Orioles vs. Tigers - Detroit Has Edge on O's But Total Looks Tastier

Michael Fulmer during a game throwing the ball

Jason Lake

Friday, September 9, 2016 2:31 PM GMT

Friday, Sep. 9, 2016 2:31 PM GMT

The Detroit Tigers have a good chance to beat the Baltimore Orioles at home, but the baseball odds make the UNDER a better choice on a warm Friday night in Motown.

What if we told you right now that the Detroit Tigers (75-64, +14.86 units) have a better shot of making the playoffs than the Baltimore Orioles (76-63, +11.39 units)? That's what the prognosticators say at both FiveThirtyEight and TeamRankings. There isn't much difference between the two teams in performance level, but the Tigers are smoking hot, and they get to host Baltimore for a three-game series, starting this Friday night at 7:10 p.m. Eastern. Advantage: Detroit.

Tuesday's pitching matchup seems to favor the home side. Rookie right-hander Michael Fulmer (3.79 FIP) is No. 5 on the money list for starters as we go to press, raking in 10.92 units of profit with the Tigers going 16-6 in his 22 appearances. For the Orioles, it's fourth-year northpaw Kevin Gausman (4.08 FIP), who's led Baltimore to a 12-13 record and 3.13 units of debt. Our MLB odds board shows Detroit laying –130 with a total of 8.5 runs.
 

Neutral Park Hotel
That's a tight line right there. FiveThirtyEight has the Tigers winning Friday's game 56 percent of the time, which translates to –127 on our SBR Betting Odds Converter that you should all be familiar with by now. Maybe we should consider the UNDER instead. It's 11-10-1 for Fulmer thus far, but a tasty 17-8 with Gausman on the mound. Two decent pitchers, playing in a stadium with a 0.980 park factor for runs – seems legit, right?

Well... Fulmer did face Gausman and the Orioles once before at Camden Yards, back on May 15, and it didn't quite go according to script: he gave up four earned runs in 4.1 innings as Detroit won 6-5 (OVER 9), cashing in as a +150 road dog. Gausman wasn't much better, coughing up his four runs in five innings of work. Baltimore's park factor for runs this year is 0.956, by the way. Harrumph.
 

Fantasy Corner
I'm sure the “small sample size” alert is going off in your head. Still, current O's have touched Fulmer for six hits, four walks and a home run, posting a collective .917 OPS in 20 at-bats. You could do far worse for your fantasy team than scooping up super-utility guy Steve Pearce (.881 OPS) off the waiver wire. He was 1-for-2 off Fulmer with a walk as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, and he's getting a semi-regular turn against righties instead of just platooning. Only 14.6 percent of ESPN leagues at press time have Pearce on their rosters.

So what's our hot MLB pick for this matchup? We'll have to go ahead and give the UNDER a spin. No need to lose our heads over the result from May, and besides, Baltimore 1B Chris Davis (.827 OPS) is compromised by a sore left hand that caused him to sit out Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay. Davis expects to play Friday; we expect him to struggle. Plus, 3B Nick Castellanos (.831 OPS) is still out for Detroit with a fractured left hand. And it's supposed to be a really humid Friday night in Motown. We'll buy that for a dollar.

Free MLB Pick: UNDER 8.5 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 22-21 ML, 8-5-1 Totals (+5.66 units)

 

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