Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4965 Cleveland Guardians vs.
#4966 Kansas City Royals
Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 2:10pm EDT
Written by Michael Briggs

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The Cleveland Guardians and Kansas City Royals will play Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m. CT.

Cleveland (72-79 SU and 77-74 RL) is starting right-hander Lucas Giolito. The 29-year-old is 8-13 with a 4.59 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP in 30 outings this season.

Kansas City (49-102 SU and 62-89 RL) is countering with righty Zack Greinke. The 39-year-old is 1-15 with a 5.39 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 27 outings (24 starts).

The Guardians are -142 moneyline favorites and the game total is 8.5 runs.

*Article published before the conclusion of Tuesday's game.

Key Injuries

KC: C Salvador Perez is out indefinitely with a concussion.

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The Guardians are coming off a sweep of the Rangers

Cleveland swept Texas in its last series, outscoring the Rangers by a combined score of 23-6 in three games. It hasn't been able to replicate last season's postseason run, however, and will be on the outside looking in this October.

The Guardians score 4.09 runs per game (27th) and hit .250 (15th) with a .694 OPS (27th). They've hit 116 long balls (30th) and stolen 139 bases (5th) this year. The Cleveland pitching staff has posted a 3.91 ERA (6th) and a 1.28 WHIP (15th) with 55 quality starts (12th).

Giolito will toe the rubber for the visitors on Wednesday afternoon. The eighth-year pro, who is on his third team this season, is 3-9 with a 5.97 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 16 road outings with the White Sox, Angels, and Guardians. He was dominant in his last start, holding the Rangers scoreless with 12 Ks in seven innings. He earned two victories over Kansas City in May, holding the Royals to three total runs with 13 strikeouts in 12 combined innings.

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The Royals aren't going out with a whimper

Kansas City is picking up some momentum into the close, winning five of its last six overall. It's been an offensive breakout that's fueled the winning stretch (6.5 runs/game).

The Royals average 4.12 runs (26th) and hit .242 (20th) with a .697 OPS (26th). They've hit 150 long balls (26th) and stolen 152 bases (3rd) in 2023. The KC pitching staff has posted a 5.22 ERA (28th) and a 1.41 WHIP (24th) with 31 quality starts (29th).

Greinke will start for the home team in Wednesday's series finale. In his last start, he held Houston to zero runs and three hits in two innings. It was his shortest outing of the season. The 20th-year pro has struggled against Cleveland this season, surrendering six runs on 15 hits in 11 combined innings.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Giolito has fared well against Kansas City in his previous two outings this season. He pitched a gem in his most recent outing against Houston, bouncing back from a couple of poor outings at the start of the month. I believe that experience and momentum will work in his favor on Wednesday against a Royals lineup minus Perez.

Greinke's career is nearly over, and while it was impressive, he won't factor much into this game — if he does, it won't be positive. The 224-game winner is only likely to pitch four innings at most before turning the ball over to a KC bullpen that's one of the worst in MLB (5.21 ERA and 1.48 WHIP).

A bet on the Guardians (.266 BA/.335 OBP/.387 SLG/.722 OPS in September) is worth five units at -142 odds.

Prediction: Cleveland ML

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


Betting Trends: The under is 85-63-3 in Cleveland games this season, the second-best under record in MLB. It's 46-24-3 (65.7%) when the Guardians are betting favorites.

I'm placing a three-unit wager on the under at 8.5 runs. Neither team is in contention for a Wild Card spot and will be playing for pride alone. The Royals score 3.7 runs per game in the day (62 games) and sport a .300 OBP against right-handed pitchers this season. I expect Giolito and the Guardians bullpen (3.77 ERA and 1.29 WHIP) to hold them to two runs tomorrow afternoon. Cleveland is scoring just 4.1 runs per game in the second half of the season (61 games). The Royals may not be an elite pitching unit, but they can hold the lid on the low-scoring Guardians at home.

Prediction: Under 8.5

Written By Michael Briggs , "Michael Briggs"

Mike Briggs is a passionate sports fan and writer, earning his B.A. in Journalism. In 2020, he moved across the country from New Jersey to San Diego to satisfy his lifelong obsession of living near an MLB stadium. As a proud MSU basketball supporter, Mike believes he's learned a lot watching coach Tom Izzo lead the Spartans to Big Ten titles and Final Fours regularly. He's also well-read on the NBA, having a subscription to SLAM magazine, the famed "basketball bible," since he was a teenager. Mike spends his free time strategizing futures bets and researching opportunities to make a few bucks on tonight's game. You can follow Mike on Twitter @BriggsWrites for sports betting, DFS, and stock trading tips.

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