Pirates vs Tigers Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Expert Picks for Wednesday, May 17

Pirates vs Tigers Prediction Today | MLB Odds, Expert Picks for Wednesday, May 17 article feature image

Pictured: Spencer Torkelson. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

  • The Tigers host the Pirates in the first game on Wednesday's MLB slate.
  • The moneyline juice is high in this matchup, but our MLB betting expert still found an actionable angle.
  • Continue reading to see why D.J. James is targeting the Tigers team total as they face the Pirates on Wednesday, May 17.

Pirates vs. Tigers Odds

Wednesday, May 17
1:10 p.m. ET
MLB Network
Pirates Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
+100 / -120
Tigers Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
+100 / -120
Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.
Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Eduardo Rodríguez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball and is an American League Cy Young Award candidate. On Wednesday, he faces off with Rich Hill and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Hill has been feasting off of good fortune, so these two starters could not be more dissimilar. The Pirates likely have an edge out of the bullpen, but this game will come down to starting pitching and hitting lefties — both of which favor the Tigers. This line is a bit steep for a betting recommendation, but the Tigers should cover their team total.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Hill is having an average season with a 4.35 ERA, which is pretty impressive for a 43-year-old. His xERA (6.58) is abysmal, though, and that's going to regress soon. Yes, the savvy veteran holds teams to weaker-than-average contact, ranking in the 60th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 53rd percentile in Hard Hit Rate. That said, he ranks in the seventh percentile in Barrel Rate, so batters are getting to him at times. Much of this weaker contact is also the result of curveball usage, which Hill uses nearly 40% of the time.

Offensively, the Pirates have struggled with a lefty on the mound. The Bucs rank 27th in wRC+ (75) against lefties in May. They may be walking over 10% of the time, but since Rodríguez rarely walks hitters, that's not much of a bonus. The Pirates also have a .642 OPS, so this is a horrible matchup. They do have five active players with a .330+ xwOBA off of southpaws this season, but will still likely struggle against Rodríguez.

The Pirates have an advantage in the bullpen, but take this with a grain of salt. They have a 4.12 bullpen xFIP, but that's artificially propped up by David Bednar. They have three other arms with a xFIP below 4.00, but the bullpen hasn't been the best in middle innings. Since Detroit should get to Hill, the Pirates will need to utilize their long-relief options.

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Detroit Tigers

Rodríguez has been great. He ranks in the 91st percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 93rd percentile in Hard Hit Rate. He doesn't throw hard, but he is inducing the weakest contact of his career. His 1.57 ERA is phenomenal, and his xERA, although higher, is at 2.60.

The Tigers have performed well when the opposition puts forth a lefty. They hold a 110 wRC+ with a 13.5% strikeout rate. They may only have a 5.4% walk rate, but the results have been great. An accompanying .764 OPS is not too bad either.

In relief, the Tigers take a back seat to the Pirates. They have an xFIP of 4.41 with a 7.8% walk rate. They have three active arms below a 4.00 xFIP, so they should have enough behind Rodríguez, who goes deep into games. He has gone at least seven innings in four of his starts, so if he could hand it to Alex Lange and company, Detroit will be in good shape.

Pirates vs. Tigers Betting Pick

This is a clear-cut option. The Tigers should hammer Hill, who will be grounded after mediocre results. His expected stats are atrocious and the Tigers should get to the Pirates middle relievers. Take the Detroit team total over 4 (-110), and play it to 4.5 (-125). The moneyline may also be a good bet, if you are willing to put up the juice.

Pick: Detroit Tigers Over 4 (-110) | Play to 4.5 (-125)

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