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Saturday’s MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Rangers: Sluggish Texas Offense To Take Hacks Against Kansas City Bullpen (June 26)

Saturday’s MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Royals vs. Rangers: Sluggish Texas Offense To Take Hacks Against Kansas City Bullpen (June 26) article feature image

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Solak

  • The Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers meet on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.
  • Texas sends its ace, Kyle Gibson, to the mound against what will be a bullpen day for Kansas City.
  • Kevin Davis breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.

Royals vs. Rangers Odds

Royals Odds +135
Rangers Odds -160
Over/Under 8
Time 3:05 p.m. ET
TV Fox Sports 1
Odds as of Saturday and via BetMGM

The Texas Rangers and the Kansas City Royals have much in common. Aside from the start of each team’s nickname, they both have losing records and are likely looking ahead to the trade deadline and what the 2022 season will bring. The Rangers are 28-48 and in last place in the AL West. The Royals are 33-41 and are in third place in the AL Central.

For Saturday’s nationally televised game, Texas is relying on its best pitcher, Kyle Gibson, and Kansas City is relying on its bullpen. Because of the presence of Gibson, the Rangers’ lineup, and Globe Life Field being a pitcher’s park, the run total has been set relatively low at only eight runs.

Let’s take a look at the matchup and see where we can find an edge on either side or the total.

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It’s A Bullpen Day For Kansas City

The Royals’ starting rotation is depleted and as a result, they are relying on their bullpen to pitch the whole game. The “opener” who will be used is Kyle Zimmer who has a 3-0 record, a cool mustache, and a 2.48 ERA. However, Zimmer has a 4.04 xFIP and is only likely to pitch for about two innings or so.

Outside of Zimmer, Kansas City’s bullpen is poorly positioned to handle such a heavy load. The Royals’ bullpen has a 4.60 xFIP, which is the fifth-worst in the league. Over the last two weeks, Kansas City’s relievers have a 5.21 xFIP, which is the third-worst in the league. Despite a lackluster bullpen, the Royals may have a chance against a Rangers lineup that has been equally inept for the better part of the season.

Backing up KC’s pitching is a lineup that has been decent this season. The average MLB team is scoring 4.41 runs per game, and the Royals are right around league-average at 4.27 runs per game.

Against Gibson, they have a decent shot if the likes of Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana and Whit Merrifield can do damage. All three grade out as above-average offensively, and Perez and Santana in particular can be dangerous against right-handed pitching.

Rangers’ Lineup Lacks Punch

Unlike Kansas City, Texas has reliable pitching for Saturday’s game. Gibson who has been a rose among thorns in the Rangers’ rotation. He has a 5-0 record with a 2.17 ERA, and a 4.09 xFIP.

While Gibson should be allowing almost two more runs per nine innings than he is currently allowing, he quietly is having the best season of his nine-year career. Gibson is averaging almost six innings per start, so should be able to go deep into Saturday’s start and keep the pressure off of the Rangers’ bullpen.

Backing up Gibson is a lackluster Rangers lineup. Texas is averaging 4.04 runs per game, which is the fewest in the AL West and the third-worst in the American League.

Even though the Rangers have a few strong offensive players, their lineup has been hurt by Joey Gallo and Nick Solak poorly performing this season. In a typical home game this season, my model projects the Texas lineup to score 3.5 runs. This is due in part to the lackluster lineup, but also to the team’s home ballpark, which has played as particularly pitcher-friendly.

Royals-Rangers Pick

Texas should win a low-scoring game based on their edge in the pitching matchup. However, based on how bad the Rangers lineup has been, my model gives a slight edge to the Royals as heavy underdogs.

Even though my model picks the Royals, it is not enough of an edge to justify betting on them given their uncertainty on the mound on Saturday. Instead, the best strategy is to bet against the Rangers’ lineup.

Most sportsbooks have set the Texas run total at 4.5 runs and my model leans to the under. However, because my model can simulate games 10,000 times, there is more value in the alternate run totals for Saturday’s game. BetMGM has a wide array of alternate run totals on MLB games, and the best one I found is for the Rangers to score under 5.5 runs at -200 odds.

Obviously the odds are steep, but the juice is worth the squeeze. In 73.4% of my simulations, the Rangers scored fewer than 5.5 runs. At -200, it is a better bet than under 4.5 runs at -130. I would bet the under 5.5 runs up to -230. If under 5.5 runs is unavailable, I would bet under 4.5 runs up to -130.

Pick: Texas Rangers Team Run Total Under 5.5 Runs (-200) (BetMGM) would bet up to -230 or under 4.5 runs up to -130

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