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Texas Rangers vs Tampa Bay Rays – April 16th

Well, when you are hot, you are hot, and we are hot! We backed the Texas Rangers last night against the Houston Astros as huge underdogs. The Astros were laying an absurd -340 as home favorites. I looked at the matchup and thought, hhhmmm maybe the Rangers could win this game and started looking at my options.

I made a strong case for taking the Rangers outright as I knew that long-term that was the value side to be on. But in the end, I saw that move as a little too high variance and decided to get creative instead and take the reverse run line. I was able to back the Rangers and get a run and a half and still get significant dog money at +140. Seemed like a great spot and I booked the action.

I mentioned in my pick that Big Sexy Bartolo Colon still had some gas left in the tank and that he had actually been very good so far this year. Well, not even I expected what he was able to do last night. Colon took a perfect game into the eighth inning! Against the defending World Series Champions, at forty-four years old no less! Colon ended up going seven and two thirds and gave up just one run on one hit, what a performance! The Astros starter, Justin Verlander, matched him nearly pitch for pitch and ended his day with eight innings in the books, allowing just one hit and one rum himself, and adding in eleven strikeouts.

The game went into extra innings, and the Rangers were able to sneak out of Houston with the win in extra frames, for the second straight game, and we cashed our ticket. I wish I had pulled the trigger on the money line bet as it paid a very nice price of +270, but what can you do, I decided to take what I thought was a great bet, the reverse run line instead, and still enjoyed a great payout. It just goes to show you that just because one team is a huge favorite doesn’t mean you don’t have a couple of different options to profitably bet on the game. Today I will stay right here with the Texas Rangers as they head to Tampa Bay for a series with the Rays.

The Texas Rangers are in Tampa Bay Monday night for game one of a three-game series with the Rays. The Rangers come into this series riding high as they just took two out of three games from their division rival Houston Astros. The Rays have lost four straight games and have the worst record in the American League. Starting for Texas is Martin Perez (1-1 11.88 ERA). For the Rays, it is Blake Snell (1-1 3.60 ERA). The Rays are -173 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Tropicana Field.

The Texas Rangers won the last two games, both times as huge underdogs. They are once again big underdogs here tonight. To be honest, it’s not hard to see why people have so little confidence in the Rangers right now. They aren’t hitting well nor are they pitching well. They have some key players out of the lineup, Elvis Andrus being the one that hurts the most, and aren’t playing all that well so far this season. But this team has no quit in them, we saw that the last two nights when they were able to win in extra innings on the road, against a very good Astros team.

The Rangers will turn to Martin Perez tonight on the mound. Perez has not been great this season. He was serviceable in his first start of the season against the Oakland Athletics and picked up the win, but then got rocked against the Angels in his next start. Perez gave up eight runs in just three innings against the Halos, and that explains his sky-high ERA of 11.88.

But if you look back at what Perez has been able to do the last several years you will see a guy that is much better than he is showing right now. He is good for double-digit wins with an ERA in the mid-four range. He isn’t a top of the rotation kind of guy, but he is solid number four in your rotation guy that is going to win his fair share of games. I expect the season will finish better than it has started for Perez.

Tampa Bay will counter with Blake Snell. Snell has been good twice, and terrible once in his three starts this season. The problem for Snell has been run support. In two of his three starts, a loss and a no-decision, the Rays scored a total of just two runs. This Tampa Bay offense just isn’t consistent enough right now to trust at all, even if Snell is solid, he will be hard to back.

Situationally this game has Rays written all over it. They are at home. They played an early game yesterday at home and didn’t have to travel. While the Rangers had back to back extra inning games that were very emotional and had to play the late game last night and travel today. I get it, this looks like an easy win for Tampa. But not so fast! This is Tampa Bay we are talking about here!

Coming into this season, I expected the Rays to be historically bad. And they have yet to disappoint as they are the worst team in the American League right now. And when you are historically bad, you find ways to lose the game you are supposed to win. Tampa is supposed to win tonight. But I was blown away that they were such huge favorites. This team has three wins, and two of those are against the White Sox that are using a Triple-A lineup. This team should not be this big of favorites against anybody.

Just like last night’s pick, this one is a little high variance. If I got to bet on this game a hundred times at this price, I would for sure show a profit. But this is baseball, and I only get one shot at it. So, maybe we lose it. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t on the right side. The Rays as -173 favorites is laughable, and they always seem to find a way to lose. So, I will take the Rangers again tonight and hope Tampa Bay does Tampa Bay things and blows this game. Give me the Texas Rangers as big road dogs tonight!

The Bet: Texas Rangers +164

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