Tigers vs. Royals Offers Two MLB Picks Worth Adding To Your Ticket

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, June 16, 2016 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 16, 2016 4:00 AM UTC

It is very conceivable either Tigers or Royal win AL Central titles again. Thursday they open a four-game set in K.C, with the Tigers at -116 on Heritage MLB odds with a total of 8.


What You Need To Know
The Tigers and Royals have combined to win the past five AL Central titles. Some odd scheduling involving these rivals as they will play only two series against one another in the first half of the season and no games in Detroit. Thus the Royals will have three series in Motown vs. the Tigers in the second half, including immediately after the All-Star break. Kansas City won two of three at Kauffman Stadium vs. Detroit from April 19-21, Royals All-Star catcher Salvador Perez had a career-high five RBIs in the Game 1 8-6 win. The Tigers won the second game behind pitcher Jordan Zimmermann and two hits and two RBIs from second baseman Ian Kinsler -- he's hitting .351 with 30 RBIs in Tigers wins this season and .281 with 14 RBIs in losses. The Royals took the finale 4-0 behind a gem from Edinson Volquez.

While Cleveland has the best pitching staff in the division and is in first place, I do believe either the Tigers or Royals will win the Central with the fade of the Chicago White Sox. The Royals are +250 on MLB odds to repeat as Central champions and the Tigers are +325 among several betting sites.

Both Detroit and Kansas City are very likely to make an impact trade before the Aug. 1 deadline. The Tigers could use some pitching -- certainly in the bullpen and maybe a back-end starter -- and the Royals perhaps a starting pitcher and a third baseman with Mike Moustakas out for the season. Moustakas was still playing when the Royals and Tigers met in April. He was 5-for-12 in the series with a double and solo homer. Also active then was Royals All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon, who is also on the DL and out at least another few weeks with a wrist injury. Gordon was 2-for-9 in April vs. Detroit with a solo homer and three runs scored.

The Royals are a vastly better team at home than on the road in 2016 as they have easily the biggest home-road win percentage differential in MLB.


Probable Pitchers
Detroit starts ace right-hander Justin Verlander (6-5, 3.77). He has won two straight starts and four of the past five -- to no surprise, the one loss was his lone non-quality start in that stretch. Verlander was last on the bump Saturday at the New York Yankees and allowed one earned run and five hits over 6.2 innings with five strikeouts and a walk. It was his fourth outing in a row allowing five hits or fewer. Verlander had never previously won a start at the new Yankee Stadium. In seven previous tries, he had a 4.84 ERA. Verlander is among the AL leaders in strikeouts (90), WHIP (1.06) and innings pitched (86.0). The 'under' is 5-0-1 on MLB odds in Verlander's past six starts.

He didn't face the Royals in April. Last year, Verlander was 1-1 against them in three starts with a 3.63 ERA. Verlander won his lone outing in K.C., giving up two earned runs in 6.2 innings. Perez hits Verlander better than any Royal, going 21-for-44 (.477) with two homers and 13 RBIs. Kendrys Morales also has had success against Verlander with a career .353 average, two homers and 10 RBIs in 34 at-bats. Omar Infante is only 4-for-27 off Verlander.

Kansas City starts lefty Danny Duffy (2-1, 2.94), who has the best ERA of any Royals starter -- although he didn't begin the season in the rotation. He has pitched in 22 games, six of them starts. Duffy has been very solid since going into the rotation, however. Last time out, he shut out the White Sox on three hits over six innings with a season-high 10 strikeouts. The Royals are 7-2 on MLB picks in Duffy's past nine vs. AL Central teams.

Duffy pitched in two games in the first series vs. the Tigers in relief. He allowed three runs in one inning in the 8-6 Royals win and then had a scoreless inning in Kansas City's 4-0 victory. Miguel Cabrera is 6-for-21 career off Duffy with three doubles and four RBIs. Kinsler is 3-for-17 with a homer and two RBIs. Victor Martinez is 7-for-23 with three RBIs.

Two pitchers who are rolling right now. The 'under' is 6-2 in Duffy's past eight vs. Detroit. The Royals are 2-5 in Duffy's past seven home starts in the series

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MLB Free Picks: Tigers and 'Under.' 

Best Line Offered: Tigers -115 & Under 7½ (+110) at Bet365

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