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MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Twins vs. Indians Preview (Tuesday, April 27)

MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Twins vs. Indians Preview (Tuesday, April 27) article feature image

Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Ramirez.

  • The Minnesota Twins are falling fast, seven games back of first place in the AL Central.
  • The Indians, meanwhile, are staying afloat, still four games back of first place after beating the Twins on Monday.
  • Kevin Davis explains why he's backing Cleveland as a home underdog on Tuesday night.

Twins vs. Indians Odds

Twins Odds -122
Indians Odds +104
Over/Under 7.5
Time Tuesday, 6:10 p.m. ET
Odds as of Monday and via FanDuel

This week, there is a pivotal American League Central series between the Minnesota Twins and the Cleveland Indians.

Before the season, the Twins the second favorites, behind the White Sox, to win the division with the Indians far behind one of the favorites to win the division while the Indians were longshots. Both have losing records. Cleveland is four games back of the first-place Royals, while Minnesota is seven back after losing nine of its last 11 games.

On the surface, Tuesday’s game should be the Twins’ to lose. Minnesota has the better lineup and is relying on starting pitcher Kenta Maeda. However, Maeda has not played well this year and the Indians are relying on a reliable starting pitcher of their own in Aaron Civale.

Let’s break down the second game of this series:

Minnesota Twins

The Twins opened the season with Maeda as the ace of their starting rotation. In his first year with Minnesota in 2020, Maeda had a 6-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and 2.63 xFIP. Most impressively, he averaged more than six innings per start.

This season has been the complete opposite for Maeda. In four starts, he has a 6.11 ERA and 6.68 xFIP while averaging fewer than 4 2/3 innings per start. In his last start against the A’s, Maeda allowed seven earned runs, eight hits and three home runs in just three innings. Even when you consider his previous starts, opposing batters are hitting .354 against him and have an on-base percentage of .407.

While Maeda is bound to regress to the mean from last season, it appears that based on his previous body of work in full seasons he is the type of pitcher to have an ERA around 4.00. On the road against Cleveland is not the best spot to bet on a turnaround.

My only worry about betting against the Twins is that shortstop Andrelton Simmons is returning to the Twins lineup this week. According to my model, Simmons’ return makes Minnesota 1.2% more likely to win on Tuesday. However, the Twins’ lineup should still struggle against Cleveland’s pitching.

Cleveland Indians

While pitching is a weakness for the Twins going into Tuesday night, it is a strength for the Indians.

In four starts, Cleveland starter Aaron Civale has a 3-0 record with a 2.42 ERA and 0.885 WHIP. Most impressively, he is averaging almost 6 2/3 innings per start. If Civale continues to pitch this well, then the Indians are not going to continue being home underdogs like they are on Tuesday night.

While pitching is a strong suit for Cleveland, its lineup is a perceived weakness. Currently, the Indians are averaging 3.8 runs per game, which is sixth lowest in the league. However, the Indians also have a team BABIP (batting average on balls in play) of .242, which is the lowest of all 30 MLB teams. Eventually, teams revert to the mean in BABIP, which is around .300. That is good news for Cleveland.

The Indians’ lineup contains third baseman José Ramírez, designated hitter Franmil Reyes and outfielder Eddie Rosario. That is why in the long run, my model projects Cleveland to average 1.4% more runs per game than the average MLB team. With an OK lineup and strong pitching, the Indians should field a competitive roster the rest of the season.

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Twins-Indians Pick

On Tuesday night, I like the Indians to win outright against the Twins. Cleveland has an edge in pitching and its lineup is decent. While the Twins have a strong batting order, they are vulnerable with Maeda on the mound.

I would bet the Indians up to +100 only because of the return of SS Andrelton Simmons to the Twins lineup. Both Minnesota and Cleveland are underperforming, but I trust Cleveland’s pitching in this spot more than I would trust Minnesota’s lineup.

Pick: Indians +104 (play to +100)

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