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How about them Rays?

The Tampa Bay Rays are now a really good bet to win the American League East.

The defending American League champions acquired Minnesota Twins DH Nelson Cruz in a multi-player deal on Thursday night to bolster their lineup. The 40-year-old Cruz has hit 20 home runs in 2021 and has an OPS of .907. He’s on pace to have an OPS above .900 for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Cruz immediately becomes the biggest and best bat in the Rays’ lineup. His OPS+ of 153 is 25 points higher than anyone else on the Rays’ roster. Manager Kevin Cash can slot him in near the top of the order every day and build his lineup from there.

The Rays enter the weekend just a game behind the Red Sox in the AL East and have tantalizing odds at BetMGM. The Red Sox are the division favorites at -115 and the Rays are at +140. There’s still plenty of time for the Red Sox to make a move to counter the Rays, but we like the Rays atop that division after the Cruz trade.

The Rays routed the Indians on Friday night and Cruz homered. It seems they are on a roll.

Team USA still at -350 to win men’s basketball

There hasn’t been much movement in the men’s basketball betting odds since Team USA’s odds dropped from -1000 to -350. The Americans are still the favorites over Australia (+750) and Spain (+900). Australia’s odds have dropped from +2000 and it's the most popular bet at the sports book. Over half of the wagers are on Australia.

The American men open play on Sunday at 7 a.m. ET against France. The U.S. is favored by 11.5 points and is -650 to win the game outright. We like the U.S. to cover a 3.5-point spread (-110) in the first quarter as the team should come out motivated and rested after its exhibition game struggles.

On the women’s side, Team USA is -1000 to win it all. Australia is again the No. 2 favorite at +1600 and France is +2200. The women’s team hasn’t had the pre-tournament struggles the men have had and should have a fairly easy time over the next two weeks.

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