The Cleveland Indians and Detroit Tigers will close down a four-game set at Comerica Park in Detroit on Thursday, May 27, after playing a couple of three-game series earlier in the season. Cleveland has won six of their first eight contests against Detroit in 2021, and according to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Indians are listed as firm -170 favorites to beat the Tigers on Thursday night.
The Tribe started this series with a pair of wins as +118 underdogs, 6-5, and -142 favorites, 4-1. We’ll exclude the third contest set for Wednesday night from the analysis, so let’s see what’s the best Indians vs. Tigers betting pick for the closer.
Cleveland continues to chase the top spot in the AL Central
The Cleveland Indians improved to 26-20 on the season with that 4-1 victory over Detroit this past Tuesday. They were sitting at the second spot of the AL Central standings, just 1.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox, and three games ahead of the Kansas City Royals.
Cleveland leans on its defense, yielding 4.00 runs per game (8th in the majors) and posting a 3.76 ERA (9th). On the other side of the ball, the Indians score 4.04 runs per contest (21st) on a .216 batting average (28th) and a .673 OPS (24th). Over the last 15 days, Cleveland is slashing .233/.298/.386.
Shane Bieber will get the starting call Thursday, and the 25-year-old ace is 4-3 in ten starts this season. He sports a solid 3.32 ERA and 1.26 WHIP along with a 98/23 K/BB ratio across 65 frames of work, leading the big leagues in strikeouts.
Bieber is 5-2 with a 2.42 ERA in seven career starts against Detroit. This season, the righty met the Tigers on an Opening Day and suffered a loss, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks while punching out 12.
Detroit is the worst team in the AL Central
The 18-30 Detroit Tigers were sitting bottom of the Al Central on Wednesday, trailing one game behind the injury-depleted Minnesota Twins. They’ve won nine of the last 15 games overall, but Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Indians was the Tigers’ fourth defeat in a row.
Detroit is tallying only 3.62 runs per game. The Tigers own the fifth-lowest scoring offense in baseball while slashing .229/.296/.360. Over the last two weeks, they are batting .262 (7th in the majors in that span) and slugging .378 (19th).
The Tigers’ pitching staff has struggled for most of the season, posting a 4.66 ERA (24th in the MLB) and a 1.37 WHIP (also 24th). Matthew Boyd will toe the slab Thursday, and the 30-year-old left-hander is 2-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in nine starts this term.
Boyd is 3-6 with a 3.82 ERA in 13 career starts and one relief appearance against the Tribe. He beat Bieber on an Opening Day, tossing 5.2 scoreless innings while surrendering three hits and four free passes.
MLB Betting Trends:
- 5-2 in the last seven games overall
- 7-2 in Shane Bieber’s last nine starts
- 3-9 in the last 12 games against Cleveland
- 1-5 in Matthew Boyd’s last six starts
Shane Bieber hasn’t been at his best lately, and I’m expecting a bounce-back performance in this favorable matchup with the divisional rivals. The current Tigers are batting only .145 against Bieber while posting a .423 OPS, so Shane should finally get things going after yielding 11 earned runs over his last four outings.
Of course, Bieber will need some run support, and the current Indians are batting just .193 against Matthew Boyd (.568 OPS). Still, the Tigers’ relievers sport the highest ERA in baseball (5.75), so give me the hosts to win.
Pick: Take Cleveland Indians at -170
While the Tigers’ relievers have been awful thus far, the Indians bullpen owns the second-lowest ERA in the majors (2.67). Therefore, I have to go with the under on the totals, expecting the visitors’ pitching staff to dominate this game.
Also, I’ve mentioned that both Cleveland and Detroit have some serious offensive issues and are among the worst teams in the league when it comes to on-base percentage.
Pick: Go under 7.0 runs at +100