Date/Time: June 29th, 7:15 PM ET
MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline Sportsbook
Probable Starters: Verlander (Detroit) vs. Archer (Tampa Bay)
Moneyline: Tigers -142
The Detroit Tigers are looking to continue to extend their lead in the AL Central on Saturday night when they head to Tropicana Field to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in MLB betting action.
The Tigers are only up three games in the AL Central on the Cleveland Indians, but the truth of the matter is that they probably have the best team in baseball. They certainly have the most devastating lineup in the game, as the team is batting .282 and has six regulars batting at least .295 (and that doesn't including Prince Fielder, who is batting .281!). The big question that this team is going to have to answer is going to be asked again on Saturday, and that's when (and if) RHP Justin Verlander is going to become a stud again. Verlander is 8-5 this season, but he has the fourth best ERA on the staff. He also has pitched fewer innings than both Doug Fister and Max Scherzer, and he is only third on the staff in terms of strikeouts per start. Part of that is because Scherzer has pitched like a Cy Young winner early in the season. But the rest? Verlander has been just downright above average. His 3.90 ERA leaves a lot to be desired, and that ERA is over six over the course of the last month and a half.
If the Rays were in the AL Central, they would be just three games out of first place. However, for their sake, it's unfortunate that they aren't, because they're stuck in the AL East, where they are seven games outside of first and are only just barely outside of the cellar. The team seems to go in spurts offensively, and the spurt that it is on right now isn't good. The team has only scored three runs in its last two games, and it has been dominated by two straight starters. The man on the mound on Saturday is RHP Chris Archer, who figures to be getting ready to be sent back down to AAA Durham at some point in the near future if he doesn't get his act together. Archer is 2-3 with a 4.21 ERA on the season, and he has just 22 strikeouts against 15 walks in 25.2 innings of work. He's a big, power pitcher, but control is sometimes an issue, as demonstrated in the nine walks in two games against the Boston Red Sox on June 12th and June 18th.
Still, Verlander has been a disastrous pitcher at times for bettors, and this is another one of those instances when he is expected to beat a very good Tampa Bay team on the road at least 60% of the time. We just don't see it happening. The percentages are on the Rays, who we think will find a way to get back to their offensive ways to get a 'W' on Saturday.
Detroit Tigers @ Tampa Bay Rays Pick: Tampa Bay Rays +128