The Cleveland Indians head to Target Field in Minneapolis on Thursday night to open a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick for this American League Central showdown.
The Tribe and Twins split their first six encounters in 2021, winning a three-game set in Cleveland apiece, while Minnesota emerged victorious in three of its previous four games against the Indians. The Twins opened as -162 favorites for Thursday’s opener at home; Cleveland is a +149 moneyline dog, and the totals sit at 9.0 runs on William Hill Sportsbook.
The Indians continue their nine-game road trip after a day off
The 40-31 Cleveland Indians got some rest on Wednesday, sitting at the second spot of the AL Central standings, a couple of games behind the White Sox and seven ahead of the Royals. They’ll continue a nine-game road trip Thursday after going 2-3 in their previous five games, as the Tribe lost a three-game set at Pittsburgh, 2-1, and split a two-game series at the Cubs.
Through their 18 games in June, the Indians have recorded a .722 OPS (18th in the majors) while batting .254 (12th). On the other side of the ball, their pitching staff has recorded the 10th-highest ERA in the majors so far this month (4.82).
J.C. Mejia will get the starting call Thursday against the Twins, and the 24-year-old rookie is 1-2 with a 6.11 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in four starts and three relief appearances. He’s struggled over the last three starts, allowing 12 earned runs on 14 hits and three walks through 9.2 innings of work.
Interestingly, Mejia met the Twins on his MLB debut and tossed 2.1 scoreless frames in relief while punching out five, but the Trible lost 10-0 eventually.
The Twins are trying to turn their season around
The Minnesota Twins fell to 31-42 on the season following a 10-7 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds this past Tuesday. They snapped a five-game winning streak and split a two-game interleague set against Cincy, so the Twins remained tied with the Tigers for the worst record in the AL Central.
Minnesota is 9-11 this month, scoring 4.55 runs per game on a .264/.319/.464 slash line. The Twins have slugged 35 home runs over their last 20 games, while Nelson Cruz has six dingers in his previous 12 outings.
The Twins’ pitching staff continues to struggle, sporting the third-highest ERA in June (5.76). Jose Berrios will take the mound Thursday, and the 27-year-old righty is 7-2 with a 3.56 ERA and 1.09 WHIP in 14 starts this season.
Berrios is 5-3 with a 3.91 ERA in 14 career starts against the Indians. He met the Tribe once this term and got a no-decision after yielding a couple of earned runs on five hits and a walk across 5.2 frames.
- 0-6 in the last six road games against Minnesota
- 5-1 in the last six games overall
- 7-0 in Jose Berrios’ last seven starts
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins Pick:
Jose Berrios has been Minnesota’s top ace so far this season despite some ups and downs. He’s got some nice run support, too, so Berrios hasn’t been charged for a loss since April 20. The Twins are undefeated in his previous seven starts, and I’m following this betting trend.
The Twins have improved at the plate over the last few weeks, so I’m looking for their offense to hit hard and well against J.C. Mejia. The Indians’ relievers own the fifth-lowest ERA in baseball (3.42), but they haven’t been sharp so far this month, posting a 4.77 ERA.
Free MLB Picks: Take Minnesota Twins at -162
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins Total:
The over is 7-0-1 in the last eight meetings between the Indians and Twins, and each but one of those eight contests produced nine or more runs in total. Also, the over is 11-5 in Cleveland’s last 16 games overall, and it is 6-2 in Minnesota’s previous eight outings at home, so I’m following the betting trends once more.
I’ve mentioned the Indians bullpen’s recent struggles, while the Twins’ relievers have been awful all season. Both teams are batting well at the moment, so going with the over seems like the right move.
Pick: Go over 9.0 runs at -110