A pivotal AL Central battle will rage on this Friday evening as the Cleveland Guardians do battle with the Minnesota Twins. Join us for our MLB odds series where our Guardians-Twins prediction and pick will be revealed.

In game one, it was the Guardians that fell on the short end of the stick in a 7-6 loss in Minneapolis on Thursday. Although they did get the job done on offense, it was the pitching that failed to be sharp enough to win the game. Overall, Cleveland has fallen to 25-31 but only sits 4.5 games behind the Twins for first place despite being 5-6 in their previous 11 games overall. Getting the starting nod will be Aaron Civale who is 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his two starts on the season.

On the other side of things, the Minnesota Twins improved their overall record to three games north of .500 at 30-27 as they won their fourth game in the past six previous outings. Clearly, the Twins are hoping that this is the start of a winning stretch especially against a critical divisional opponent in the Guardians. Alas, the Twins will send out starter RHP Bailey Ober who is 3-2 with. 2.68 in his seven overall starts during the regular season.

Here are the Guardians-Twins MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel. 

MLB Odds: Guardians-Twins Odds

Cleveland Guardians: +1.5 (-178)

Minnesota Twins: -1.5 (+146)

Over: 8 (-110)

Under: 8 (-110)

How To Watch Guardians vs. Twins


Stream: MLB.TV

Time: 8:10 ET/5:10 PT

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Why The Guardians Could Cover The Spread

In order to get back at the Twins and cover the spread, the Guardians need to make sure that they get a much better effort from their bullpen. Believe it or not, it was Cleveland that surrendered a total of four runs in the final pair of innings in Thursday's ballgame including a three-spot in the eighth. Without a doubt, the Guardians even held a 5-4 lead heading into the second-to-last inning before things imploded in a big way. Clearly, manager Terry Francona will most likely make different decisions in regard to who he chooses to close out games from within the bullpen to get the job done.

Most importantly, the golden ticket to covering the spread for Cleveland will be to continue being patent in their at-bats on offense which will eventually lead to reaching base and inflicting damage upon the Minnesota pitching staff. As a whole, Cleveland has seen their offensive statistics scuffle mightily this season as they rank among one of the worst squads in all of Major League Baseball in batting average, total runs scored, and slugging percentage. Because of their struggles, be on the lookout for Cleveland to heavily rely on their best hitter in Jose Ramirez to carry the load as the 30-year-old third-baseman has recorded five hits in his previous three games.

Why The Twins Could Cover The Spread

At first glance, the AL Central division appears to be one of the weakest divisions in all of baseball, but the Minnesota Twins could truly care less about that. Even with a slightly above-average record at 30-27, the Twins are on top of the division and have all of the confidence in the world to take care of business against their rivals for the second consecutive day.

Of course, there was no doubt that the return of third-baseman Royce Lewis' return to the starting lineup was a sight for the sore eyes of Minnesota. After tearing his ACL a year ago, the former number-one overall pick in 2017 was the biggest difference maker in game one of this series when he absolutely clobbered a two-run, game-tying home run in the eighth inning to put the Twins up for good. Even more impressive, it was only three days ago when Lewis went yard against the Astros with a three-run moonshot in a 7-5 win over the defending champion Astros. Simply put, this young man looks like he is the real deal and is clearly in the zone at the plate. Do not be surprised if he is once again the main reason that the Twins cover the spread.

In addition, it also helps Minnesota's case that starting pitcher Bailey Ober has been as dominant as can be whenever he suits up for play against Cleveland. In fact, throughout his four career starts against the Guardians, Ober has piled up a 1-1 record to go along with a flashy 1.64 ERA. Clearly, riding the arm of Bailey Ober could be just enough to improve upon their 29-28 record against the spread.

Final Guardians-Twins Prediction & Pick

Surely, there is plenty of bad blood between these two teams over the years, but it would be wiser to count on the Twins to come out on top, especially in front of their home fans.

Final Guardians-Twins Prediction & Pick: Twins -1.5 (+146)