Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Tigers and Royals Get Their Offenses on Track?
Pictured: Mike Moustakas (left) and Jorge Soler (right). Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports
Despite some unnecessary sweating late in my Pirates-Brewers Under 8.5 bet, we managed to pull it out by a half-run and extend the winning streak to four. That puts me in position to pull off my third weekend sweep on the young season, so let’s zone in on my Sunday play.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 22-11-2, +9.9 units
Yesterday’s Result: Pirates-Brewers Under 8.5, Taillon vs. Chacin (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Detroit Tigers @ Kansas City Royals | O/U: 9
2:15 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Matthew Boyd (1-2, 2.48 ERA) vs. Jakob Junis (3-2, 3.29 ERA)
After a high-scoring affair to open up this AL Central four-game series, the Tigers and Royals have engaged in two quiet bouts that yielded a combined 11 runs over Friday and Saturday. Will the lack of offense continue in the finale between these two light-hitting clubs?
I believe it will. First, you have my No. 1 sleeper entering the 2018 season involved in the pitching matchup, Jakob Junis, who has continued to pitch well into the season’s second month. Junis rebounded nicely from one of the worst outings of his young career (5 HR allowed to the White Sox) by registering a quality start in Boston (two runs in six innings) opposite ace Chris Sale.
Junis gets an easier test this time around, and one he has already aced two times previously this season. In his first two games against Detroit, Junis went at least seven innings in each, giving up a combined two runs over 15 total innings. Nicholas Castellanos, Victor Martinez, Jose Iglesias and Leonys Martin are a combined 4-for-33 (.121) off Junis, and there’s no Miguel Cabrera to bail them out, as he’s currently on the disabled list.
Castellanos isn’t in the starting lineup either, and as someone betting the under, I like that their 4-through-6 hitters today consist of John Hicks, JaCoby Jones and Niko Goodrum. In other words, it’s all dead bats in key parts of the batting order. That should hopefully prevent Junis from being bit by the long ball: The Tigers have hit the second-fewest homers in all of baseball.
It’s not hard to see why Detroit has been a hot team for under bets, going 8-2 over their past 10 in this department. Both of Junis’ first two meetings with the Tigers went under, too.
Pitcher Matthew Boyd also has some recent experience with this opponent, as he faced them in his first start of the campaign on April 3. The outcome is everything this 27-year-old could have hoped for to kick off his season — other than taking a 1-0 defeat — as he recorded six innings of one-run ball and allowed just four baserunners.
The four-year veteran has actually been one of the more underrated hurlers in baseball up to this point, as he’s surrendered exactly one run in four of his five starts. In the process, opposing hitters have mustered just a .217 batting average across his 29 innings of work. Clearly, Boyd is doing something right, as according to Fangraphs’ metrics, he’s permitted a fairly low 26.4% hard contact on his pitches put in play, which would easily rank as his career best if it ended there. He’ll have a favorable matchup, as well: The Royals are scoring the third-fewest runs per game among all 30 clubs.
Two offenses with relatively low ceilings taking on two starters who are trending up, and in a pitcher’s park to boot. Thus, I think we’ll have enough to work with for an Under 9. Be sure to shop around for the best line, as there were a few 9s still out there at the time of publication (namely at BetOnline, Bovada and Pinnacle).
Play: UNDER 9 (-120)