MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Angels: Can Los Angeles Finish Series Sweep? (Wednesday, June 9)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Angels: Can Los Angeles Finish Series Sweep? (Wednesday, June 9) article feature image
Credit:

John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (17), left fielder Justin Upton (10).

  • The Kansas City Royals face the Los Angeles Angels Wednesday in the final game of their series.
  • The Angels (-143 betting odds) can pull off a sweep with a win, but the total is where our analyst is finding the most value.
  • Tanner McGrath previews the matchup, including how he's betting the over/under.

Royals vs. Angels Odds

Royals Odds +123
Angels Odds -143
Over/Under 9 (-114/-107)
Time 9:38 p.m. ET
TV ESPN
Odds as of Wednesday morning and via DraftKings.

After dominating the Kansas City Royals over the past two games, the Los Angeles Angels will go for the sweep tonight. Meanwhile, the Royals will be looking to avoid their fifth straight loss.

However, neither team should have confidence in their starting pitchers. These are two guys with a combined ERA well over 5.00.

Combine that with some dangerous offensive attacks, and I believe there’s a play on the total we can target.

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Pitching Has Been Brutal for the Royals

Following their epic 10-game losing streak, the Royals have battled their way back to .500.

However, after last night’s loss, the Royals have now lost four in a row. They’ve been outscored by 14 runs over their past four games as well.

But it isn’t the offense that’s lacking, the Royals have been a top-10 offense over the past two weeks (.748 OPS, .323 wOBA, 105 wRC+). Instead, the pitching staff has been a nightmare, as the starters rank third to last in FIP (6.75) and the relievers rank fourth to last in FIP (5.00) over the past week.

Kris Bubic and Jackson Kowar both had poor outings in this series in LA, and the bullpen allowed six runs in 11 innings of work.

Today’s starting pitcher, Brad Keller, doesn’t give Royals fans much hope, either. In his 2021 debut, Keller allowed six runs on nine hits and two walks against the Rangers, and he was pulled after 1 1/3 innings.

Since then, it hasn’t gotten much better for Keller. His 5.50 ERA and 1.71 WHIP are only trumped by his 6.53 xERA and his .391 xwOBA. Batters are barreling him at a 10.4% rate and he’s allowing an average exit velocity of 91.5 mph.

Keller’s been bad, and his expected statistics show he should be even worse. However, the Royals lineup has been kind to Keller recently, as they’ve supported him with 38 runs over his past five starts. The Royals won all five of those games.

Keller has become a sinker-heavy pitcher this season, throwing it a third of the time. However, opponents are batting .368 on the pitch with a .405 wOBA, so that hasn’t been the most effective strategy.

Angels Surviving Without Mike Trout

While the Angels are a laughable organization, their recent stretch of games has them back in the hunt (kind of). The Halos have won seven of their past 10, are only 6.5 games back of the division lead and 5.5 games back in the wildcard hunt.

Additionally, thanks to a 1-9 skid from the Rangers, the Angels are no longer in the cellar of the AL West.

Even without the great Mike Trout, the Angels offense has been cooking. The lineup has posted a .742 OPS over the past two weeks and an .888 OPS over the last seven days, both numbers that rank in the top 10 teams during that stretch.

Max Stassi and Justin Upton both rank in the top four among MLB players in OPS during the past seven days, with the two combining for seven home runs during that stretch. Additionally, Shohei Ohtani continues to play well, as he’s posted an OPS above 1.000 over his past 25 PAs.

Tonight’s starting pitcher, Griffin Canning, is a heavy fly-ball pitcher, as his career ground ball rate hovers around 35% and his career average launch angle is above 15 degrees. However, he also strikes out a quarter of batters faced and has been a generally effective pitcher.

But this year, more of those fly balls are leaving the park than ever before. His 23.4% HR/FB rate is nearly double his numbers from the prior two years. Therefore, his ERA (5.82) and FIP (5.52) are the highest of his career so far.

But his average exit velocity is right around career numbers (89.8 mph), and I think we can expect some positive regression from Canning soon. His xERA (4.51) and xFIP (4.10) are both more than a point lower than his actual numbers.

The only thing Canning has done differently this year is ditch his cutter. Instead, he’s been favoring the changeup and slider more. Neither pitch has been very effective, but advanced statistics suggest we should see positive regression on those pitches, specifically the slider (.197 xBA).

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Royals-Angels Pick

I really like the over in this spot.

Both offenses have been hitting well recently and can explode for runs at any time. The Angels are 4-1 to the over in their last five while the Royals are 6-2 to the over in their last eight.

Meanwhile, we have two meatball starting pitchers with very high statistics. These pitchers tend to pitch in high-scoring games as well, as Canning is 6-3 to the over in his starts this season while Keller is 6-5 to the over.

The Royals bullpen has been flat-out terrible, but the Angels bullpen has actually had a decent stretch of games, as they rank 11th in FIP over the past week (3.30). However, I would never trust the Halos bullpen in any situation, and their 3.98 xFIP indicates they should be due for some regression.

The Action PRO report shows we’ve tracked sharp money coming in on the over, and I’ll happily follow that and play the over 9 at -110 or better.

Pick: Over 9 -107 (Play to -110)

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