Tigers' Desire for Greatness & Rebuilding White Sox Combine for Plenty of Runs

James Shields

Jason Lake

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 8:19 PM GMT

The Detroit Tigers are giving the AL Central one last shot. The Chicago White Sox chose to rebuild instead. Maybe we should put the Tigers in Thursday’s baseball picks.

Detroit Tigers vs Chicago White Sox

Fish, or cut bait? Looks like the Detroit Tigers have decided to keep fishing for that elusive World Series championship. After missing out on a Wild Card last year at 86-75 (+10.87 betting units), they’ve kept their 2016 roster nearly intact for the 2017 campaign. But will it do them any good? Baseball Prospectus gives the Tigers a 25.9-percent chance of making the playoffs, and just 1.2 percent to win their first title since 1984. That’s ungood.

Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox are cutting bait. They had a disappointing 2016 season at 78-84 and 6.30 units in the red, so they traded ace pitcher Chris Sale (3.46 FIP last year) to the Boston Red Sox, and OF Adam Eaton (.790 OPS) to the Washington Nationals. Not that Sale would have figured into Thursday's game between the White Sox and Tigers; James Shields (6.01 FIP) is scheduled to start for Chicago, while Detroit responds with Matt Boyd (4.75 FIP). The White Sox are +115 on our MLB odds board after opening at +110.
 

Lower Shields

Shields is trying to bounce back from an incredibly bad year that saw him lose money in both leagues. He began by dropping 6.67 units for the San Diego Padres, who won just two of his 11 starts. Then Shields got traded to the White Sox, who were desperate for pitching at the time, and he lost another 7.36 units on a team record of 7-15.
 


If only Shields were made of rubber. He's 35 years old now, and he's been in decline for quite a while – especially when it comes to his strikeout rate, which fell to a career low 6.69 per nine innings last year. However, Boyd (10-8, +3.06 units) isn't on anyone’s Cy Young watchlist, either. The statheads at FiveThirtyEight project Detroit to win this game 53 percent of the time, which works out to –113 using our marvelous SBR Betting Odds Converter.

Well, shucks. That's a pretty tight line. So we’re going to recommend going OVER the 8.5-run total for your MLB picks, given who’s on the mound Thursday (2:10 p.m. ET, WGN). That's provided the weather holds up; Shields and Jordan Zimmerman were supposed to pitch Wednesday, but that game was postponed because of rain. April in Chicago, folks.

Free MLB Pick: OVER 8.5
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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