Rays-Nationals prediction, pick, how to watch

We continue our odds and pick series today with a prediction for this American/National League showdown as these two teams meeting for the first of three games in their series. The Tampa Bay Rays (3-0) will take on the Washington Nationals (1-2). Check out our MLB odds series for our Rays-Nationals prediction and pick.

The Tampa Bay Rays are currently undefeated as this season begins and are coming off a three-game sweep off the Detroit Tigers. The Rays did their job in handling one of the weaker teams in the MLB, but will have a harder test in the Nationals. The Rays will likely march out RHP Drew Rasmussen in this one.

The Washington Nationals were able to grab one win out of their three-game series with the Atlanta Braves. They have a decent young lineup with a lot of pop in their bats and will hope to see more production this time around against the Rays. The Nationals will likely send RHP Trevor Williams to the mound in this one.

Here are the Rays-Nationals MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Rays-Nationals Odds

Tampa Bay Rays: -188

Washington Nationals: +158

Over: 8 (-102)

Under: 8 (-120)

How To Watch Rays vs. Nationals

TV: Bally Sports Sun, MASN

Stream: MLB.TV, fuboTV

Time: 7:05 p.m. ET/ 4:05 p.m. PT

*Watch MLB games LIVE with fuboTV (click for a free trial)*

Why The Rays Could Cover The Spread

The Rays join the Twins and the Rangers as the last undefeated MLB teams left in this young season. Granted, they were matched up against the Detroit Tigers and managed to win their three games by a total of 21-3 runs. They’ll send Drew Rasmussen to the mound for his first start of the year. In 2022, he went 11-7 with a 2.84 ERA, 125 K, and 1.04 WHIP. He saw his worst totals last year when pitching on the road and does decently against other right-handed batters.

The Nationals will have a good mix of players hitting from both sides of the plate, as well as a few switch hitters. Rasmussen will have to tighten up his control to not get tagged by the Nats early. He’ll hope to be backed up by a great offense lead by Wander Franco and Randy Arozarena. They have a ton of firepower at the top of their lineup and can get to pitchers quickly in the game. Look for the Rays to jump out to an early lead.

Why The Nationals Could Cover The Spread

The Nationals dropped two of three games badly to the much better Atlanta Braves. They’ll enjoy being at home for this series and can always expect a good Nationals crowd to cheer them on. They’ll be sending Trevor Williams to the mound for his first start in a Nationals uniform. He’s typically been a relief pitcher in the past for teams like the Mets and Pirates and went 3-5 last year with a 3.21 ERA plus a save for the New York Mets.

It’ll be interesting to see how Williams develops into a starting pitcher for the Nationals. They have a few young, promising pieces in their pitching staff and have the type of lineup that can string together chain-runs. They’ll be heavily outmatched for most of their games this season, so it’ll be interesting to see if the Nationals can find that “dog” in them and become a gritty team.

Final Rays-Nationals Prediction & Pick

While the Nationals were able to show some promise behind MacKenzie Gore, they’ll have a much stiffer challenge in trying to silence the hot Rays’ bats with someone like Trevor Williams. Expect Tampa Bay to tag him early – let’s take the Rays on the run line here.

Final Rays-Nationals Prediction & Pick: Tampa Bay Rays -1.5 (-106)