The Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers wrap up their three-game series at Comerica Park in Detroit on Sunday afternoon, so here’s the best betting pick for their AL Central showdown along with the latest odds on PointsBet Sportsbook.
The Tigers surprisingly won the previous two games, outlasting the Indians 3-2 as +155 dogs in the opener and 5-2 as +147 dogs in the middle contest of this series. Still, Cleveland opened as a slight -130 fave for Sunday’s clash, while Detroit sits at +120 odds.
After a narrow win over Bieber, the Tigers put on a strong offensive performance on Saturday
The Detroit Tigers faced off against the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner on an Opening Day, scoring all three runs off Shane Bieber through the first two innings of the clash. They finished with just five hits, but the Tigers improved Saturday and scored five runs on ten hits.
Last season, the Tigers were 22nd in baseball in runs scored per game (4.29) and 20th in slugging percentage (.397). They were yielding a whopping 5.48 runs per contest (28th in the MLB), so the Tigers can be pleased with their pitching through the first two games of the new season.
In his first season in the majors, Tarik Skubal posted a 5.63 ERA and 1.22 WHIP, finishing 2020 with a 1-4 record. The 23-year-old southpaw had a 37/11 K/BB ratio in 32 innings of work, but Skubal didn’t meet the Indians last season.
The Indians’ offensive woes continue
The Cleveland Indians made it to the AL Wild Card Series last season, but their offense was one of the worst in baseball. The Indians ranked 26th in runs scored per game (4.13), 23rd in batting average (.228), and 26th in slugging percentage as well.
Francisco Lindor left Cleveland in the offseason, making the Indians’ offense even worse, so it’s no strange they struggled mightily in each of their first two games of the new season. Shane Bieber fanned 12 in the opener, and Zach Plesac looked fine in six innings of work on Saturday, but the Indians desperately need more from their offense.
Aaron Civale will take the hill for the Indians on Sunday, and the 24-year-old right-hander went 4-6 in 12 starts last season, sporting a 4.74 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. He met the Tigers once and tossed six innings in a 10-5 victory, yielding four earned runs on eight hits and a walk.
- 5-12 in the last 17 games overall
- 3-13 in the last 16 home tilts against Cleveland
- 15-5 in the last 20 games against Detroit
The Indians desperately need to bounce back as soon as possible. They’ll be fired up to hit hard in the closing contest of the series, and after a couple of awful displays, this could be the Indians’ day.
The Tigers’ bullpen is far away from an elite level. Detroit’s relievers posted a 4.94 ERA in 2020 (25th in the MLB) and were one of the weakest spots in the Tigers’ game, so picking the Indians at -130 seems tempting. Cleveland led the majors in runs allowed per game last year (3.48).
Pick: Take Cleveland Indians at -130
Considering the Indians’ sterile offense, I have to take the under on the totals. Cleveland’s pitching staff is one of the best in baseball, and after they’ve allowed eight runs in the previous two games, the Indians could easily shut down the Tigers in this one.
Cleveland to win remains my best betting pick here, while the betting trends suggest the under this Sunday. Four of Cleveland’s last five road games went in the under, as well as four of Detroit’s previous five outings at home. Also, the under is 4-1 in the last five encounters between the Indians and Tigers.
Pick: Go under 8.5 runs at -120