Make 'Under 8 Runs' your MLB Pick for Indians vs. Royals

Darin Zank

Sunday, August 31, 2014 2:28 PM UTC

Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014 2:28 PM UTC

Cleveland has taken the first two games of this series in Kansas City, winning in extra innings Saturday night. Here's our breakdown of tonight's series finale (8:07 pm ET, ESPN2), with a free MLB pick thrown in for your entertainment.

Sunday's Betting Odds
In the early betting the best line we could find on KC with Danny Duffy was the -164 offered at BetOnline, while Cleveland and TJ House were getting +155 at 5Dimes. And the MLB odds market had set the total at eight runs.

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Game Set-Up
Cleveland won the opener of this series Friday night 6-1, then took Saturday night's game 3-2 in 11 innings.

KC may have already lost this series, but actually, even though the Royals have also lost three games in a row and five of their last seven, this is their first series loss since they got swept three games in Boston back on July 18-20. 

At 74-61 the Royals are tied for first place in the AL Central with Detroit.

By taking the first two games of this series Cleveland has now won five series in a row, and 10 of its last 14 games.

At 70-64 the Indians trail KC and the Tigers by 3.5 games in the Central, and they're 3.5 games off the pace in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.

Cleveland leads this season series eight games to seven, with the totals going 8-7.


Sunday's Starters
Lefty Danny Duffy (8-11, 2.47) is 11/21 on quality starts this season. Last time out he held the Twins to one run through 6 2/3 innings, and over his last three starts he's given up four ER through 19 innings.

For the season Duffy has allowed just 97 hits through 135 innings, walked 47 and struck out 102. KC is 11-10 in Duffy's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 13-7.

Duffy has started twice already this season against the Indians, giving up four runs and 12 hits through 13 innings; the Royals split those two games, and both games played 'under.'

Fellow southpaw T.J. House is just 2/13 on quality starts this season, in large part because he so rarely goes six innings. Last time out he gave up five runs in less than five innings against the White Sox, and just before that, while he he held Minnesota scoreless, he only threw 5 1/3 innings.

On the season House has allowed more hits, 86, than innings pitched, 71, walked 21 and struck out 53. Cleveland is 8-5 in House's starts, with the totals leaning 'under' 8-5.

In his one career start against the Royals back in July, House gave up three runs and nine hits through 6 2/3 innings in a 7-3 Indians victory.

In the battle of the bullpens Cleveland ranks third with an ERA of 2.77, with 32 saves in 49 chances, while KC ranks 16th in ERA at 3.51, with 42 saves in 52 chances.


Betting Trends
Cleveland has played four 'unders' in a row, and 16 'unders' in its last 18 games.

KC has played four 'unders' in its last five games.

The totals have leaned toward the 'unders' in games played at Kauffman Stadium this year by a 35-31 margin.


Free MLB Pick for Sunday
We're leaning toward KC, but that price is just too high. So instead. we'll look toward the total for our free MLB pick on this game, and go with the 'under.'

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