MLB Odds & Picks for Tigers vs. Yankees: Gerrit Cole, New York Should Be In For Easy Night (Friday, April 30)

Mike Stobe/Getty Images. Pictured: Gerrit Cole.

Tigers vs. Yankees Odds

Tigers Odds +265
Yankees Odds -330
Over/Under 8 (-105/-115)
Time 7:05 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet.

On Friday night, Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees host the Detroit Tigers. Unsurprisingly the Yankees are heavy -330 favorites. Despite the Yankees’ long odds, are they a “lock” to win?

The Bronx Bombers are 11-14 after their first 25 games. However, the Detroit Tigers are even worse with an 8-16 record. Despite New York’s losing record, they surprisingly have a run differential of +1, while Detroit has a run differential of -35, the worst of any team in the league.

Surprisingly, my model like the Yankees moneyline, even at -330 odds. However, my model likes the -1.5 run even better because of Detroit’s negative run differential. With Cole on the mound against possibly the worst team in the league, they should easily win.

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Detroit Tigers

For the Yankees to win by two runs or more, they must shut down the Detroit Tigers lineup. Luckily for the Yanks, the Tigers lineup averages only 3.08 runs per game which is the second lowest in the league.

Going into the season, I projected Detroit to have one of the worst lineups in the league. Based on how the season has gone, virtually every player on the Tigers has met their preseason expectations. Going into the season the strongest players in the Detroit lineup have been OF Robbie Grossman, DH Miguel Cabrera and 3B Jeimer Candelario.

Currently only Candelario is underperforming his preseason expectations. If Candelario were to perform up to his preseason projections, the Tigers would only score 0.08 more runs per game. With their current personnel, there is not a plausible way for the Tigers to generate more runs per game.

Occasionally teams with bad lineups can win with good pitching. Unfortunately for the Tigers, they are vulnerable at pitcher. Their starting pitcher for Friday, Tarik Skubal, has an 0-3 record with a 5.21 ERA and 6.56 xFIP.

Even if the Tigers were to only use him for four innings, their bullpen is atrocious as well. The Detroit bullpen has an xFIP of 4.74 which is the worst in the league. With an awful pitcher, an awful lineup and an awful bullpen, the Tigers are likely to lose by a large margin.

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New York Yankees

The biggest reason why the Yankees are favored is because of their starting pitcher Gerrit Cole. Cole has been one of the most consistent pitchers in baseball his whole career as he has never had an xFIP higher than 4.02 in a season. For the 2021 season Cole has a 3-1 record with a 1.71 ERA,and a 2.07 xFIP. Additionally, Cole has a strikeout rate of 14.21 per nine innings, and he averages almost 6 1/3 innings per start. Against a Tigers lineup that leads the league in strikeouts per game, Cole should do very well.

The only concern about the Yankees for Friday night is their lineup. Currently the Yanks lineup is averaging only 3.71 runs per game which is the fifth lowest in the league. However, Every Yankees position player besides Rougned Odor is underperforming their preseason projections. Against Skubal and the Tigers bullpen, the Yankees hitters should play up to their potential and score around five runs.

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Tigers-Yankees Pick

The evidence is overwhelming for why the Yankees, even as a heavy favorite, are a great bet against the Tigers. The Tigers have awful pitching, and the Yankees have excellent pitching. The Yankees have a great lineup that is not playing well, and the Tigers have a bad lineup that is living up to their expectations.

The only question is if the Yankees -330 moneyline is a better bet than the -1.5 run line at -155. My model sees an edge in both bets, but my model looks even more fondly on the run line. Typically, the run line on a heavy favorite is a bad bet to make, but in this case the Yankees should win by at least two runs.

Pick: New York Yankees -1.5 (-155); would play up to -165

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