MLB Picks: Bet Twins +127 To Avoid Three-Game Sweep Against Orioles

Drew Martin

Thursday, April 7, 2016 5:35 PM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 7, 2016 5:35 PM GMT

Phil Hughes and Ubaldo Jimenez square off at Camden Yards for the series finale as the Orioles look to sweep the Twins tonight on MLB Network. Can Minnesota upset the MLB odds?

While Hughes and Jimenez are similar in styles at this point in their careers, the lineups each will face have produced very different metrics to this point in the young season, something we may be able to exploit in the betting market. 

Phil Hughes and Ubaldo Jimenez square off at Camden Yards for the series finale as the Baltimore Orioles look to sweep the Minnesota Twins tonight on MLB Network. While Hughes and Jimenez are similar in styles at this point in their careers, the lineups each will face have produced very different metrics to this point in the young season, something we may be able to exploit in the betting market.

The winless Twins came into 2016 with relatively high hopes. Some thought more wins than losses, others projected playoffs. Regardless, the Twins stand at 0-2, with a team batting average of .212. In fact, the Twins are only above the lowly Angels and scoreless Padres when it comes to RBI’s. It has been an awful start to the 2016 campaign for the Twins, but there are some statistics indicating that a turnaround is on the horizon. 

The Twins have a 33.3% line drive rate through two games, the second highest line drive rate in all of MLB, only behind the hot hitting Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the Twins BABIP (batting average of balls in play) is an incongruous .292. The D-backs and Athletics are the only other teams in MLB who possess over a 30% line drive rate, and they each have a .444 and .340 BABIP respectfully. As the line drive rate and the BABIP numbers start to align, I believe that offensive success for the Twins will begin to manifest.

The Twins face a starter in Ubaldo Jimenez tonight who has seen his fastball velocity drop seven MPH since he broke into the league in 2007. The Orioles will try to get a third straight strong start out of the rotation in terms of run suppression, but with the Twins seeing the ball pretty well through the first two games, Jimenez’s decreased velocity could be a ticking time bomb.

In comparison, Phil Hughes will attempt to rebound off of a down campaign last season after coming off of a career-year in 2014, when he posted a 3.52 ERA in 209 2/3 innings. Hughes dealt with back problems late in the 2015 season and couldn't quite regain his velocity from the prior year, but Hughes has put in the work this offseason, losing 15 pounds, and reports are indicating that he back to his 2014 shape again. When speaking about his offseason, Hughes said, "My conditioning was the biggest thing and I came to spring feeling better, so hopefully that translates to me being healthy.” He went on to say, “I hope that sets me up well this year. And other than that, it's about fastball command." The Twins and Orioles met six times in spring training, but Hughes was held out of all of those games. Hughes did make one start against Baltimore last season and pitched relatively well, giving up two runs in 6 1/3 innings.

Minnesota is being priced as a +130 underdog on the MLB odds board tonight against a mid-level American league team with a below average pitcher on the hill. The Twins’ lineup possesses too much talent to warrant that big of a discount, especially against a pitcher who hasn’t seen them this spring. I believe the Twins are undervalued at this price tag, and recommend a bet on the underdog with your MLB picks.

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MLB Pick: Twins +127 
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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