Twins vs. Guardians: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups (9/6/23)

The Twins and Guardians close out their 3-game series Wednesday afternoon at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Both clubs have young, ascending talents taking the mound, with Joe Ryan going for the Twins and Gavin Williams starting for the Guardians.

The Twins are the betting favorites with -125 moneyline odds, while the over/under is set at 8 runs. The prediction here is that the Twins win and the over hits.

Twins vs. Guardians Prediction

Starting pitchers: RHP Joe Ryan (10-8, 4.20 ERA) vs. RHP Gavin Williams (1-5, 3.46 ERA)

Note: all metrics taken before Tuesday’s games

The Guardians are clinging to a sliver of hope in the American League Central, trailing the Twins by 6 games entering Tuesday night’s game. If they want to maintain any chance of catching them over the season’s final month, then tonight is a must-win game.

That makes this start for Gavin Williams the biggest one of his rookie season so far. A first-round pick in 2021 (23rd overall), Williams has shown glimpses of the tantalizing talent that has the Guardians so excited about him.

A few weeks ago, Williams put together back-to-back outings with double-digit strikeouts against two lineups – Toronto and Tampa – that are among the most dangerous in the league. He allowed just 1 earned run and 6 hits over 12 innings in those two starts, and he struck out 22 batters compared to just 1 walk.

Cleveland needs to see more of that today against Minnesota. Williams missed the opportunity to face this Twins lineup in his last start as he slipped on a pitch, tweaked his knee and exited after just 1 inning with right knee soreness. It’s a good sign that he is ready to go tonight for his next scheduled start.

The Twins’ bats have been hot lately (especially Royce Lewis, discussed below) and they will be a tough test for Williams. Entering Tuesday’s action, they are leading the league in runs scored and they’re 4th in OPS and wOBA over the last 2 weeks. Those numbers are somewhat inflated by their 20-run explosion on Monday night, but you can’t just ignore that performance.

Minnesota starter Joe Ryan should have an easier time with the Cleveland lineup, which remains average at best offensively. They sit in the bottom half of the league by most statistical measures offensively and have shown little signs of improvement recently.

Ryan has thrown two quality starts against Cleveland already this season, on May 7 and June 4. He pitched 6 innings and 6-2/3 innings in those starts and allowed just 2 earned runs each time.

Five of the Guardians’ best hitters have at least 10 career at-bats against Ryan, with mixed results. Jose Ramírez (3-for-19), Andres Gimenez (2-for-17), and Josh Naylor (2-for-11) are all hitting under .190 against him, while Steven Kwan (4-for-12) and Myles Straw (5-for-14) are both hitting better than .330. Both Ramírez and Naylor have taken him yard one time.

On pure talent and stuff, we’ll give the edge to Williams in this pitching matchup, but both starters are capable of having dominant outings. The Twins’ edge at the plate combined with some concerns about Williams’ knee swing this pick towards the Minnesota moneyline.

Even with two good starters on the mound, keeping the total under 8 runs is going to be tough, especially the way Minnesota has been hitting. There is too much potential for the Twins to score on Williams to feel confident in the under, so let’s take the over at -120 odds.

Twins vs. Guardians Prediction: Twins moneyline (-125), over 8 runs (-120)

Twins vs. Guardians Odds

The Twins are the betting favorites at -125 on the moneyline, while the Guardians’ moneyline odds are +105.

The Twins are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +136 odds, while the Guardians are getting +1.5 runs at -162 odds.

The over/under in this matchup is set at 8 runs with -120 odds on the over and +100 odds on the under.

Twins vs. Guardians Key Matchups

Here are the key matchups that could decide Twins vs. Guardians.

Gavin Williams vs. Royce Lewis
What will Royce Lewis do next?

The former 1st overall pick in 2017 has hit three grand slams in his past eight games (entering Tuesday night). He has hit four grannies in his first 56 career games, which is the fewest games to reach four slams in MLB history, passing Rudy York (who took 132 games to hit four slams in 1938).

If you pay close attention to those videos, you’ll notice that three of Lewis’ grand slams have come at the expense of Cleveland.

So yeah, it would help the Guardians’ chances at winning this game if Gavin Williams can do something to slow down Lewis.

Here are a few more fun Royce Lewis stats:

We picked the Twins’ moneyline in our Twins vs. Guardians prediction largely because of their recent offensive surge. Lewis has been the main driver of that, and if he keeps it going, that pick will be looking very safe.

Bullpen battle
If the Guardians want to win this game, they will need some help from a bullpen that has been one of the better units in the league for most of this season. That will become especially true if Williams struggles or if he aggravates his sore knee and can’t go deep into the game.

Cleveland’s relief staff is 6th in bullpen ERA (3.62) this season and 10th in wOBA allowed (.301). This should give them an edge over the Twins, who are 17th in ERA (4.11). But Cleveland’s ‘pen has had some shaky performances lately, including the 11 runs they gave up over 6 innings against the Twins on Monday.

They need a better performance today if they want to win this game and maintain any hope of catching the Twins for the division lead over the final 23 games.

Twins vs. Guardians Starting Lineups (Projected)

Twins Starting Lineup
2B Edouard Julien (L)
DH Jorge Polanco (S)
3B Royce Lewis (R)
RF Max Kepler (L)
SS Carlos Correa (R)
LF Matt Wallner (L)
C Ryan Jeffers (R)
1B Donovan Solano (R)
CF Joey Gallo (L)

Guardians Starting Lineup
LF Steven Kwan (L)
3B Jose Ramírez (S)
DH Josh Naylor (L)
1B Kole Calhoun (L)
RF Will Brennan (L)
2B Andres Gimenez (L)
SS Gabriel Arias (R)
C Bo Naylor (L)
CF Myles Straw (R)

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Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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