Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians AL Wild Card Game 1 Betting Preview

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cleveland Guardians AL Wild Card Game 1 Betting Preview

Cole Paganelli
2 years ago
3 min read
Cleveland Guardians' celebrate in the fifth inning against the Kansas City Royals

After an extremely impressive and surprising run in the 2022 regular season, the Cleveland Guardians are set to begin the playoffs. Cleveland will host the Tampa Bay Rays in the first round and Game 1 is set for Friday afternoon.

Tampa Bay is no stranger to the postseason, and they are also extremely comfortable being in the Wild Card position. The Rays won 86 games during the regular season to lock up the final AL Wild Card spot. 

Cleveland was not supposed to win the AL Central Division this season, but that is exactly what happened. The Guardians got red hot in the second half and took the division by winning 92 games on the year. 

The Guardians are the moneyline betting favorite in Game 1 at (-120), and the over/under is set at just 6.0 total runs. 

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Pitching Powering the Rays

The Tampa Bay Rays typically enter the postseason with a dominant pitching staff, and that is going to be the case yet again in this one. Tampa Bay had a team ERA of 3.41 during the regular season, and they aren’t afraid to use the entire staff to win a game.

Shane McClanahan will be on the mound for the Rays in Game 1, and he started the All-Star Game this season. McClanahan wasn’t as dominant in the second half, but he still finished the year with a 12-8 record to go along with a 2.54 ERA.

Tampa Bay is not a team with a ton of power, as they have belted just 139 home runs this season. The Rays do have Randy Arozarena, and he is known for being clutch in the playoffs. 

The Guardians are another team without a ton of power, as they hit just 127 home runs this season. Cleveland did finish the regular season with a .254 team batting average, and they know how to grind out some at-bats.

Jose Ramirez once again set the tone for the Guardians as he hit 29 home runs and drove in 126 RBIs. Ramirez is going to need some help in the playoffs, but he is going to set the tone for the Guardians. 

Shane Bieber has been chosen to start Game 1, and he is only a few years removed from a Cy Young Award. Bieber was 13-8 with a 2.88 ERA this season, and he will have to be sharp to match McClanahan in this one. 

Cleveland Rocks In Game 1

The fans in Cleveland know how to show up in the playoffs, and they will be ready to create a terrific home-field advantage in the series opener. This has all the makings of a very low-scoring game, and it could take one big swing of the bat to get it done.

Scoring runs off of McClanahan is never easy to do, but Bieber will be ready to match him with every pitch. Getting to host this game is a huge bonus for the Guardians, and they have to find a way to do some damage at the plate. 

Take the Guardians (-120) over the Rays on Friday afternoon as Cleveland begins the series by picking up a big win.

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