Tigers vs Royals Predictions | MLB Odds, Picks (Monday)

Tigers vs Royals Predictions | MLB Odds, Picks (Monday) article feature image

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Riley Greene.

Tigers vs Royals Odds, Predictions

Monday, May 20
7:40 p.m. ET
Detroit Tigers Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-118o / -102u
Kansas City Royals Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-118o / -102u
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers meet for their second series this season on Monday at Kauffman Stadium. The Tigers took two of three at Comerica Park in late April.

The Royals have been a surprising story early on — they currently hold an AL Wild Card spot and are 1 1/2 games back of the first-place Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. Coming off a three-game sweep of the Oakland Athletics, Kansas City opened as a small favorite on Monday night.

Tigers vs Royals odds have the Royals as -112 moneyline favorites, with an over/under of 8.5 (-118o /-102u). Find out why I think the wrong team is favored in my MLB betting preview below.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Detroit Tigers

Reese Olson does not get the same fanfare as his rotation mates, but he is quietly turning into a high-end starting pitcher. In his debut season in 2023, Olson racked up 103 strikeouts over 103 2/3 innings (21 appearances; 18 starts) and had a more than serviceable 3.99 ERA.

He had to battle this spring just to earn his spot in the rotation, but he has flourished with a 2.09 ERA over eight starts. Despite allowing just 11 earned runs in more than 47 1/3 innings, he has not gotten much run support and has an 0-4 record. The Tigers have scored just 17 runs in Olson’s starts.

Olson has a five-pitch mix, mostly relying on his fastball, slider and changeup. Each pitch has held opponents below a .145 batting average and his changeup sports a 48.8% whiff rate. He induces ground balls 54.6% of the time and has cut his barrel rate in half from last season.

Detroit’s offense got off to a bit of a slow start this season but has picked things up as of late. The Tigers rank 12th in wOBA and wRC+ over the last two weeks.

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Kansas City Royals

Getting the start for the Royals is right-hander Michael Wacha. The veteran has posted a 4.71 ERA through his first nine starts as a member of Kansas City.

Wacha overperformed his metrics greatly in each of the last two seasons. In 2022, he posted a 3.32 ERA but had a 4.56 xERA. In 2023, he had a 3.22 ERA and a 4.27 xERA. His good fortune appears to have finally run out.

He fails to miss bats and his walk rate continues to rise each season. While he has a good changeup, Wacha’s fastball has been crushed to a .413 average and .470 wOBA. In his nine starts, Wacha has allowed at least two runs in seven of them.

Kansas City’s offense is severely top heavy. Bobby Witt Jr. is a legitimate AL MVP candidate and Salvador Perez continues to defy time, but after that, this lineup drops off a cliff. Witt and Perez are the only two starters with a wRC+ above 100.

Tigers vs. Royals

Betting Pick & Prediction

Olson is a pitcher I am very high on and Wacha is a pitcher I often look to fade.

Olson has one bad start this season. Otherwise, he has allowed just one run or fewer in six of his eight starts. He has surrendered just two earned runs in his last four starts, racking up 23 strikeouts. He went eight scoreless innings in his last outing.

When these two teams met less than a month ago, Olson allowed just one run and three hits over seven innings and struck out eight.

Wacha finally has his ERA up where his expected indicators have been for the last few years. He has allowed 51 hits with just 44 strikeouts this season. Detroit tagged him for four runs with a pair of home runs less than a month ago.

The Tigers lineup has been hitting the ball well over the last month and the trio of Riley Greene, Kerry Carpenter and Spencer Torkelson make for a dangerous top of the order.

This matchup plays into the favorable splits for Detroit, as the Tigers are much better against right-handed pitchers. They rank third in the league in wRC+ against right-handed pitching over the last two weeks.

Detroit has the better bullpen, the better starting pitcher and I also give them a slight edge on offense. With the way the offense has been hitting right-handed pitchers recently, they will finally give Olson enough run support to earn a victory.

Pick: Tigers Moneyline (+100; FanDuel)

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