Tuesday, October 20, 2020, Globe Life Park, Arlington, Texas, 8:09 p.m. ET
Rays at Dodgers Betting Preview: Rays (+145), Dodgers (-175)
Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are the dangerous underdogs in this series, as they possess a deep roster and strong pitching. Tampa Bay doesn’t have households names in the lineup but can plug nearly anyone off the bench into the contest without much of a drop-off.
The Rays seemingly have a new hero in every game, though postseason star Randy Arozarena has been the big breakout performer with seven homers in just 55 at-bats.
The Rays tabbed right-hander Tyler Glasnow for the Game 1 start. The power pitcher had 91 strikeouts in just 57 1/3 innings during the regular season. He is capable of dominating performances but also is prone to serving up the longball.
Glasnow is 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA and 25 strikeouts in four postseason starts, but also has allowed five homers in 19 1/3 innings. Glasnow might attempt to pitch around Los Angeles slugger Cody Bellinger (2-for-2 with two homers a walk head-to-head) whenever possible.
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has strong faith in his bullpen and has displayed that he will lift a starter at the first sign of trouble. Part of the reasoning is the club has a shed full of powerful arms, allowing the skipper to mix and match during high-leverage moments.
Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers will be dealing with more pressure since they haven’t won the World Series title since 1988 — the year of Kirk Gibson’s memorable homer against the Oakland Athletics’ Dennis Eckersley.
Los Angeles has a trio of big bats in Bellinger, Mookie Betts and Corey Seager (National League Championship Series MVP after hitting five homers) as it takes aim at the drought. The Dodgers hit 16 homers in the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves, so it is safe to say they like hitting at first-year Globe Life Park.
Left-hander Clayton Kershaw is the Game 1 starter, and there is no individual in this series who will come under more scrutiny. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner is just 11-12 all-time in the postseason, including a combined 1-2 mark and 5.40 ERA in recent World Series against the Houston Astros (2017) and Boston Red Sox (2018).
Kershaw is 2-1 with a 3.32 ERA in three starts this postseason, but manager Dave Roberts is quicker to go to the bullpen when Kershaw gets in a jam in the middle innings than he was in earlier seasons.
Los Angeles has an elite offensive group that can break open a close game quickly with homers. The Dodgers will rely on their power and hope their bullpen can match Tampa Bay’s strong group in the late innings.
World Series Betting Pick for Game 1: Rays at Dodgers Betting Pick for Game 1
So which Kershaw shows up for Game 1? Is it the power guy who can control the other team for seven or eight innings or the one who gets tired in the fifth or sixth inning? The left-hander’s postseason baggage is piling up.
The Rays will play their right-handed hitters and try to work deep in the count to elevate Kershaw’s pitch count. At some point, Tampa Bay will land that three-run inning that amounts to the Kershaw knockout punch.
Rays at Dodgers Betting Pick:
Rays 5, Dodgers 3
World Series Best Bet for Game 1: Rays at Dodgers Best Bet
The Dodgers are making themselves at home in Arlington and sending balls to all reaches of the ballpark. Until this series proves otherwise, the over will be the way to go.
Rays at Dodgers Best Bet: OVER 7.5 total runs (-106)
–Field Level Media