Free MLB Picks: Bet Mariners To Beat World Series Champs Royals

Jason Lake

Saturday, July 9, 2016 2:18 PM UTC

Saturday, Jul. 9, 2016 2:18 PM UTC

The Kansas City Royals may look like they have the advantage in Saturday afternoon's home game versus the Seattle Mariners, but don't let the baseball odds fool you.

Who's the better team right now: the Kansas City Royals, or the Seattle Mariners? Most people would pick the defending World Series champions. Even though they're struggling this year, the Royals (44-42, +3.68 units) still have a better record than the Mariners (44-43, –6.68 units), and they're doing a whole lot better at the pay window, too.

We're not most people here at the ranch. Kansas City has been very fortunate thus far, building a winning record on a minus-25 run differential. Seattle (plus-50) has been snake-bitten. Only three teams in the American League have done a better job outscoring their opponents, but the M's are 13-18 in one-run games, while the Royals are 14-10. Seems like the Mariners should be the right MLB pick for Saturday's matinee (4:15 p.m. ET) at Kauffman Stadium.

Mike Drop
Let's start attacking our hypothesis by comparing Saturday's MLB odds with the nerdy nerd projections from FiveThirtyEight. The Royals are –125 favorites as we go to press; however, Nate Silver's crew has Kansas City winning 53 percent of the time, which translates to -113 on our SBR Betting Odds Calculator. Story checks out.

We're even happier to recommend the Mariners after looking at the pitching matchup. Sure, Royals starter Edinson Volquez (4.10 FIP) has better overall numbers than Seattle's Wade Miley (5.01 FIP), but check out these matchup stats: Current M's batters have a combined .744 OPS off Volquez, while Miley has held the Royals to a paltry .569 OPS.

But wait, there's more. Miley is up 2.42 betting units this year on a team record of 9-6, just a shade behind Volquez at 10-8 and +2.89 units. And while the M's batting order is intact, Kansas City will be without 3B Mike Moustakas (.801 OPS) and OF Lorenzo Cain (.752 OPS). Moustakas is out for the season with a torn ACL; he's 4-of-13 lifetime against Miley with a homer and a .923 OPS.


Fantasy Corner
If you're like me, you've been alternately delighted and frustrated with 1B/DH Adam Lind (.704 OPS) over the years. This isn't one of Lind's better seasons, but he's 4-for-11 lifetime off Volquez with a .818 OPS. Lind is owned in 3.0 percent of ESPN leagues at press time. You could do worse.

We'd be even more stoked about the Mariners if they didn't have so many injuries in the bullpen. But the Royals are a bit hamstrung themselves; closer Wade Davis (2.70 FIP) is on the 15-day DL with a strained forearm. I suppose you might prefer set-up man Kelvin Herrera (1.89 FIP) for your fantasy lineup as Davis's fill-in. Herrera is still available in 73.1 percent of ESPN leagues as I write this. But we'll stick with Seattle for our baseball picks, and may the sphere be with you.

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Free MLB Pick: Mariners +118
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker
Record: 16-13 ML, 5-3-1 Totals (+5.54 units)

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