The Tampa Bay Rays enter the 2023 campaign looking to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season. They are also hoping to make a deeper run than last year when they were eliminated in the AL Wild Card round in two games by Cleveland.
Tampa Bay boasts one of the best pitching staffs in the American League and only made it stronger by signing former Phillie Zach Eflin to a three-year deal in the offseason. A healthy Tyler Glasnow will also further bolster a stellar starting rotation.
The offense was the primary issue for the Rays last season, though, and the problems were highlighted in the postseason when they scored one run in two games. In Game Two, Tampa Bay did not score in 15 innings, in the longest scoreless postseason game in MLB history.
Normally thrifty in the offseason, the Rays did not bring an impact bat and will instead bank on healthy seasons from Wander Franco and Brandon Lowe to spark the offense. In 2022, Tampa Bay was 21st in MLB in runs scored and 25th in OPS.
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Rays Top Betting Odds 2023
Rays MLB betting odds are current as of Jan. 3 at 12 p.m. EST from Caesars Sportsbook.
• World Series Winners: (+2500)
• Win American League pennant: (+1100)
• Win AL East title: (+325)
• Win Total: Over 87.5 (-110) | Under 87.5 (-110)
The Rays rank 11th in World Series, 5th to win the American League pennant, and 3rd in AL East odds. Their projected season win total is the 11th-highest in MLB.
It is best to steer clear of targeting Tampa Bay to win the World Series (+2500) or the American League pennant (+1100). The Rays clearly lack the offensive firepower to expect a third World Series appearance.
But under Kevin Cash and with one of the top projected pitching staffs in the AL, the Rays are a value pick to win the AL East crown (+325) and they can certainly vault past the win total of 87.5. Cash has guided Tampa Bay to an average of 93 victories in the last four full MLB seasons.
2023 MLB Futures Odds
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Rays Futures Bets 2023
Below you’ll find the top Rays futures bets for the 2023 season.
Rays To Win American League East (+325) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
The Yankees and Blue Jays have impressive pitching rotations, but in terms of sheer quality depth, the Rays can rival any other contender. Shane McClanahan and Glasnow give Tampa Bay a pair of aces at the top, and there are myriad options after them.
Drew Rasmussen is coming off a breakthrough season in which he fashioned a 2.84 ERA with a 3.26 FIP. Jeffrey Springs was a revelation as a converted starter, as he averaged 9.5 K/9 with a 2.46 ERA.
Eflin can be a steady mid-rotation presence, we have also not seen the best yet from 23-year-old Luis Patino, and we have to watch the potential rise of top prospect Taj Bradley. The bullpen, which had the seventh-best ERA in MLB last season (3.36) is sturdy and remains mostly intact.
Tampa Bay cannot compete with New York and Toronto offensively, but the Rays have the arms to limit their bats in some key matchups and hang in the AL East race. Cash is always an artist of getting more than expected out of his ballclubs, as evidenced by him being the first skipper to win consecutive AL Manager of the Year Awards in the past two seasons.
Rays Win Over 87.5 Games (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 2 Units
This is a strongly recommended wager because of the Cash factor and the strength of the pitching rotation. While Tampa Bay’s offense is not comparable to the other divisional powers, it should be adequate enough to help the team sail past the projected win total.
A true breakthrough season from Franco can be expected after a hand injury cut heavily into his 2022 campaign, and he is capable of hitting near .290 with double figures in home runs and steals. Brandon Lowe, the projected cleanup hitter, was limited to 65 games last season mainly due to back issues, but he hit 39 home runs in 2021.
Leadoff man Yandy Diaz batted .296 with a /401 OBP last season, and Randy Arozarena hit 20 homers for the second consecutive season, along with a career-best 32 steals. Isaac Paredes was a pleasant surprise with 20 home runs in 331 at-bats.
The Rays’ top offensive prospect, Curtis Mead, a career .306 hitter in the minor leagues, can be another impact player. Tampa Bay does field a respectable lineup that will help ensure another 90-win season.
Rays Player Prop Bets 2023
Shane McClanahan to win American League Cy Young Award (+1200) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
McClanahan had a strong first half of 2022 that could be a preview to an award-winning 2023 campaign. After an impressive rookie year, he was 9-3 with a 1.71 ERA in the first half of ’21, and he started for the AL in the All-Star Game.
Injuries, including shoulder and back problems, contributed to McClanahan posting a 4.20 ERA in the second half while he only made it to 12 wins. A mostly or fully healthy season can put him in contention to become the third Rays pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.
For the second consecutive season, McClanahan averaged over 10 K/9, while he lowered his BB/9 to 2.06 from 2.70. He increased his changeup usage from 8.0 percent to 25.4 according to Baseball Savant, and opponents hit .145 against it while batting .139 against his curveball (.202 BAA in 2021).
McClanahan also became less hittable on his most-utilized pitch, as opponents hit .244 against his four-seam fastball after batting .308 against it in .2021. His opposing wOBA was .248, which was in the top 8 percent of the league.
A complete four-pitch hurler, McClanahan appears to be set for a full-on superb season in 2023.
Tyler Glasnow to lead AL In Strikeouts (+4000) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Glasnow returned from Tommy John surgery in late September of 2022, and if he can actually make it through an entire season in 2023, he will certainly be among the AL leaders in strikeouts. He had a 12.5 K/9 rate in 2021, and Glasnow struck out 91 batters in 57.1 innings pitched in 2020.
In 2021, Glasnow had the highest Whiff Rate on curveballs in MLB, at 55.6 percent, according to FantasyPros. He has never pitched more than 111.2 innings in a season, but if Glasnow can overcome innings expectations, this value wager could have a shot at paying off.
How to Bet Rays Moneylines
Moneyline bets are a simple way of wagering on MLB games. All you need to do is pick the winner of the game, and you’ll win your bet.
The odds are quite easy to understand, too. For example, if the Rays are a (-200) favorite, you would have to bet $20 to win $10. If they’re a (+200) underdog, you can win $20 off a $10 bet.
These odds will change every day depending upon the Rays’ matchup, so there’s always an opportunity for value every step of the way.
How to Bet Rays Run Line
Run Line betting is another common way to bet on MLB games, and you’re probably already familiar with it. You may know it as how much a team is “picked by" to win.
If the Rays are 1.5 run favorites over the Royals, the Run Line would look something like this: Rays -1.5 (-200) vs Royals +1.5 (+200).
In this scenario, the Rays would have to win by more than one run to cash your bet.
How to Bet Rays Over/Unders
If you’re unsure about the Rays’ moneyline or run line on a given day, you can still place a bet on the Over/Under — or total — in the matchup.
Sportsbooks will set a line for how many combined runs they project will be scored. From there, you can bet on the Over or Under.
For example, if you believe in the Rays’ offense and think it’ll be a high-scoring game, then you’ll want to take the Over. However, if it’s supposed to be more of a pitcher’s duel, you should go with the Under.