Royals vs. Yankees Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: New York Offense Will Finally Get on Track (June 24)

Royals vs. Yankees Betting Odds, Pick, Prediction: New York Offense Will Finally Get on Track (June 24) article feature image
Credit:

Rich Schultz/Getty Images. Pictured: Giancarlo Stanton.

  • The Royals go for their second straight series win against an AL East team against the Yankees on Thursday afternoon.
  • New York has struggled some at the plate this season, but Kansas City's Brad Keller is also having a rough go on the mound.
  • Tanner McGrath explains below why he thinks the Yankees may feast early on the Kansas City pitcher.

Royals vs. Yankees Odds

Royals Odds +160
Yankees Odds -195
Over/Under 9.5
Time Thursday, 1:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB Network
Odds as of Wednesday and via DraftKings

After a wildly entertaining couple of games, the Royals and the Yankees will play for the series in this afternoon matinee.

Both teams have been poor recently, although New York has been under much more scrutiny. Given this, the Yanks must be shaking in their boots at the thought of losing a home series to the Royals.

Therefore, I want to back the Yankees in the Rubber Match. We just have to find the angle with the most value.

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Royals Pitching Staff Is Achilles Heel

With all their season-long struggles, the Royals have been scrappy recently.

The Royals had lost 12 of 15 before this series. That said, they did just take 2 of 3 from the Red Sox. #yankees

— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) June 24, 2021

After winning that Boston series, Kansas City stole a game at Yankee Stadium in a Gerrit Cole start. The lineup has been getting it done recently, as the Royals rank among the top-10 teams in OPS (.769) and wOBA (.335) over the past week.

Salvador Perez continues to add to his All-Star campaign. Since June 1, Perez is batting .316 and slugging .671 with an OPS above 1.000. He’s got eight homers and 14 RBIs in that stretch as well.

The Royals pitching, however, is downright shameful. They’ve been one of the worst bullpens recently (5.63 FIP and 1.50 WHIP over last seven days), and three of their starters rank among the bottom 13 of qualified pitchers in expected slugging. That includes today’s starter:

Starting pitcher: Brad Keller (RHP)

Brad Keller has a 6.34 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP — extraordinarily high numbers. However, his expected statistics show he really should be performing worse.

By all accounts, Keller is one of the worst pitchers in baseball. He’s posted the eighth highest xERA (6.75), the eighth highest xwOBA (.392) and the seventh highest xBA (.310). After allowing a barrel rate under 6% the past three seasons, that number is up to 10.1%, and he’s allowing an average exit velocity over 91 mph.

But at least he’s been consistent! He’s gone 5 or 5 1/3 innings and allowed five or six runs in each of his last three starts, all Royals losses. However, on the season, the Royals are 8-7 in Keller starts, as the lineup is averaging over five runs per game in his outings.

Keller’s a sinkerballer, and that pitch has been getting lit up (.355 BA, .399 wOBA). However, his worst pitch has been his four-seam fastball (.577 SLG, .416 wOBA).

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Yankees Still Stuck In Neutral

People in the Bronx are disappointed in their Bombers.

Losing a home game to the Royals in a Gerrit Cole start was bad enough, and the sky would have fallen if it wasn’t for a late-game rally Wednesday night. The Yankees are only 10-10 in their last 20 games and are four games back of both the AL East and the AL Wildcard.

My theory: As Giancarlo Stanton goes, the Yankees go. And Stanton has been struggling lately. Over his past 22 games, Stanton has posted just a .193 average and a .681 OPS with 30 strikeouts.

Despite Zack Britton and Aroldis Chapman struggling last night, the bullpen has been great. The Yankees relievers have been arguably the best in the game all season, and they rank third in FIP over the past seven days (2.39).

Starting pitcher: Jameson Taillon (RHP)

Taillon is definitely due for some positive regression. He pairs his 5.59 ERA with a 4.18 xERA and a 4.48 xFIP. He’s striking out more batters than ever (9.78 K/9) and the xBA on his four-seamer (Taillon’s most-used pitch) is hovering around the Mendoza line.

But Taillon hasn’t been an awesome pitcher this season, and his batted ball statistics are the highest of his career (10.7% barrel rate, 90.3 mph average exit velocity). The Yankees also have just a 4-9 record in his starts this season.

At the least, Taillon is a consistent arm in the back-half of that rotation. Plus, Taillon’s been great at home this season, where he’s posted a 3.29 ERA and a 1.02 WHIP in eight starts. Three of those aforementioned wins came at Yankee Stadium.

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Royals-Yankees Pick

The Yankees have been rather pathetic in this series. Do we think they are going to lay down again Thursday afternoon?

It’s been a weird series, so I don’t care to mess with the Yankees as a big favorite (-185) or the Royals as a big underdog (+150). But I do believe the Yankees offense comes out with some firepower today, and I believe their team total over is the best bet.

I don’t need to re-iterate how bad Keller has been. But I can point out the Yankees have a matchup advantage here. As mentioned, Keller relies primarily on his sinker, and the Yankees rank fourth this season in weighted sinker runs created.

I’m hoping the Yankees get to Keller and his sinker early, but if they don’t, they should plate some runs against this underperforming and exhausted Royals bullpen. The Royals starter went just 3 2/3 innings in game one and then 2 innings in game two, leaving the rest of the series up to the ‘pen. With Keller on the mound, you know Mike Matheny is currently hunting for any arm to give him innings in this finale.

You can play the Yankees TT o4.5 at -155 and at 5.5 at +105. I feel very comfortable playing either of those lines, and I’ve already bet the latter.

Pick: Yankees TT o5.5 (+105)

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