A couple of American League Central foes continue their three-game series at Progressive Field in Cleveland with the middle contest on Saturday afternoon, so here’s the best Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians betting pick.
These two rivals already met each other in a three-game set at Progressive Field back in April, and the Indians beat the Twins 2-1. After a 5-3 defeat in the opener and a 7-4 loss in the middle clash, the Twins thrashed off the Tribe 10-2 in the closer.
According to William Hill Sportsbook, Cleveland opened as a -123 fave for Friday’s game. The Indians sit at -170 moneyline odds to win this one, while the totals are set at 7.0 runs.
The Twins sit bottom of the AL Central
The Minnesota Twins have struggled mightily thus far, and even the hapless Detroit Tigers are two games ahead of them, as the 15-28 Twins are officially the worst team in the American League Central. Excluding their Friday’s clash against Cleveland, the Twins have dropped 12 of their last 16 games overall.
Minnesota is scoring 4.47 runs per game (14th in the majors). The Twins are tied-third for the most home runs in baseball this season (59) and own the fifth-best slugging percentage (.420), but their pitching staff has been awful so far, posting the fifth-highest ERA of 4.84.
Kenta Maeda will toe the slab Saturday, and the 33-year-old righty is one of the biggest disappointments of the 2021 MLB season. Maeda is 2-2 in eight starts and sports a poor 5.26 ERA and 1.57 WHIP along with a 33/10 K/BB ratio across 37.2 innings of work.
Last year, Kenta went 3-0 in three starts against Cleveland, but this term, he got pounded for five runs (four earned) on seven hits in the Twins’ 7-4 loss at the Indians on April 27.
The Indians need more from Shane Bieber
The Cleveland Indians started this week with a 7-4 defeat at the Angels to extend their losing streak to four games. The Tribe bounced back and won a three-game set in Anaheim to improve to 23-18 on the season ahead of the Twins series.
The Indians are second in the AL Central and trail two and a half games behind the Chicago White Sox. They score just 4.05 runs per game (20th in the majors) on a terrible .213 batting average (28th) and a .672 OPS (tied-23rd).
Cleveland surrenders only 3.83 runs per contest (8th). The Indians’ pitching staff sports the ninth-lowest ERA in baseball (3.65), but Shane Bieber hasn’t been at his best lately. The reigning Cy Young champ has allowed exactly three runs in four of his previous six starts, and he’s 4-3 on the season with a 3.17 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 92/22 K/BB ratio across 59.2 innings pitched.
- 4-12 in the last 16 games overall
- 3-11 in the last 14 games on the road
- 2-7 in Kenta Maeda’s last nine starts
- 11-6 in the last 17 games overall
- 4-1 in the last five home tilts against Minnesota
- 6-2 in Shane Bieber’s last eight starts
Shane Bieber will get the Twins for the first time in 2021, and the righty is 5-1 with a 3.51 ERA in ten career starts and one relief appearance against Minnesota. Last season, he was 2-1 with a 2.14 ERA in three starts against the Twins.
Bieber is certainly pitching in a better form than Kenta Maeda who’s been a disaster so far this season. The Twins possess more offensive firepower than Cleveland, but I’m looking for the Indians’ pitching staff to make the difference. Cleveland’s relievers lead the majors with a 2.57 ERA, while the Twins bullpen is 26th with a 5.07 ERA.
Pick: Take Cleveland Indians at -170
Wagering on the totals seems tricky here, and I would stick with the side bet. Kenta Maeda might find his mojo against the Indians’ struggling offense, but on the other hand, the Twins ‘pen could easily blow any lead, considering its recent displays.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Bieber and his relievers shut down the Twins completely, but the betting trends are suggesting the over. Four of the last five encounters between Cleveland and Minnesota went in the over, as well as six of the Twins’ last seven games and four of the Indians’ previous six.
Pick: Go over 7.0 runs at -120