Free MLB Picks: AL Central Teams To Continue A Low Score Betting Trend

Mark Lathrop

Friday, April 8, 2016 11:01 AM GMT

Friday, Apr. 8, 2016 11:01 AM GMT

Our MLB handicapper analyzes this AL Central matchup and thinks the trend of lower scoring games is primed to continue. Read on as he gives his free Friday Night MLB Pick.

Minnesota Twins vs. Kansas City Royals
The Minnesota Twins definitely haven’t gotten off to a decent start, losing their opening series on the road versus the Baltimore Orioles. They try to right the ship as they stay on the road, as they travel the Kansas City Royals, who are fresh off of a split with the New York Mets. Neither team is lighting it up offensively, and with the opening starters back on the mound for each team, the O/U total has opened at 7.5 runs across the board. Kansas City is also favored on the moneyline at home in this game where they can be found at -153 at Heritage. If the run line interests you, the Royals are giving up 1.5 to get +140 in return over at Pinnacle.

The Twin’s opening day starter, Ervin Santana, is hoping to have a better start to the season than he did last year – when he was suspended 80 games for testing positive for a banned substance. At least he started on the mound this year, although in a rain shortened appearance against the Orioles that only lasted two innings. He gave up two hits and two walks in those innings, which took away from the fact that Santana has had an uptick in velocity to start the season. His 93 MPH fastball average is the highest it has been since his 2008 season, when Santana went 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA. That was his best season of his career, so the Twins hope this is a harbinger of things to come with Santana.

For the Royals, they have an even harder thrower on the mound in Yordano Ventura. Ventura’s fastball averaged 96.4 MPH last year, which he mixed with a curveball coming in at the mid-80’s. The change of pace was good for strikeouts, as Ventura recorded almost one per inning on the season. He’s assuredly looking to get past his last start in the World Series, as Ventura gave up 2 HR’s and 5 ER’s against the Mets in late October. That was bad, but he beat David Price and the Toronto Blue Jays twice in a row before that in the AL Championship series.

 

Minnesota has had issues on offense to start the season, only scoring two runs in each of their three losses against the Orioles. Eduardo Escobar is basically the lone hot hitter for the Twins right now, as he has racked up five hits over his first three games. He showed some pop last year in hitting 12 HR’s, so any boost in batting average is a big boon for the young shortstop. Interestingly enough, the only batter that has had much success of of Yordana Ventura is Escobar, who is 5-10 off of the fireballer in his career.

For Ervin Santana, he has some thorns in the Kansas City lineup as well. Both Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer have hit a pair of HR’s off of the pitcher in limited at-bats. Jarrod Dyson has also had some success for Kansas City, but he is still out of the lineup at this point.

Neither one of these teams have been in a game that has scored more than seven runs yet this year, so I like the setup here for a continuation of lower scoring games. This is especially true with each of the opening day starters coming around for a second start. I’m taking under 7.5 runs on the MLB odds boards as my Friday night MLB picks

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Free MLB Pick: Under 7½ (+165)
Best Line Offered: at William Hill

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