MLB Picks Today, Best Bets, Predictions for Thursday, June 27, 2024

Josh Naylor and Bo Naylor
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 02: Josh Naylor #22 of the Cleveland Guardians celebrates with Bo Naylor #44 after hitting a three-run home run off Max Castillo #60 of the Kansas City Royals during the second inning at Progressive Field on October 02, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Let’s go Twins! They were an easy winner last night as they won 8-3. I’m always excited when the write-up directly reflects what happens. The Twins bats took advantage of Nelson’s inability to limit hard contact, and my player to click, Carlos Correa, went 3-4 with a double and a walk.

Today, we go back to the diamond to try and find a winner on this limited slate.

These picks are available on BetMGM. Code “JustBaseball” for a first bet offer up to $1500

2024 Record: 70-78 (-12.94 U)

Cleveland Guardians vs. Kansas City Royals @ 8:10 PM EST

Pitching Matchup: Ben Lively vs. Michael Wacha

This bet revolves around my opinion of the Guardians. A team that has fooled the books time and time again. If you believe the Guardians are fraudulent, I would fade this pick. If you’re a Guardians believer, you’ll take them when the sharps will be all over the Royals.

I’m well aware this is the “square” angle. I know the public will be on this, and we will likely see reverse line movement. By the time you’re reading this, we may already have. I don’t care. This Guardians team continues to shock the world, and I want to be along for the ride.

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I also think the Guardians punted last night’s game to save their bullpen for this one. They were obviously trying to win, but manager Stephen Vogt had Xzavion Curry throw the final three innings so the bullpen could get the off-day. The Guardians want this series, and they are playing the Royals at an opportune time.

Has anyone noticed that the Royals’ offense has fallen off a cliff lately? Since June began, they have ranked 24th in wRC+ (83) against right-handed pitching. Over the last two weeks, their wRC+ has fallen to 65, ranking 27th. It’s much of the same this past week, rocking a 66 wRC+. Nobody in this Royals lineup is hitting well right now.

Do the Royals come alive against Ben Lively (3.71 xERA)? I’ll pay to see it. This is the same team that just got shut out in five innings by Valente Bellozo, a 24-year-old spot-starter for the Marlins.

Lively’s road numbers are worse, but they are worse because he’s been so good at home (2.15 ERA). His 3.75 ERA is fine, and in his last six road starts, he’s averaging 1.8 runs per game. The books are pricing Lively to allow three runs in about five innings, juicing his earned run line to the over. Even if he does allow three in five innings, that’s enough to keep Cleveland in this game.

Michael Wacha will toe the rubber for the Royals. He’s been above average this year (3.60 xERA), but he’s facing a red-hot Guardians offense. This Guardians team has a 136 wRC+ over the last week against righties. In the previous two weeks, they have a 121 wRC+. Since June began, it’s back up to 123. It’s a prolific offense that just added a power bat in Jhonkensy Noel, who can leave the yard at any moment.

Wacha has posted a 4.28 ERA at home and a 4.29 ERA during night games this year. Based on his production this season, this is technically a vulnerable spot. I see the Guardians succeeding here because of his lefty/righty splits more than his home troubles. Lefties have given Wacha trouble this season, posting a .774 OPS. The Guardians first four are Steven Kwan, Andres Gimenez, Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor; all lefties. Daniel Schneemann is also a lefty, as is Bryan Rocchio. Bo Naylor is expected to catch, another lefty. That’s seven of the nine hitters.

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Overall, I think both starters should be in the range of two to three runs over five innings. That’s when the advantages fully flip towards Cleveland. They’ll have the much better offense and bullpen.

With the Guardians’ decision to rest their bullpen, we have the number one bullpen in baseball backing us today. Clase (0.70 ERA), Smith (1.96 ERA), Herrin (1.13 ERA), and Hentges (2.84 ERA) have all thrown less than 25 pitches over the last three days. Hunter Gaddis (1.47 ERA) may also be available after throwing 28 pitches three days ago.

The Royals bullpen is in a solid rest spot, but they rank 22nd in ERA, 27th in WHIP, and have the lowest strikeout rate of any bullpen. There will be contact on Cleveland’s side late in the game, leading to runs for them these days. Wacha is priced at 15.5 outs, so we should see three to four innings of this below-average Royals bullpen.

I love the Guardians to pull through if this game is close after the starters’ exit. As long as Lively doesn’t get destroyed, which I don’t see happening, we’ll be in this game to the very end.

This feels like I’m lining up for a vintage Cal Quantrill start. When the sharps have pressed our backs against the wall, we show them who the boss is. That’s Cleveland.

The Pick: Guardians ML (-110) Risk 0.55 Units