New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays – MLS, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020 6:01 am PDT

Most of the divisional series went by rather quickly, with three of four ending in four or fewer games on Thursday. The baseball gods saved the best for last, however, with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays facing off for a winner-take-all game five.

New York struck first in this series, dropping nine runs in game one. Tampa Bay responded with two clutch wins to go up 2-1, and the Yanks answered back last night with a clutch 5-1 win.

It all comes down to this game, where Gerrit Cole (7-3, 2.84 ERA) hopes to do what he was brought here for. On the other side is Tyler Glasnow (5-1, 4.08 ERA), who has a tougher test in trying to silence a loaded Yankees team.

Who will win, and how should you bet on this game? Check out our Yankees vs. Rays betting pick and prediction to find out.

Yankees vs. Rays Odds

Yankees -1.5 +105
Rays +1.5 -125
Yankees to Win -155
Rays to Win +143
Over 7.5 -102
Under 7.5 -118

The top MLB sportsbooks peg the Yankees as the favorite. They were down 2-1 just a day again and facing elimination – and Tampa Bay had a significantly better record during the regular season – but New York still enters as the team to beat.

I understand why, as the Yanks were my preseason favorite to win the World Series. You can probably already guess where this Yankees vs. Rays betting preview is headed.

That said, the Yankees are at full strength now. That couldn’t be said for much of the regular season, but they have all of their power bats, and a dialed in Gerrit Cole.

Neither of those things are ideal for Tampa Bay in a game five situation.

New York makes total sense as the favorite here, but the good news is the value looks pretty good on both sides. You’ll just need to decide who you like, and whether you prefer the moneyline or point spread.

The other main bet you can target is the game total, which feels a bit high when you consider the elite pitching taking the mound. With so much at stake – and both of these guys so sharp in the postseason so far – it could make sense to lean toward the Under.

Yankees vs. Rays Matchup Preview

There isn’t much to exploit in this matchup. Gerrit Cole gives up some hard contact at times (2 homers in his previous start in this series), but the Rays strikeout a lot (26% vs. right-handed pitching), and Cole is an artist on the mound.

Cole gave up three runs in his last start, but he also missed eight bats. He fanned 13 in his previous outing in the playoffs, too. I expect Cole to be at his best in this one, beyond maybe Ji-Man Choi continuing his insane mental hold over Cole.

It is worth noting that Cole is a bit vulnerable to lefty power in general, of course. If he gets tagged early and unravels, the Rays do have guys like Brandon Lowe and Austin Meadows leading the charge from the left side of the plate.

Glasnow has the ability to match Cole. He’s not quite as dominant and is probably a bit easier to get to, seeing as his vulnerability is power and fly balls from the right side.

When going up against a stacked Yankees offense that features eight right-handed hitters capable of launching one into the stands, a disaster could be coming.

I still think Glasnow navigates this game fine, but if you’re betting on just the starting pitchers, Cole has the edge, and you’d favor the Yankees bats.

Both of these guys may pitch as deep as makes sense, but both bullpens are very strong. New York’s does get the edge here.

Yankees vs. Rays Prediction and Pick

I can’t say I’m not worried about Cole’s power issues on the left side, as the Rays have grown familiar with him and have tagged him a bit the last couple of times they saw him.

But this is Gerrit Cole we’re talking about. He’ll give up a dong or two, but they’ll likely be of the solo variety, as he isn’t going to rack up walks or get eaten alive with hits.

Neither will Glasnow (probably), so while this isn’t the easiest spot for either side, I think the strikeouts are there. In such a tense situation, we’re almost certainly headed for a pitching duel.

Ultimately, the Yanks win out.

They’ve got the better pitcher, Cole can probably go longer, and their offense has the better matchup. Both sides could take advantage of the matchup, but New York simply has more viable bats that could get to Glasnow.

This should be a low-scoring game that goes down to the wire, but I think the Yanks go into the late innings with a lead and their elite bullpen holds on for the win.

  • Yankees to Win
Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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