Majors in that split.
  • Tampa Bay played 10-5 this season as an underdog on the MLB betting line.

Totals Report

  • Unders are 9-5 in Rays games this postseason.
  • Totals are split 6-6 in Dodgers games this postseason.
  • Totals split 14-14 at Globe Life Field during the regular season, while the overs are 6-4 at GLF this postseason.

Rays vs. Dodgers Game 1 Prediction

We give the Dodgers slight edges in all three of our main baseball handicapping factors - the pitching match-up, the bullpen comparison, and the splits with the sticks. Plus, LA rides some nice momentum into this World Series, having just rallied from down 3-1 in the NLCS, winning the last three games. So we like the Dodgers to take Game 1 Tuesday night, and we'll chase a better price and play LA against the run line.
Free Pick: 
Take rthe Dodgers -1.5 (+110)