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Royals vs. Tigers MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet AL Central Matchup (Tuesday, May 11)

Royals vs. Tigers MLB Odds & Picks: How to Bet AL Central Matchup (Tuesday, May 11) article feature image

Jason Miller/Getty Images and Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images. Pictured, from left: Brady Singer #51 of the Kansas City Royals and Matthew Boyd #48 of the Detroit Tigers.

  • Kansas City and Detroit meet on Tuesday in an all-important AL Central division game.
  • The Royals and Tigers met on April 24, featuring the same two starting pitcher's from Tuesday's matchup: Brady Singer and Matthew Boyd.
  • MLB betting analyst Mike Vitanza analyzes the matchup, breaks down odds for Tuesday's game and delivers his pick for Tuesday's pitching rematch between AL Central rivals.

Royals vs. Tigers Odds

Royals Odds-140
Tigers Odds+120
Time7:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of early Tuesday morning and via PointsBet.

The Kansas City Royals (16-17) and Detroit Tigers (10-24) begin a three-game series on Tuesday night at Comerica Park. The pair of division rivals each strive to gain ground the Chicago White Sox, who currently sit atop the AL Central with a 19-13 record.

Detroit sits in last place in the division — already 10 games behind first place. Meanwhile, Kansas City remains within striking distance at just 3.5 games behind Chicago.

When the Tigers and Royals last met near the end of April, they delivered a pitcher’s duel that ended in a 2-1 Royals victory. Will we witness a similar result tonight, or should we expect to see the bats break out in Detroit?

Kansas City Royals

Brady Singer will make his seventh start of the season on Tuesday night. He struggled in his last outing, allowing three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings. Singer's recent dud notwithstanding, he has generally performed aptly this season. To date, he has pitched to a 3.45 FIP and struck out batters at a strong clip of 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9).

Furthermore, he has limited opponents to a 26.3% Hard Hit rate while also avoiding the long ball, allowing only 0.67 HR/9. However, Singer has had trouble limiting walks: He has allowed 3.41 walks per nine innings (BB/9) thus far.

Singer faces a Tigers team that has had limited success against right-handed pitching, ranking 24th in MLB with a .295 wOBA vs. right-handers.

Kansas City will rely on Singer to pitch deep into the ballgame vs. Detroit, just as he did in the teams' previous matchup in April. In that outing, Singer delivered seven strong innings, striking out eight batters and allowing only one earned run.

The Royals bullpen hasn’t been awful, but it has struggled a fair amount. Kansas City's relief-pitchers have collectively pitched to a 4.57 FIP — the eighth-highest mark in baseball.

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Detroit Tigers

Matthew Boyd looks to build on his early season success when he takes the hill for the Tigers at home on Tuesday night.

Boyd’s season numbers are outstanding. Over 35 2/3 innings, the southpaw has pitched to a 2.96 FIP and allowed just 0.25 HR/9.

However, his 4.96 xFIP tells a very different story.

First, it's important to understand the difference between Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) and Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP). While xFIP uses a projected home run rate based on league averages, FIP uses a pitcher’s actual home run rate.

Since Boyd’s 2021 home run rate is so low, his FIP looks very impressive. However, when we investigate Boyd’s performance in previous seasons, his current home run rate seems conspicuous. Simply put, Boyd has allowed home runs at a much higher rate in the past.

In fact, in 2019 and 2020, he allowed 1.89 HR/9 and 2.24 HR/9, respectively. Based on his past performance, we can expect the home run rate to pick up at some point in the near future.

The regression monster likely looms for Boyd, but Kansas City is not particularly well-equipped to take advantage. The Royals have struggled against left-handed pitching, collectively hitting to a .282 wOBA against southpaws (fifth-worst in MLB).

Boyd was unequivocally effective against this same Royals lineup in his last outing, allowing three hits and one earned run in eight full innings. Detroit likely needs Boyd to deliver a similarly lengthy outing again on Tuesday in order to avoid the Tigers' league-worst bullpen for as long as possible. Detroit's relievers have allowed a 5.59 FIP to opposing batters in 117 2/3 innings of action (per FanGraphs).

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Royals-Tigers Pick

The Tigers have been hitting the ball well of-late, averaging 6.4 runs per game over their past five games. Still, Detroit ranks near the bottom of the league against right-handed pitching. Plus, the Tigers must contend with a pitcher (Singer) that has already dominated them once this season.

Despite some negative regression likely coming his way in the near future, Boyd has been even better so far in 2021. Like Singer, he also dominated this opponent in the last meeting between Detroit and Kansas City. Boyd will also be taking on a Royals team that has been one of the worst in baseball against lefties.

That said, the bullpens on each side do add an extra layer of risk. I believe we’ll see another low-scoring affair on Tuesday, but I’m limiting my action to a half-unit.

Give me the under at the current number. If it falls any lower, however, I’m staying away.

Pick: Under 7.5 runs (+100)

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