Mariners vs. Twins MLB Odds & Picks: Minnesota’s Bats Should Have Big Game (Thursday, April 8)
Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images. Pictured: Nelson Crus of the Twins.
- With a 4-2 record, Minnesota still looks like the team to beat in the AL Central.
- While Seattle will likely be in the basement of the AL West, its best pitcher gets the nod on Thursday.
- Kevin Davis explains why he still thinks the Twins are in for a good day at the plate.
Mariners vs. Twins Odds
|Time||Thursday, 4:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday evening and via William Hill|
For the past two seasons, the Minnesota Twins won the AL Central. So far, the Twins have gotten off to a hot start and lead the division with a 4-2 record. On Thursday, Minnesota hosts Seattle in what should be a lopsided game. The Mariners are a perpetual AL West botto- dweller, and this season they continue to rebuild. Appropriately, the Twins have opened as -180 moneyline favorites.
According to my model, the Twins should be -181 favorites, so there is no money to be won in the long term in taking their moneyline. However, their team total has been set too low and that is why I am betting on the Twins to score over 4.5 runs at +105 odds.
On Thursday, the Mariners are relying on the ace of their rotation, Marco Gonzales, to pitch. Last season Gonzales had a 7-2 record and a 3.10 ERA, which is an impressive feat on a losing team. However, Gonzales had an xFIP of 4.13 suggesting that his ERA was as low as it was partially because of luck.
While Gonzales at best may be an average pitcher, his biggest strength is his stamina as he averaged around 6 1/3 innings per start last season. His stamina may not help him too much, as Gonzales pitched six innings in his lone start this season giving up eight hits, three home runs, three walks and five earned runs.
Fangraphs ZIPS project Gonzales to have a 4.40 ERA this season. Baseball Prospectus PECOTA project him to have a 4.80 DRA this season. With a weak bullpen backing up Gonzales and a strong Twins lineup, I believe that the Twins shouldn’t have any trouble scoring runs.
The biggest reason why the Twins are heavily favored to beat the Mariners is because of the strength of their starting pitcher José Berríos. While Berrios is a better pitcher than Gonzales, the Twins lineup is the other reason that they should be favored.
Even though 3B Josh Donaldson is out with an injury to start the season, the Twins lineup is still dangerous without him. Last season Donaldson had a 129 wRC+, meaning that he produced 29% more runs than the average position player. However, Donaldson’s replacement in the lineup, Willians Astudillo, is an above-average offensive player as well. Astudillo’s nickname is La Tortuga which is Spanish for the tortoise. While Astudillo is not a power hitter who walks often, he finds creative ways to get hits proving that the tortoise always wins the race.
My model projects the Twins lineup with Astudillo to produce 5.12 runs on a typical night, and I believe they are helped by the fact that they are going against weak Mariners pitching on Thursday night. With DH Nelson Cruz and 1B Miguel Sanó, the Twins can easily create runs at any moment in the game. Currently OF Jake Cave is the only below-average offensive player in the Twins lineup.
Against mediocre Seattle Mariners pitching, the Twins should score plenty of runs. While the Twins should also easily win, there is not value in their moneyline at -180. If it drops to -165, I will take it. In the meantime, I am betting that the Twins score more than 4.5 runs at +105.
Pick: Minnesota Twins Over 4.5 Runs (+105) (William Hill) would play up to -110 or Over 4 Runs -125 (if available)
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