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Rangers vs. Rays 2023 MLB Wild Card Game 1 Odds and Preview

By Hank Blaine

The first game of the 2023 MLB playoffs is Tuesday afternoon from Florida as the Texas Rangers visit the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 1 of their American League Wild-Card Series. The Rays are solid favorites behind Tyler Glasnow.

Nitrobetting checks out the game in this preview. Get a complete look at the game information, team and player statistics, and the latest MLB odds. We also deliver timely betting trends and predictions that help you secure the best picks.

Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays 2023 MLB Wild Card Game 1 Information

  • When: Tuesday, October 3, 2023, 3:08 PM ET
  • Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, FL
  • TV: ABC
  • Radio: 105.3 The Fan (Rangers) // WDAE 95.3 FM (Rays)
  • Live Stream: MLB.tv
  • MLB Odds: Rangers (+135) // Rays (-145)

READ MORE: Rangers vs. Rays 2023 MLB Wild Card Game 2 Odds and Preview

Why bet on the Texas Rangers?

Texas was in control of the AL West entering the final weekend of the season but collapsed in Seattle and ended up losing it to Houston as the Rangers, in the postseason for the first time since 2016, as the last AL wild card team. The last time the Rangers were in the postseason, José Leclerc and the recently recalled Matt Bush were the only players on that roster who are still on the team. Tampa Bay is the top wild card club and a playoff regular. Texas went 4-2 against Tampa Bay this season, though it lost two of three at the Trop in June.

Technically, a player isn’t allowed to play during the postseason unless he is on his team’s 40-man roster by Aug. 31. But MLB’s rules include a slight loophole that will allow the Rangers’ Evan Carter to participate because he was in the organization all season long. The team’s top prospect will be eligible for the postseason, despite not making his MLB debut until Sept. 8, when he replaced the injured Brad Miller on the 40-man roster. The rookie has been a vital part of the Rangers’ success down the stretch, slashing .306/.413/.645 (1.058 OPS) over his first 23 big league games, playing mainly in left field.

Texas has the best lineup in the AL this year led by second baseman and leadoff hitter Marcus Semien. Semien played all 162 games, led the AL with 185 hits and 122 runs scored, and also chipped in 29 home runs (including an AL-high 10 leadoff homers), 14 stolen bases and 100 RBIs. Semien will get some MVP votes as will shortstop Corey Seager. His career year ended with him boasting a .327 batting average (second in the AL), .623 slugging percentage (second), 1.013 OPS (second), 33 home runs (tied for fifth), 42 doubles (first), and 96 RBIs (tied for 10th).

Texas was the only team in the AL that scored more runs and posted a higher team OPS than the Rays.

Why bet on the Tampa Bay Rays?

Tampa Bay is back in the playoffs despite losing a few top starting pitchers to season-ending injuries and star shortstop Wander Franco sidelined due to some legal troubles. Tampa Bay finished the regular season one win shy of matching the franchise record set by the 100-win club in 2021. The Rays set single -season franchise records for most runs scored (860, surpassing the mark of 857 set in ‘21) and most home runs (230, besting the 2017 team’s 228). Yandy Diaz won the AL batting title at .330. He is the only Rays player to ever lead the American League outright in a triple crown category (Carlos Peña shared the 2009 AL home run title with Mark Teixeira).

“It’s going to be a good matchup,” said Rays outfielder Josh Lowe, who will face his brother, Rangers first baseman Nathaniel Lowe. “We’re ready for whoever we play against. I’m excited for the postseason. I know everybody in here is excited for the postseason. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Rangers start lefty Jordan Montgomery (10-11) in Game 1. Jordan Montgomery had to settle for a tough-luck no-decision last Thursday night, limiting the Mariners to just one run on five hits over six innings. The 30-year-old walked two batters and struck out five evening. The only blemish on his day came on a solo blast off the bat of Julio Rodríguez in the fourth inning. Aside from that, Montgomery was awesome. He generated 11 swings and misses on 94 pitches — five on his curveball — while posting a CSW of 28 percent.

Montgomery, acquired at the trade deadline from St. Louis, finished the season with a 3.20 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and a 166/48 K/BB ratio over 188 2/3 innings in his 32 starts. He’s got just two career postseason appearances — one with the Yankees in 2020 and one with the Cardinals in ‘22 — totaling just 6 2/3 innings.

The Rays start right-hander Tyler Glasnow (10-7). Glasnow fanned nine in five scoreless innings as the Rays shut out the Red Sox 5-0 last Wednesday. It was an abbreviated final start for Glasnow, as the Rays lifted him after 70 pitches. Glasnow struggled in a few starts in September, but he still struck out 48 batters in 33.1 innings over his six starts last month.

He finished with 3.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and a 162/37 K/BB ratio over 120 innings in his 21 starts overall. Glasnow faced the Rangers once this season, allowing just one run on one hit and three walks while striking out six over six innings in an 8-3 win at The Trop on June 9.

Rangers vs. Rays Betting Trends

  • Texas is 8-4 SU in the last 12 games.
  • Rangers are 4-1 SU in its last 5 games against Tampa Bay.
  • The total went under in 4 of Texas’ last 5 games.
  • Tampa Bay is 4-1 SU in the last 5 games.
  • Rays are 5-2 SU in its last 7 games against an opponent in the American League.
  • The total went over in 9 of Tampa Bay’s last 10 games.

Rangers vs. Rays 2023 MLB Wild Card Game 1 Betting Prediction

Rangers 4, Rays 3.

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.