Free MLB Picks: Twins vs. Tigers Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Thursday, May 23, 2013 1:43 PM GMT

Divisional rivals, one chasing first place, the other sitting in last, hook up for the third time this season as the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins play the first of a four-game weekend set at Comerica Park Thursday night (7 pm ET).

Here's what we look for in trying to make good on our free MLB picks for Thursday's series opener. 

Twins-Tigers Thursday Betting Odds

Most most baseball books we consulted Thursday morning opened Detroit with Rick Porcello at around -180 over Minnesota with Scott Diamond, the OVER/UNDER set at nine. Most books then also dropped that price about a dime, to around -170, in the early betting action. 

Also, the MLB odds TheGreek was listing the Tigers at -330 to win this series, based on the first three games, with the Twinkies getting +260.

[gameodds]3/227460/43/us[/gameodds]

Twins-Tigers Set-Up 

Detroit just took both games of a quick two-game series in Cleveland, winning Wednesday 11-7. 

Minnesota has lost eight games in a row, following a sweep at the hands of the Atlanta Braves. The Twins lost that series finale Wednesday 8-3, and have been outscored during their losing streak 51-22. 

So at 25-19 the Tigers sit in second place in the AL Central, a half-game behind first-place Cleveland, while Minnesota, at 18-25, sits in last place, seven games behind the Indians. 

The Twins opened this season by taking two of three games from the Tigers at Target Field. Three weeks ago Detroit took two of three games from Minnesota at Comerica. Also, the totals have leaned toward the UNDERS in this series this season by a 5-1 margin. 

Thursday's Pitching Match-Up 

Porcello (2-2, 5.92), by our strict standards, is only two-for-seven on quality starts this season, but after a tough beginning he has been getting better results lately. Last time out Porcello held Texas to one run through 5 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed six ER through 18 2/3 innings. 

Porcello had one disastrous outing vs. the Angels one month ago, in which he gave up nine runs in less than one inning. Outside of that, he's allowed 16 ER in 37 innings this season. 

The Tigers are 3-4 in Porcello's starts this year, with the OVER/UNDERS going 5-2. 

Porcello made his first start of this season against Minnesota back in early April, giving up three ER in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-2 Detroit defeat. Last year Porcello started three times against the Twins, allowing eight ER and 27 hits (!) in 13 2/3 innings. The Tigers managed to win two of those three games. 

Diamond (3-4, 4.99) is three-for-seven on quality starts this year, but is coming off two bad outings in a row. Most recently have gave up six runs in less than five innings vs. Boston, and just before that he got nicked for six runs in less than six innings vs. Baltimore. 

For the season Diamond has given up 48 hits in 39 2/3 innings, and his K/BB ratio is very tame, at 16/9. The Twins are 3-4 in Diamond's starts, with the totals going 1-5.

Diamond has started once against the Tigers previously this season, and picked up a victory, giving up two runs and four hits in six innings of a 6-2 Minnesota win on the first of this month. Last year Diamond started three times against Detroit and performed well, allowing just five ER and 15 hits through 21 1/3 innings; the Twins won two of those three games. 

Twins-Tigers Betting Trends 

Detroit is 27-16 on the OVER/UNDERS this season. 

The totals are also 14-5 in Tigers home games this season. 

The Tigers are six games over .500 overall, but only 3-6 vs. left-handed starting pitchers. 

Our Take on Thursday's Game 

Porcello has been better lately, while Diamond is coming off a couple of rough starts. And while Diamond has been excellent vs. this dangerous Detroit lineup in the past, we figure Tiger hitters might be about due to figure him out.  

But we also think that price on Detroit is a bit high for this particular match-up. So we'll gamble a little and take the Tigers on the run line for our free picks for Thursday.

MLB Pick: Take Detroit at the +127 on the run line offered at Matchbook.