The Tampa Bay Rays and the Houston Astros will start their weekend series on Friday. Our Rays vs Astros prediction involves focusing on the starting pitching matchup and the recent winning/losing trends involving the two teams

The Astros appear to be underrated heading into this game. They are priced at -105 on the moneyline with bet365 sportsbook.

Rays vs Astros: Starting Pitching

The Rays will send out their ace, Shane McClanahan. He is the second favorite for the Cy Young Award for the American League at this point, priced at 5 to 1 behind Gerrit Cole (bet365). McClanahan is 11-1, has an ERA of 2.89, has a WHIP of 1.16, and he averaged better than a strikeout per inning pitched. He is also a left-handed pitcher. However, the Astros are 19-11 against the lefties, a very good winning rate.

Also, McClanahan has not been at his very best in recent starts. He has a history of recent injuries to his back, starting on June 22nd, 2023. Including his June 22nd start, he has given up 13 earned runs in just 16.2 innings pitched. His ERA in his last four starts is 7.02. He is fortunate not to have been tagged with a loss over that time frame. Despite his status as the second favorite for the AL’s Cy Young, bettors can feel comfortable opposing McClanahan.

The Astros will start Cristian Javier. He is 7-2 with a 4.32 ERA and a WHIP of 1.22. He isn’t a great pitcher to be getting behind right now either. Bettors can only feel good about backing Javier because of how lousy Tampa Bay’s offense has been lately. Since the All-Star break, the Rays are averaging just 2.78 runs per game on offense. They are just 2-7 overall during this stretch. Moreover, this slumping team has played poorly for about 5-6 weeks as noted in the chart below.

Tampa Bay Rays – Recent Form Alert

  • Formerly: 51 – 22 on June 17th, 2023
  • Currently: 62 – 43 (overall)
  • Recent form: 11 – 21 since June 17th, 2023
  • Recent winning rate: .344

Compare this form to the Astros’ form over a similar date range.

Houston Astros: Recent Form Alert

  • Formerly: 39 – 34 on June 20th, 2023
  • Currently: 58 – 45 (overall)
  • Recent form: 19 – 11 since June 20th, 2023
  • Recent winning rate: .633

Rays vs Astros prediction (July 28th, 2023)

There isn’t a huge edge in the pitching matchup. However, you have to bet on what the Astros have proven lately. Our recommendation is to take the Astros in this game at -105 on the moneyline. The start time for this game is 8:10 PM ET.