Justin Verlander & Danny Duffy, both throwing some good ball as of late, will go off at about a pick 'em on Tuesday's betting line as the Royals-Tigers open a 3-game series at Comerica Park tonight.
Royals-Tigers Tuesday Odds
As of Monday morning the best line we could find on Detroit with Justin Verlander was the -103 offered at GTBets, while KC with lefty Danny Duffy could be found at -102 at Heritage. And every book we sampled listed a total on tonight's game of 8.5 runs, with the UNDER getting an underdog price.
Also, BetOnline was chalking the Royals at -150 to win this series, with the Tigers getting +130 as home dogs.
Kansas City just dropped three of four games at Toronto over the weekend, losing Sunday 5-2. But that was the first series loss for the Royals since they got swept three games at Houston one month ago.
At 62-42 Kansas City still owns the best record in the American League, and an 8.5-game lead over second-place Minnesota in the AL Central.
Detroit, meanwhile, just split four games at Baltimore over the weekend, winning Sunday 6-1. Still, the Tigers haven't won a series since taking two of three games from Seattle almost one month ago.
At 51-54 Detroit trails the Royals by 11.5 games in the AL Central, but only sits three games off the pace in the race for the second American League wild-card spot.
KC leads this season series four games to three, with the UNDERS going 4-3.
Verlander (1-3, 4.86) began his season late, recovering from a triceps injury, and struggled through his first month, but is coming off two very nice outings in a row, and just picked up his first victory. Last Wednesday he held Tampa to one run through eight innings, with 10 strikeouts and zero walks, and just before that he also held Boston to one run through eight innings. On the season Verlander has allowed 50 hits, including nine home runs, through 50 innings, walked 12 and struck out 35.
Detroit is just 1-7 in Verlander's starts, although that isn't all his fault, while the totals have leaned toward the OVERS by a 6-2 margin.
Verlander started six times against Kansas City last season, allowing 21 earned runs through 39 2/3 innings; the Tigers managed to win four of those games, and four of those games played OVER.
Duffy (4-5, 4.28) has been lousy for most of this season, but better lately. Last time out he gave up five runs in six innings at Toronto, but against that Blue Jays lineup, in that ballpark, that could happen to almost anybody. And over his previous three starts he held opponents to just two runs through 20 innings. On the season Duffy is five-for-15 on quality starts, having allowed 84 hits through 82 innings, while compiling a rather mediocre K/BB of 52/33.
The Royals are 9-6 in Duffy's starts, with the totals leaning UNDER 9-6.
Since the beginning of last season Duffy has started four times against Detroit, allowing just five earned runs through 24 innings; thanks to some poor run support KC lost three of those games.
Tuesday's Batting Splits
KC ranks fourth in the Majors at the moment against right-handed pitching with a .268 team batting average, and 12th with a .318 team on-base percentage.
Detroit, on the other hand, ranks second against left-handed pitching with both a .279 average and a .347 team OBP. And those figures have held fairly steady even since Miggy Cabrera hit the disabled list.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Comerica this season are 28-22 on the OVERS, averaging 9.3 runs per, fifth-most among all ML ballparks.
Since Miggy went down the Tigers are 11-15 overall, 15-9-2 on the OVERS, averaging 4.8 runs per game.
Kansas City, meanwhile, is already playing without OF Alex Gordon (11 HR, .394 OBP), who's on the DL with a pulled groin, and 3B Mike Moustakas (10 HR, .343 OBP) is dealing with a sore knee, and is questionable for tonight.
Royals-Tigers Tuesday Free Picks
Based upon these starters' recent track records against tonight's opponents we give Duffy the edge in the pitching match-up. Also, while Detroit might still own a short edge with the sticks, even without Miggy and the recently traded Yoenis Cespedes, KC owns a solid edge in the comparison of the bullpens. So we like the Royals for tonight. Also, both these starters have been better as of late, and both lineups are missing some key people. So we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: Kansas City and UNDER 8.5 runs (+107) at Pinnacle