Pick Over 8.5 Tonight for Recently Swept Angels vs. Twins

Willie Bee

Thursday, September 4, 2014 12:16 PM GMT

Thursday's short MLB betting card includes several 4-game series getting an early start on the weekend.  One of those takes place in Minnesota where the Angels visit the Twins.

What appeared to be an easy schedule to begin the season's final month hasn't gone according to plan so far for the Los Angeles Angels.  Perhaps a long weekend in Minnesota against the Twins will help Mike Scioscia's club get back on track and help the Angels build on the best record in baseball.

They'll be favorites to at least open this 4-game set at Target Field on a winning note in Thursday night's lid-lifter (8:10 PM ET). Hector Santiago is next up in LA's rotation, and SBR's live MLB odds have the Angels priced in the -115 to -120 range. Kyle Gibson opposes Santiago and the Halos with an 8.5 run total that is juiced to the high side.

 

Halos Hit Town After Dropping 2 In Houston
After busting loose with a 19-10 record in August to take the AL West lead, Los Angeles (83-55, +16.7 units, 65-68-5 O/U/P) has gotten off to an 0-2 start in September. The Angels were just swept in Houston in a 2-game mini-series by the Astros, and this long road trip to begin the month includes a stop in Cleveland next Monday to make up a rainout followed by a trip back to Texas to face the Rangers.

Minnesota (61-78, -3.7 units, 72-62-5 O/U/P) stumbled through August with an 11-18 mark, and about the only thing positive to say about the Twins is they are at least closer to the top of the AL Central (16.5 games out) than either of the other two last-place squads in the AL, Boston (20.5) and Texas (30.5). Five of the seven series left on Minnesota's slate will be against playoff contenders.

This series belonged to the Twins last year, Minnesota winning five of the six encounters and all three at Target Field where totals ran 2-1 (O/U). That broom job helped the Twins to a 9-6 home advantage over LA since their new park opened in 2010.

The tables have turned this year after the Angels swept Minnesota in Anaheim back in late-June. Two of those matchups sailed past 7.5 and 8.5 scoreboard barriers, the middle game of the set pushing an 8 run total.

 

Santiago Doing His Part To Pick Up Halos Rotation
The Angels may have lost four of Santiago's five starts in August, but that was due to weak offensive support and shoddy bullpen performances more than his effort. The 26-year-old posted a sub-2.00 ERA for the month while allowing one earned run or less in four of the assignments.

Still, the fact remains that regardless of how well Santiago is pitching right now, LA is 6-13 when he starts to leave bettors 9.0 units in the red. He has performed pretty well against the Twins over the past few seasons (2.38 ERA, 3 starts, 4 relief), and split his only two career assignments at Target Field (11.2 IP, 4 ER).

Gibson has been hit-or-miss since just before the all-star break, allowing one run or less in four of his last nine starts, five runs or more in four others. The Angels lit him up when the clubs met in Anaheim to begin the June series, chasing Gibson after just two frames having already plated seven. That was his second career start vs. LA, the other a no-decision at Angel Stadium in July 2013 (6 IP, 2 ER, 2 HR).

Warm and muggy with a few clouds overhead is the forecast for tonight's first pitch. The weatherman says the thermometer will still be lingering in the upper-70s at game time, and balls headed out to right field could get a boost from the 10-12 mph west wind.

Los Angeles is obviously the better team, and the small chalk on the Angels tonight would appear to be a good price. But my free MLB pick will instead be on the total due to trends both hurlers are sporting; play 'over' tonight in Minnesota.

Free MLB Pick: Angels-Twins Over 8.5 (-115) at 5Dimes

Season: 111-114 (-3.65)

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