Indians vs Tigers Free MLB Picks For Thursday September 29th

Detroit Tigers  after losing against Kansas

Thursday, September 29, 2016 4:29 PM GMT

Rain is in the Detroit forecast today when the Tigers and Indians finish off their final regular season series, but that isn't stopping us from making a free baseball pick.

Rain delayed and eventually cut short Wednesday night's clash between the Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers, and there's more wet stuff in the forecast for Thursday's matinee at Comerica Park (1:10 PM ET).

A double-lefty mound duel begins the contest as Ryan Merritt goes for Cleveland opposite Daniel Norris of Detroit. The Tigers are carrying -141 chalk on the morning nickel line at the different sportsbooks.

The series started with the Indians clinching the AL Central title with a 7-4 win as -165 chalk on the MLB odds. The celebration was made a bit bittersweet when Corey Kluber was forced from the contest after four innings due to a sore right groin. Cleveland's hangover was in full effect Tuesday in a 12-0 loss, the Tigers -265 on the moneyline behind Justin Verlander who struck out 12 and pitched into the eighth. It never made it to the eighth on Wednesday after the rain stopped the game for a second time in the fifth with the Tigers leading 6-3. Umpires waited things out for a little more than an hour before calling it at that point.

Wagering on MLB Postseason? Read This First

Merritt Making 1st Big League Start
Thanks to the Tribe beating the Tigers 14 rimes in 18 games this year, including the first seven games played at Comerica, Cleveland remains in the mix to claim the top record in the AL record. Detroit is hanging around just a game behind the Orioles for the No. 2 AL wild-card spot, and the Tigers will be in Atlanta this weekend to finish things up.

Merritt is making his first major league start after three relief appearances this season for the Indians. Those appearances came in May, August and 17 days ago, so the lightly built Texan has obviously spent most of 2016 down on the farm. A 16th round pick in 2011, Merritt made 24 starts at Triple-A Columbus, registering a 3.70 ERA over 143 innings with a 92/23 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Injuries kept Norris from pitching must the first four months, but he's been sticking his nose in there with regularity the past couple of months, and performing well. In nine starts since Aug. 9, Norris has the Tigers 5-4 with a 3.26 ERA, never allowing more than three earned runs in any of those assignments. He got his last win against the Indians in Cleveland a week-&-a-half ago, working five and surrendering just one earned in a 9-5 Tigers triumph.

Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
You can't always count on umpire rotations holding this time of year, but we fully expect Jim Reynolds to be behind the dish for the series finale. The veteran hasn't shown much of a tendency on totals in 2016, games playing 14-13 O/U. The Massachusetts native has been a boon to baseball bettors wagering on visitors, however, 18 of 27 plate assignments going against the home team. This is his second plate duty in Detroit this year, the other also against Cleveland that ended in a 9-3 Indians win as +130 underdogs, that game skipping well past an 8½ run total.

It's obviously important for the umps to get this game in due to what it means in the AL wild card race, but there's a 90% chance of rain today in Motown. Hunter Wendelstedt and his crew won't put up with much after the fifth inning if one side or the other has the lead, and I'm guessing that will be Detroit with my free baseball pick a run-line play.

Free MLB Pick: Tigers -1½ (+125)
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes
Season: 43-40 (+5.70)

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