Arizona Diamondbacks (41-34) vs. Kansas City Royals (31-43) MLB Betting Lines

Moneyline: Diamondbacks (-110) Royals (+100)

Over/Under: 8.5

Starting Pitchers: Diamondbacks (Hudson) vs. Royals (Paulino)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are probably the biggest surprise in baseball so far this year. Who would have ever thought this team would be seven games above .500 and in first place in the NL West at this point in the season? They were expected to be a cellar-dweller, but they have turned into a contender in the wide open NL West. The Royals started 2011 on fire, but they have cooled off considerably and they are now in last place in the AL Central. The Diamondbacks will be going for the three-game sweep in this one.

Most people don’t realize it, but the Diamondbacks have some very talented young pitchers. Ian Kennedy pitched well in last night’s victory over the Royals, and now it is Daniel Hudson’s turn on the mound. Hudson has won five straight decisions after starting the year 3-5. For the year, Hudson has an impressive ERA of just 3.56. Arizona’s bullpen was easily the worst in baseball last year, but they are actually quite good this year. The team brought in some veteran relievers who are really getting the job done. What about the offense? Justin Upton anchors a talented group of youngsters. Upton is the type of guy that hits .300 or better and hits for power as well. As a whole, Arizona is averaging 4.59 runs per game, which is sixth in the majors.

Felipe Paulino has been a nice story for the Kansas City Royals of late. In 27 innings with the Royals, Paulino has an ERA of just 2.33. Most teams had given up on Paulino, but the Royals gave him another chance and so far he is making the most of it. Eric Hosmer is already showing glimpses of brilliance, and you can expect to hear a lot from him in the next few years. The Royals organization is loaded with talent in the minor leagues, but the big league team is still a few years away. Kansas City’s offense has been decent this year, but the pitching staff has been one of the worst in the league.

Both pitchers have been pitching well, and neither offense has been lighting up the scoreboard of late. I like the value on the under in this one.

MLB Free Pick: Under 8.5