Indians vs. Tigers Odds & Pick: Bet on a Pitchers’ Duel Thursday Night

Indians vs. Tigers Odds & Pick: Bet on a Pitchers’ Duel Thursday Night article feature image
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Brace Hemmelgarn, Getty Images.

  • Two of MLB's most exciting young pitchers will meet on Thursday night in a game that features a pair of lackluster offenses.
  • Find out how our baseball betting analyst BJ Cunningham is projecting and betting this matchup with his pick below.

Indians vs. Tigers Odds

Indians Odds -190 [Bet Now]
Tigers Odds +170 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 7.5 (-104/-117) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET

Odds updated as of Thursday at 2 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


The Cleveland Indians have now lost eight games in a row and have fallen to the No. 8 seed in the American League playoff picture.

The Indians will turn to their ace, Shane Bieber, to get them back on track on Thursday. He will take on former No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize.


Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Cleveland Indians

Cleveland’s offense has been awful this season, checking in with a .301 wOBA and 84 wRC+. In fact, Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes are the only two Indians with a wOBA over .350. The rest of their lineup will need to pick up their level of play if they are going to be a threat in the playoffs.

The Indians have particularly struggled against right-handed pitchers, posting a .228 batting average and a .305 wOBA against righties this season.

Indians Probable Starter

Shane Bieber, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Shane Bieber has been the best pitcher in baseball this season. He leads all qualified starters with a 1.93 xFIP and a 14.2 K/9 rate.

The reason he’s been so good is because he’s made a commitment to throwing his off-speed pitches more often. In 2019, he threw his fastball 45.7% of the time, whereas in 2020, he’s down to  throwing it only 36.3% of the time.

His fastball is a little above average — it has average velocity — but he’s been on point with his location. His fastball is producing a 22.8% whiff rate this year, compared to only a 13.7% whiff rate in 2019.

Bieber’s curveball and slider have produced terrific results in 2020. He’s only allowed 13 hits against his curveball and slider, which he’s thrown a combined 399 times. That translates to a .121 batting average against those two pitches. The Tigers offense struggles against off-speed pitches, so Bieber should have a good matchup tonight.

Detroit Tigers

Detroit’s offense, which ranks 24th in wOBA, has been especially bad over the past two weeks, accumulating a .268 wOBA and 64 wRC+.

The Tigers have been somewhat one-dimensional this season, as they are crushing fastballs (15.7 weighted fastball runs) but are struggling against every other pitch type. Bieber throws his fastball more than any other pitch, so the Tigers will need to make those opportunities count.

Tigers Probable Starter

Casey Mize, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Mize was the the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft. He’s been lights out in the minors over the past few years, posting a 3.13 xFIP in AA last year. Mize’s best pitch is by far his splitter. It has good velocity with drop-off-the-table action as it reaches the plate, making it almost impossible to hit.

Casey Mize, Dirty 88mph Splitter…and Sword. ⚔️ pic.twitter.com/qggigf0jzv

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 12, 2020

He also has an above-average fastball that sits 93-95 MPH and tops out at 97 MPH. His ability to command his heater around the plate allows his splitter to be incredibly effective. Throw in a solid slider and Mize has himself a good arsenal that he commands very well.

Although Mize has struggled through his first 20 innings in the majors (4.93 xFIP), he has the stuff to be able to shut down the Indians lackluster offense tonight.

Bullpens

Cleveland’s bullpen has been solid all season long, posting a 4.41 xFIP, which ranks 10th in the MLB. Detroit’s bullpen has been below average this season, ranking in the bottom half of MLB, with a 5.26 ERA and 4.68 xFIP.

Projections and Pick

With two fantastic starters and two lackluster offenses, this game has the perfect recipe for an Under. Additionally, its going to be a little colder than normal, with the game-time temperature sitting at 60 degrees.

I am going to look at an alternate total for some better odds and back Under 7 runs at +112 and I would bet it down to +105.

Pick: Under 7 runs (+112)

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