Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers MLB Pick – August 17th

The Minnesota Twins are looking to make it three straight wins over the Rangers tonight in game three from Arlington. The Twins are neck and neck with the Cleveland Indians for the American League Central Division title, holding just a game and a half lead over Cleveland for first place. Minnesota has dominated this series thus far as they have exploded for seventeen runs in the first two games of the series. The Twins have been a lackluster 8-7 on the month, and with their struggles have allowed the Indians to close the gap in the central of what was once a double-digit lead.
For Texas, they are wrapping up what can only be considered another disappointing season. They are two games under .500, and despite barely being on the fringe of contention, they decided to hold onto many of their best players at the July 31st trade deadline. That move has backfired in a big way as they have lost eight out of their last ten games and are ten and a half games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the second wild card in the American League.
Starting tonight for the Rangers is Ariel Jurado (6-8 5.31 ERA), and for the Twins, it is Jose Berrios (10-6 3.29 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eleven and a half runs. The Twins are -156 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM PST from Globe Life Park in Arlington.
The Minnesota Twins need to string together some wins quickly as they are at risk of giving up first place in their division. After leading for the entire first half of the season, they have stumbled just a bit, and with the Cleveland Indians getting red-hot, have left the door open for Cleveland to complete the comeback. But when you look forward in the schedule, things seem to layout nicely for Minnesota as after this series they finish up the month with eleven games against the Chicago White Sox and the Detroit Tigers, two of the worst teams in the game.
The Twins can ill afford to let this soft run of schedule pass them by as they need to find a way to build their cushion over Cleveland back up. They have done a great job of taking care of business so far as they have broken out the bats in a big way to start this series and have been hammering this Texas pitching staff. They will look to their ace, Jose Berrios tonight, to secure the much-needed series win over Texas.
Jose Berrios has been mostly very good this season for the Twins. He had one awful blow upstart a couple of weeks back against the Atlanta Braves, but besides that, he has been elite. In the months of June and July, he had an ERA in the low two-run range. And he has done a remarkable job of getting deep into games as he has pitched into the sixth inning or later in twenty-one of his twenty-four starts.
He is top ten in the American League in innings pitched, ERA, and is a full three wins above replacement on the year. Berrios has a soft matchup today against a Rangers team that just hasn’t been able to score runs here in August. Since the start of the month, the Rangers are nearly dead last in the majors in every offensive category, with only the Seattle Mariners scoring fewer runs than the Rangers. The team is hitting an abysmal .212 right now.
Ariel Jurado is slogging through his first full season in the big leagues. After having a cup of coffee with the team last season, Jurado has made twenty-five appearances on the year, with fifteen starts. He had decent results pitching out of the Rangers bullpen, but after being moved into the rotation, his production has fallen off of a cliff.
In his fifteen starts, he has allowed at least three runs in ten of them, and he has gotten rocked for five runs or more in five starts. That includes getting hammered for eight runs in his last start against the hapless Toronto Blue Jays in just over three innings of work. The Rangers lost that game 19-4. If the Blue Jays weak lineup got to him for eight runs, what is going to happen tonight against this Twins team that leads the majors in home runs?
The game is a Blowout with a capital B. The Rangers bats have completed fallen apart now that slugger Joey Gallo is out of the lineup with an injury, and they just aren’t playing competitive baseball at this point. I very rarely, if ever, take a run line bet as they are just too risky. 24% of all MLB games end in one run scores, so when you take 24% of your win percentage off the top, it is very hard to show a long-term profit.
But now that we are late in the season, with some teams making big pushes for the playoffs, and other teams laying down and not competing day in and day out, the run line needs to be considered. And this game is tailor-made for a run line bet. Of the Twins eight wins this month, all but one has come by multiple runs. That is what happens when you can hit the baseball like this Twins team. And on the flip side, the Rangers have lost six out of their last eight by more than one run.
I see Berrios getting deep into this one, he could end up going seven-plus innings, and I think the Twins absolute smash, Ariel Jurado. This guy just isn’t a major league ready starter right now. His ERA is nearly seven runs when starting games. He would never be pitching for a team that was in contention, and I think the Twins will have him run from the game by the fourth inning. It wouldn’t at all shock me to see this game end up a lot like the last time he pitched where the Rangers lost by fifteen runs.
It likely won’t get that out of hand, but we only need the Twins to win by two to cover the spread. The premium for taking the run line isn’t all that high, at just forty cents, but in a game like this, I can’t say that I blame the books for keeping the price low, this game just has blow out written all over it. So, I will take the rare run line bet tonight in this one. Give me the Minnesota Twins, laying a run and a half on the run line, at -116 tonight in game three!
The Bet: Minnesota Twins -1.5 runs at -116

My Pick
Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL