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MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians (Monday, Sept. 7)

MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Kansas City Royals vs. Cleveland Indians (Monday, Sept. 7) article feature image

Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images. Pictured: Zach Plesac #34 of the Cleveland Indians

  • The Kansas City Royals take on the Cleveland Indians in an AL Central matchup in Monday's MLB action.
  • With Zach Plesac and Brad Keller on the mound, bettors should look for a lower-scoring game.
  • Check out BJ Cunningham's full preview with updated odds for the multiple ways he's betting this total.

Royals vs. Indians Odds

Royals Odds +185 [Bet Now]
Indians Odds -230 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8 (-114/-107) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 6:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Monday at 4:10 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.

Cleveland will look to regain its lead in the AL Central, sending Zach Plesac to the mound to take on Brad Keller and the Royals. The Indians have won four of their last five and will need to keep the momentum going if they want to be crowned AL Central champions.

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.

Royals Projected Lineup

The Royals offense has been below average this season, putting up a .304 wOBA and 88 wRC+. It has been especially bad over the past two weeks, hitting a measly .217, with a .292 wOBA. Jorge Soler has been the Royals best hitter in 2020, hitting eight bombs and driving in 22 runs. However, Soler is questionable on Monday with right oblique soreness. His absence would be a blow to the Royals already inept lineup.

Royals Probable Starter

Brad Keller, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Keller has been fantastic so far this season, posting a 1.93 ERA. However, he’s been a bit fortunate as his xFIP is all the way up at 4.27. He’s been fantastic with his control, as he’s yet to give up a home run this season.

Last year, Keller struggled with his fastball and sinker, allowing a wOBA over .340 on both pitches. He’s been much better with those two pitches this year allowing a wOBA under .300.

Keller’s best pitch by far his is slider, as he’s used it for 16 of his 23 strikeouts. He’s improved the pitch from 2019, as opposing hitters have managed only a .111 average, which is 83 points lower than last season. As you can see, it has some nasty horizontal drop on it.

Brad Keller, Wicked 84mph Slider…and Sword. ⚔️

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 19, 2020

The Indians have struggled mightily versus both fastballs and sliders this season, so Keller should have a good matchup on Monday night.

Indians Projected Lineup

Cleveland’s offense has been awful this season, checking in with a .305 wOBA and 86 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 struggled versus right-handed pitchers, hitting a measly .227 average, with a .315 wOBA. Things won’t get much better against Keller on Monday night.

Indians Probable Starter

Zach Plesac, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Plesac has been one of the best starters in MLB this season. He has a 1.33 ERA and 2.89 xFIP through his first four starts of 2020. The reason he’s been so effective is because his secondary pitches have been almost unhittable. Opposing hitters have been able to manage only a .067 average against those pitches. Additionally, all three pitches are generating a whiff rate of more than 27% and have tallied 22 strikeouts in only 27 innings.

The Royals have struggled versus sliders, changeups and curveballs, so Plesac will have a favorable matchup against their lineup on Monday night.


The Royals bullpen has been solid so far this season, accumulating a 3.87 ERA as a group. Cleveland’s bullpen has been fantastic so far this season, ranking in the top 10 in both ERA and xFIP. Both bullpens shouldn’t be needed for very long on Monday and will have all of their main relievers available.

Projections and Pick

Two red-hot starting pitchers versus two mediocre offenses is a perfect recipe for an under. Since I have 7.06 runs projected for this game, I think there is some value on Under 4.5 runs for the first five innings at -115 and Under 8.5 runs for the game at -115.

I would play both numbers up to -125.

Picks: First five innings Under 4.5 runs (-115); Full game Under 8.5 (-115) [Bet now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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