MLB Picks: AL Central Betting Trends

Doug Upstone

Thursday, July 10, 2014 2:05 PM GMT

Detroit is again starting to put distance between themselves and the rest the American League Central. This week we will examine the strengths and weaknesses of each team for making MLB picks.

With the season better than half over, we have a good idea what each team is capable, yet the second half of the season can still lend itself to surprises for fans and baseball handicappers.


Detroit Tigers
Strengths

Having won 14 of 19, the Tigers are beginning to be play back to capabilities. The offensive numbers are on the rise (4.7 runs a game) and the starting pitching while unusually unreliable the last five weeks (7th in ERA in AL), still has star power. The road to the World Series might go through Oakland, but Detroit knows they have the weapons to beat them.

Weaknesses
Rumor mill churning about Tigers picking up middle and late innings reliever, which could solidify bullpen that ranks 13th in ERA and 12th in OBP in the AL. Offense needs to be steadier and not as prone to lulls and outbursts to become more reliable for those making sports betting picks.


Kansas City Royals
Strengths

With Kansas City just a few games above .500, even those that study the betting odds regularly might be a bit stunned to realize the Royals are third in the junior circuit in runs allowed. The K.C. starting pitchers have been well above average and often suffered from lack of run support. The bullpen while not perfect, leads the league in save percentage, proving they can closeout apparent victories.

Weaknesses
Other than a 15-day stretch in early June, the Royals offense continues to be a conundrum. They already sent 3B Mike Moustakas to Triple-A previously this year and DH Billy Butler has not come close to being the same player since 2012 the last year and a half. The Kansas City front office is shopping for a lively bat, with Kendry Morales and Josh Willingham reportedly on their wish list to upgrade 4.1 RPG.


Cleveland Indians
Strengths

Takeaway Michael Brantley, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Kluber, Cleveland might be residing in the basement of the division. The offense is at least adequate ranking in the upper half or top third of most key batting stats.

Weaknesses
Why the Tribe has gone from a 92-win team to hovering around .500 is pitching. Last year they conceded 4.1 RPG, this season that is up to 4.6. The starters in particular have been the problem, listed 13th in ERA. Also, Jason Kipnes has gone from a Top 5 infielder in preseason fantasy drafts to a mid 40’s selection at daily fantasy sites.


Chicago White Sox
Strengths

Watching the White Sox in Arizona this March, we said they would have to hit to win and this has turned out to be spot on. Chicago is eighth in baseball in home runs largely due to Jose Abreu, Adam Dunn and Jose Viciedo, combining for 52.  When the Pale Hose score at least five runs this season, they are 26-10. This is how Chicago is the best bet in their division versus the MLB odds.

Weaknesses
Even with the efforts of Chris Sale and Jose Quintana, the starting hurlers ERA and OBP allowed is just 12th in the AL. No surefire remedies for manager Robin Ventura to turn to.


Minnesota Twins
Strengths

The Minnesota offense started hot and as expected has returned to the talent level. Outside of Kurt Suzuki, the rest of the offense is ordinary. Sportsbooks and fans of the Twins and Yankees for that matter have to be impressed with what Phil Hughes has accomplished and he’s one of the best bets in baseball at +9.1 units. The Minnesota bullpen despite relatively heavy use is 4th in ERA and 3rd in OBP in the AL.

Weaknesses
There is not enough punch in Minnesota’s offense to overcome the starting pitchers having an ERA of almost 5 and ranked 14th in the AL. The Twinkies are not very tasty outside of division play at 24-35 for -6.3 units.