Rangers vs. Twins Odds
|Time||Monday, 7:40 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Sunday and via DraftKings|
This week’s series between the Minnesota Twins and the Texas Rangers is going to be interesting.
The Twins opened the season with high expectations, yet they have gotten off to a poor start, sitting at 10-16, fourth in the American League Central. On the other side, Texas opened the season with low expectations and have exceeded them at 13-16 so far.
The Rangers come in having taken three out of four from the AL East-leading Red Sox, while the Twins won two of three against the Central-leading Royals. Let’s break down which side has betting value on Monday night.
Last season, the Texas Rangers averaged only 3.73 runs per game, the second-lowest number in the league. This season, despite less scoring around all of MLB, the Rangers are averaging four runs per game. While the Rangers score the 10th fewest runs in the league, their lineup is still much better than last year.
The biggest reason why Texas is doing better offensively this season is because Isiah Kiner-Falefa and third baseman Brock Holt are exceeding their preseason projections. Instead of being below average, both Kiner-Falefa and Holt have been above average, with Kiner-Falefa hitting his fifth home run of the season on Sunday.
In addition to Kiner-Falefa and Holt, second baseman Nick Solak is having a breakout season. In 28 games this season, Solak is hitting .290 with seven home runs and a .367 on-base percentage. What makes the Rangers’ lineup particularly scary is that Joey Gallo, their best player, is having a down year. Once he gets hot, Texas should continue to surprise teams this season.
This offseason, the Rangers acquired Monday starter Dane Dunning in a trade with the Chicago White Sox, and he has thrived this season with a 3.97 ERA and 3.26 xFIP. As a pitcher with only 77 innings of big-league experience, little is known about Dunning, but what is scary is that his xFIP is significantly lower than his ERA.
Dunning’s only issue has been pitching deep into games. He has pitched more than five innings just once in his five starts this season.
After a stellar campaign in 2020, Kenta Maeda has regressed so far.
While he could be counted on to pitch for around six innings per start and allow only two earned runs in 2020, he can barely last five innings without giving up three or four runs this season.
Maeda enters this game with a -0.2 WAR, suggesting that even a marginal “replacement level” starting pitcher would have been better than him. While Maeda should regress to the mean and pitch better this season, there’s reason for the Twins to be concerned about him.
While Maeda is a liability for Minnesota, its lineup is not.
The Twins are averaging 4.56 runs per game, which is slightly better than the league average of 4.3. Minnesota’s lineup is well-rounded, but Byron Buxton has been the star. He is in the midst of a much better year than he was projected to have, although he should regress to the mean eventually.
Minnesota’s lineup is why it’s favored against the Rangers, but it is not an insurmountable challenge for Texas to take on.
The Rangers are in a rebuilding year, but they should win about 40-45% of their games this season. As +165 underdogs, their break-even odds for Monday are 38.2%.
Monday night’s game is one that the Rangers are better positioned than usual to win. They have the starting pitching edge, and their lineup is much improved from last season. I like them at +165, which is what they were listed at on DraftKings on Sunday night, but I would only play them up to +155.
Pick: Rangers +165 (play to +155)