The Pittsburgh Pirates and Minnesota Twins opened a three-game series at Target Field in Minneapolis on Friday night, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for the middle contest Saturday, April 24, with the first pitch at 2:10 PM ET.
The Twins open as firm -190 favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Pirates are listed as +175 moneyline dogs with a total of 8.0 runs. Minnesota has won six of its previous seven encounters with Pittsburgh excluding Friday’s opener.
The Pirates won three of their last four games prior to the Twins series
The Pittsburgh Pirates came to Minneapolis as the second-worst team in the NL Central, owning a 9-10 record which is not bad at all. Remember that Pittsburgh was considered as the weakest team in the majors, so the Pirates can be pleased with their recent displays. They are still the biggest underdog to win the 2021 World Series with their odds at +22500.
After six losses in their first seven games of the season, the Pirates have improved a lot, pulling off some huge upsets. They’ve outlasted the San Diego Padres and Milwaukee Brewers twice, while the Pirates’ last two wins came in a three-game set at the Detroit Tigers earlier this week.
Pittsburgh scores 3.89 runs per game (tied-21st in the MLB) and surrenders 4.74 in a return (20th). Trevor Cahill will toe the slab Saturday, and the 33-year-old right-hander hasn’t impressed through his first three starts in 2021.
Cahill is 0-2 with a horrible 9.69 ERA and 1.77 WHIP. He’ll meet the Twins for the first time since 2019, and Cahill is 1-4 with a 5.55 ERA in eight career starts and a couple of relief appearances against Minnesota.
The Twins desperately need a win to stop the bleed
The Minnesota Twins are off to a bumpy start of the 2021 MLB season, coming into the Prates series as the worst team in the AL Central with a 6-11 record. They’ve dropped nine of their previous ten games overall including the previous four.
Minnesota got swept in Oakland this week, failing to score in the first two contests of a three-game series. They lost the closer 13-12, blowing a two-run lead in the bottom of the tenth. The Twins score 4.65 runs per game (12th in the majors) but surrender 4.82 in a return (21st).
Miguel Sano hit the IL list with a hamstring injury, joining Max Kepler and Andrelton Simmons who tested positive for COVID-19, so the Twins miss some important bats. Michael Pineda will take the mound Saturday, and the 32-year-old righty is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP in three starts this season.
- 1-6 in the last seven games against Minnesota
- 6-14 in the last 20 games on the road
- 4-1 in the last five home games against Pittsburgh
- 11-4 in the last 15 home games against the NL Central
Michael Pineda is arguably the most consistent pitcher in Minneapolis at the moment. The Twins’ relievers have already recorded a whopping seven losses along with a 5.04 ERA that is the sixth-worst in baseball.
I’m expecting a much better performance by the Twins’ bullpen in this series, while Minnesota’s offense should give Pineda proper support. The Twins rank fourth in the majors in batting average (.253), fifth in on-base percentage (.327), and sixth in slugging percentage (.407).
Pick: Take Minnesota Twins at -175
The Pirates have been unpredictable thus far. Despite their solid .233 batting average, the Pirates are slugging only .365 and score just 3.89 runs per game. Five of their last six games before Friday’s clash against Minnesota produced eight or fewer runs in total, so I’m backing the under.
As I’ve mentioned above, the Twins’ pitching staff has to step up and improve a lot against the Pirates. That’s why the Twins to win remains my best betting pick here.
Pick: Go over 8.0 runs at -110