MLB Picks: Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cincinnati Reds

The Tampa Bay Rays (5-5) and Cincinnati Reds (3-6) will open up a MLB interleague series Friday night at the Great American Ball Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Cincinnati Reds 

The Tampa Bay Rays are 26-22 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 since 2012
The Tampa Bay Rays are 26-22 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 since 2012

Tampa Bay continues on its road trip after dropping two of three games in Kansas City, including a 7-3 setback as -113 favorites Wednesday, while going OVER the betting total of 8.5.  The Rays have dropped eight of nine all-time meetings with the Reds, including two of three at Tropicana Field during their last meeting in June 2011.  Tampa Bay is 26-22 on the road with a money line of -100 to -125 the last two-plus seasons, with the UNDER going 25-22 in that situation.

Rays starting pitcher David Price (1-0, 4.05 ERA) has led the team to victory in each of his first two outings, but he didn’t earn a decision in a 5-4 home win over the Texas Rangers last time out.  The left-hander has issued one walk and struck out 12 batters in 13.1 combined innings to start the season.  In his only career effort versus the Reds on June 28, 2011, Price tied a career-high 12 strikeouts.

Cincinnati has yet to win back-to-back games during the 2014 campaign, as it comes off a 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals as +128 road underdogs Wednesday, while going UNDER the betting total of 7.5.  The Reds are hoping that leadoff hitter Billy Hamilton can continue to grow in his first full year with the big club, but he’ll have a hard time stealing a base in this affair, considering an AL-high 20 runners were caught stealing with Price on the mound in 2012-13.  Cincinnati is 23-16 at home with a money line of -100 to -125 over the last two-plus seasons.

Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (0-1, 1.93 ERA) has received just three runs of support in his first two outings, as he didn’t earn a decision in a 6-3 road loss to the New York Mets last time out.  The right-hander has issued just four walks and 17 strikeouts in 14 combined innings thus far.  In 24 lifetime outings in April, Cueto has compiled a 7-5 record and 3.45 ERA.

Sports bettors will likely back the Rays due to their 5-1 mark in Price’s last six games as an underdog.

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