Upset Alert for Tonight's MLB Picks: Twins Dangerous Road Dogs in KC

David Lawrence

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 11:55 AM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 9, 2015 11:55 AM UTC

We could be in the prime spot to grab the Minnesota Twins as road doge for our MLB picks tonight when they visit the KC Royals. Why have sportsbooks priced them so low, and how can we take advantage of this line?

The Kansas City Royals are getting the nod on the MLB odds boards tonight, as most online sportsbooks are offering them as -167 favorites. SportsInteraction has them listed as high as -180, so shopping around on the early lines could save you a bit.

The Kansas City Royals are miles ahead of the Minnesota Twins in the American League Central. The Royals are virtually assured of being division champions and playing in the American League Division Series. The Minnesota Twins can only make the playoffs if they can qualify for the American League Wild Card Game. The Twins are almost certain to not be the first wild card team, but they can definitely be the second one. They trail the Texas Rangers by a narrow margin in that race and want to at least keep pace this week, if not gain ground. Being able to win two of three in Kansas City against the Royals would be a big step in the right direction. The Royals, though, are not likely to make things easy for Minnesota.


Neither team has momentum within the context of the series, so we have too look a bit deeper when trying to find the best value for our MLB picks in this situation. The teams have split the first two installments of this three-game set, with Minnesota having much more to play for but Kansas City wanting to stay sharp and focused in the weeks leading up to the start of the playoffs. Beyond this week, though, momentum is more with the Twins, but really not to any meaningful extent. It’s more a case of the Royals having less momentum rather than the Twins having more. Both teams lost their weekend series, but the Royals were swept in theirs while Minnesota merely lost two out of three in Houston against the Astros. Give a small edge to Minnesota here, but not one which really means anything.


Pitching Matchup
With Mike Pelfrey on the mound, the Twins have a starting pitcher who has largely struggled and lost ground after being a lot better and more consistent earlier in the season. Pelfrey had an ERA of 3.65 in the first week of August, but that number has swelled to 4.17 with a 1.46 WHIP based on a series of lousy performances in recent months, two of which involved the surrendering of seven runs. Pelfrey also gave up four runs in 3 2/3 innings on August 29. Pelfrey is giving hitters too many good looks. He’s given up at least seven hits in four of his last six outings. That’s just too many. He has to be able to get hitters to swing and miss more often.

Kansas City goes with Kris Medlen, the pitcher who was excellent for the Atlanta Braves two years ago but then suffered an injury which sidetracked him and his career. The Royals picked him up recently and gave him a chance to be a back end rotation guy who will probably be the long relief man in the playoffs when the Royals start the defense of their American League pennant. Medlen has sparkled in relief appearances, of which he’s made seven, but since he became a starter, his three starts have been okay at best, bad at worst. Medlen’s pitched into the sixth inning but not beyond in all three starts, giving up three runs in two of them and seven in his most recent one. He looks like a pitcher the Twins can get to.


What’s The Pick?
The weakness of Medlen plus the urgency of the Twins relative to the Royals makes Minnesota the more attractive pick here.

MLB Pick: Minnesota +159 at 5Dimes

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