MLB Betting: Tampa's Alex Cobb to keep Seattle Mariners at bay

The Tampa Bay Rays will turn recent fortunes around a bit on Thursday when they host the Seattle Mariners.

In a recent road trip, the Rays lost all five games they played, but the good news here is they’re at home – a place where they compete far better. In away games, they have a .500 winning percentage, but in Tampa Bay that percentage skyrockets to well above .600.

Pitching for the Rays is Alex Cobb. He isn’t one of the rotation’s most high-profile names, but he has been excellent in 2013. The right-hander is 6-2 with a 3.01 ERA and, most notably, has yet to lose at Tropicana Field this season, sporting a record of 4-0 there in eight starts.

His pitching opponent, Joe Saunders hasn’t been nearly as sharp this season. In 24 starts he has a 4.69 ERA. He’s gotten worse as the season has progressed (6.75 ERA in the second half compared to a 4.24 ERA in the first) and struggles greatly on the road (5.33 ERA versus 3.94 in Seattle).

Finally, Rays hitters own a .299 lifetime batting average against Saunders in 74 career plate appearances. The critical mass points squarely toward a Tampa Bay victory. Take the Rays at 1.43.

Expect a low scoring result in San Diego where the Padres welcome the New York Mets.

This contest will feature two starting pitchers who have been on form. San Diego’s Tyson Ross was installed in the Padres’ pitching rotation on July 23rd and has made the absolute most of the opportunity. In four starts, he has thrown 27 innings and conceded just four runs.

All of his outings have been quality starts (thrown six innings or more; allowed three or fewer earned runs). Moreover, during that run, he’s faced a couple of above average lineups in the form of the Cincinnati Reds and the Arizona Diamondbacks and pitched very well. (By comparison, the Mets have been just at the league average in terms of run production).

He’ll square off against young Mets pitching star Zack Wheeler. While Wheeler hasn’t been as heralded – or as good – as rotation mate Matt Harvey, he has contributed a number of solid outings. In fact, he’s only given up more than three earned runs in a start once in his past seven pitching assignments.

In addition, being on the road is where he throws best. In six road starts, Wheeler is 4-0 with a 2.21 ERA. At Citi Field he’s 1-2 with a 6.20 ERA. Look for a total run count in this one to come in below 7 runs. It’s the right proposition at 1.82.

Best bets

Tampa Bay Rays to beat the Seattle Mariners at 1.43.

Under 7 runs in San Diego Padres vs the New York Mets at 1.82.