Tampa Bay Rays @ Pittsburgh Pirates 6/23/24 Free Pick, MLB Odds, MLB Predictions

Tampa Bay Rays (37-40) at Pittsburgh Pirates (37-39)

Game Info: Sunday, June 23rd, 2024 at  1:35 p.m. EST (PNC Park)

Betting Odds: Pirates ML (-155) - Over/Under (7.5)

Pick: Pirates ML (-155) 

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Pittsburgh Pirates will play the third and final game of their three game weekend series here on Sunday afternoon. These two teams came into the year with very different expectations and so far they have been pretty average throughout the first few months of the season. Both of them come into this one riding around the .500 mark for the majority of the year after both teams also had fast starts to the season as well. Both Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are in need of a serious momentum boost and both of them will look to grab some momentum with a serious finale victory here on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

The Tampa Bay Rays came into the 2024 Major League Baseball season with expectations of being a playoff team. However, they have been hovering around the .500 mark throughout the first few months of the season. They will look to get things going in the right direction with a much-needed victory here on Sunday afternoon on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates. They will certainly have a tough time going against a guy like Paul Skenes who has been setting the league on fire since his arrival earlier in the season. 

Which means their starting pitcher Aaron Civale will have to put out one of his best performances of the season to keep Pittsburgh off the board if they want to win this game.  Tampa Bay has been playing lackluster baseball as of late losing five out of their last 10 and they are sitting in fourth place in the toughest division in all of baseball. It’ll be a huge mountain for them to climb if they want to be a playoff team this season and they will have to get going immediately if they want to reach their goal by the time the end of the year comes around.

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Much like their opponent Pittsburgh has been sitting around dead, even throughout the early part of the season. Unlike Pittsburgh, their starting pitcher in this game Paul Skenes has been lighting the league on fire throughout his short time in the majors. He has been dominating opposing hitting, and it shows with his 4-0 record coming into this start on Sunday afternoon. He will look to shut down one of the toughest lineups on paper and all of baseball here on Sunday at home in the series finale and pick up his fifth victory of the year. 

Pittsburgh comes into this game after winning the second game of the series on Saturday and now they will look to win the series here on Sunday with a second consecutive win. Just like Tampa Bay they have won five out of their last 10 on the season and they will need to play catch-up in the National League Central division, although their road will be much easier, as the division has not been its best this season. Tampa’s starting pitching Aaron Civale has struggled at times this season, which provides the Pittsburgh lineup with plenty of opportunities to get the job done throughout this game. 

Betting trends to consider in this matchup:

- Skenes is 4-0 on the season 

- Tampa Bay is 26-29 against teams below .500

- Tampa Bay is 14-19 as an underdog 

I expect this to be a close and competitive matchup throughout this game on Sunday afternoon between Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. However, in the end, I think it will come down to the starting pitchers who take the mound for their respective teams in the series finale. In that case that is where I see the separation between Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay throughout this game. As I look for Pittsburgh to grab the victory and the third and final game of this series at home against Tampa Bay behind a dominant performance from Skenes on the mound.

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