Guardians vs. Royals Odds, Pick & Preview: Can Shane Bieber, Zack Greinke Keep Underwhelming Offenses in Check? (April 7)
Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Ramirez
- Shane Bieber takes the mound for the Guardians for an Opening Day matchup with the Royals.
- Cleveland is favored against a Kansas City team that welcomes old friend Zack Greinke back for a late-career reunion.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Guardians vs. Royals Odds
|Time||4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
Opening Day has finally arrived and along with it is a dandy of a matchup in Kansas City as the Royals host the Cleveland Guardians.
We have a matchup of two former Cy Young winners on the mound as Shane Bieber makes his return from an injury-riddled 2021. However, his return is not the only one in this one, as Zack Grienke gets the nod for the Kansas City Royals after signing to return to the club with which he broke into the majors.
The weather may play a factor in this one as there is a slight chance of rain combined with gusts of over 20 mph from left to right. However, that may only help our angle. So, let’s dive into this matchup and start the year off on the right foot.
Look For Bieber’s Opening Day Trend to Continue
The 2020 AL Cy Young winner, Bieber will toe the slab for the third-consecutive Opening Day. He has had tremendous in the last two as he racked up 12 strikeouts in 2020 and then topped it with 14 in 2021.
Bieber is coming off a year where a shoulder injury derailed what looked to be another phenomenal season. In all, he finished with a 7-4 recorded and posted a 3.17 ERA.
His stuff was still as good as ever last season prior to his injury, as he was in the top six percent of the league in strikeout percentage and was in the bottom 14 percent of hard hits allowed.
He’ll be facing a Royals lineup that held the third-lowest strikeout percentage in the league, but their lineup tends to perform worse against Bieber historically. In 147 plate appearances against Bieber, the Royals lineup has combined for a reasonably impressive .348 xwOBA, but it also has a 29 percent K rate and a .259 expected batting average.
The two prominent bats that will be a concern for Bieber are Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield. However, they have been held in check against him as they’ve combined to go 11-for-34 with 12 punch outs and three extra-base hits.
Bieber’s spring training numbers were not pretty, but they can not be weighed heavily as he only threw 4 2/3 innings and did the majority of his work on the backfields. However, a good indicator from his two spring outings is that he recorded seven punch outs, which shows that his stuff is still right on par.
Are the Guardians Due to Knock Around Grienke?
Speaking of historical numbers, Grienke has dominated the projected Guardians lineup. The sample size may not be the largest, but it is still rather impressive. Over 62 plate appearances, Greinke has held the Guardians to a .186 batting average and .215 xwOBA.
Overall, the Cleveland offense was not the talk of the league last season, and there was not much turnover to change the offensive outlook for this season. The Guardians finished near the bottom third in nearly every offensive category and were 19th in wRC+.
There is not much support around Jose Ramirez, and the Royals bolstered the back of their bullpen with the addition of Amir Garrett, so there is some faith in the ‘pen in the event Greinke only goes five here.
While Grienke may have regressed mightily last season, even in a decline, he should have enough left in the tank to keep this lineup quiet for the first two times through.
Opening Day is typically flooded with aces, and this matchup is no different. While the gap between the two is rather large at this point, considering Grienke’s age and decline, they both have more than enough to contain these mediocre lineups.
Those projections show a ton of value in the under here as the men on the mound combined with the swirling winds of Kauffman Park should make runs come at a premium here.
Pick: Under 8.5 -115