The Pittsburgh Pirates have wowed Major League Baseball to date, well over .500 and contending ofr a playoff spot well ahead of schedule.
The upstart Pirates finish a three-game series against the best team in baseball, the Tampa Bay Rays. Pittsburgh will start Vince Velasquez on Thursday afternoon while the Rays counter with Zach Eflin.
Here are the odds for the series finale:
Pirates vs. Rays odds, run line and total
Pirates vs. Rays prediction and pick
I don't trust either starter on Thursday and fancy the matchup for both elite offenses.
Let's start with Pittsburgh, who is hitting like a top 10 offense this season with .261/.342/.444 splits and walking on over 10% of its at bats. Eflin has been solid in his first season with the Rays, but he is pitching to an ERA nearly one run below his Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which means that the Tampa Bay defense is saving him about a run off of his ERA (3.00 vs. 3.80).
I believe Pittsburgh can get the better of him on Thursday with the team's ability to work counts and get inot advantageous situations.
On the other side, though, the Rays bolster the best offense in baseball. They are hitting .280 with over 60 home runs in 31 games.
The team is an absolute wagon at the dish and will give problems for Velasquez, who has allowed more than one hom run per nine innings in his career and walks more than three batters per nine innings.
Pittsburgh can hang with Tampa Bay on Thursday, but my favorite play is on the over.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.