Take The Rolling Royals At An Underdog Price In Tonight's Game vs. Yankees

Lorenzo Cain

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, August 30, 2016 4:05 PM GMT

The Wild Card element added a few years ago has brought more teams into the mix late in the season and made life a little more challenging for those betting baseball heading into the final month.

The New York Yankees (67-63) start the day three-game out in the loss column for the final playoff seat in the American League and Kansas City (69-62) is even closer at two games behind Baltimore. In trying to gauge either team, it is very difficult in spite of recent surges because the Yankees have a -12 run differential and the Royals are at -15 and closest comparable is Tampa Bay at -21, but they have a 55-75 record.

Kansas City took the series opener, so lets see where we should be for MLB picks and if I can improve on a 33-15 record, +14.35 units this season.

 

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Pitching Matchup - Tanaka vs. Volquez
Masahiro Tanaka (11-4, 3.11 ERA, 1.07 WHIP) has been incredibly dependable all season for New York. The fact is, this has been business as usual for the right-hander, who's batting average allowed (.236), ERA and WHIP are at career norms. Tanaka features four pitches and has a nasty slider that really bites and split fastball that dives late. The only time he really gets into trouble is down in the count and has to come in with low 90's fastball which lacks movement.

This was not the kind of year Edinson Volquez (10-10, 4.88, 1.44) or manager New Yost envisioned. Volquez has seen his ERA between 5 and 6 most of the season, with opposing batters hitting 20 points higher against the righty than he has permitted in his career. He is showing a few signs of improving with a 3.25 ERA in past three starts but is barely working five innings. Volquez has not spotted his secondary pitches as well and hitters have sat on fastballs.

 

Offensive Numbers
Despite being shutout twice in last 10 games, New York is still averaging 5.9 runs a contest in that span. If you have been making baseball bets, you know catcher Gary Sanchez owns the Big Apple right now with .398 BA and 11 homers in only 23 games. While Joe Girardi club has a number of aging players, they would not have gotten back on contention without younger players like Sanchez, Didi Gregorius (.288 BA) and Starlin Castro (18 homers).

Kansas City as the World Series champions were on the ground and a few shovels full of dirt from being completely buried. Yet, out of nowhere, the Royals pitching came around the bats heated up and Yost's crew is making a late-season push, winners of 18 of 22. Ned Yost's offense is still choppy, but it is far more consistent than what it was and in this stretch is led by Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Alex Gordon, who has provided several big hits.

 

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Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds at 5Dimes (listed as A+ sportsbook) have New York as a -139 favorite with a total of 7.5. With last night's win, Kansas City is 2-3 against the Yankees this season, but 5-3 at home versus the Bronx Bombers since 2014. All five games have gone OVER in 2016. Even with injuries and trades, these are two of the best bullpens in the AL, with the Royals having best ERA (3.10) and New York fourth (3.56).

 

Game Outcome
I can arrive at 10 reasons to agree with the oddsmakers assessment and feel very comfortable with backing the Yanks. But there is still something magical about the Royals roster and having a 41-21 home record plays into the equation. Tanaka is without a doubt, not an easy pitcher to beat, however, Volquez and K.C. are 24-9 at Kauffman Stadium since last season and the Royals are 10-1 at home after scoring seven runs or more in two straight games.

Free MLB Pick: Royals +131
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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