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Texas Rangers vs Detroit Tigers Predictions, Odds & Picks (April 18)

Sascha Paruk

by Sascha Paruk in MLB Baseball

Updated Apr 18, 2024 · 7:56 AM PDT

Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jack Leiter during 2024 spring training
Mar 8, 2024; Surprise, Arizona, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Jack Leiter (71) pitches against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
  • The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers finish off a four-game series at Comerica Park on Thursday afternoon
  • The Tigers are looking for an even split behind Kenta Maeda, while the Rangers give rookie Jack Leiter his first MLB start
  • See the Rangers vs Tigers odds, picks, and predictions for April 18

A massive mismatch in experience is on the MLB schedule on Thursday when the Texas Rangers (10-9, 5-4 away) face the Detroit Tigers (10-8, 4-6 home) in the final game of their four-game series at Comerica Park in Detroit (first pitch at 1:10 pm ET).

While the Tigers hand the ball to 36-year-old Kenta Maeda, who’s likely to reach 1,000 career innings this season, the Rangers roll with 23-year-old Jack Leiter, who will be pitching inning number one as a big leaguer this afternoon.

Yet, with Maeda struggling out of the gate, the Rangers vs Tigers odds are a pick’em.

Texas Rangers vs Detroit Tigers Odds

Team Moneyline Runline Total
Texas Rangers (Leiter) -110 +1.5 (+150) O 8.5 (-105)
Detroit Tigers (Maeda) -110 +1.5 (-180) U 8.5 (-115)

Texas and Detroit are both listed at -110 on the moneyline in Thursday’s MLB odds. The over/under is sitting at 8.5 with the under slightly favored in pitcher-friendly Comerica Park.


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The Tigers, who were the last unbeaten team in the majors a couple weeks ago, have sputtered more recently, going 4-6 in their past ten and falling two games back of Cleveland in the AL Central. They are currently the third-favorite to win the Central in the MLB division odds at +400.

The Rangers are half a game back of the Tigers in the overall standings, but lead the so-far-uninspiring AL West at 10-9, half a game ahead of the LA Angels. Thanks to a horrendous 6-14 start by Houston, the Rangers have taken over as betting favorites to win the division, which they haven’t done since 2016.

Runs at a Premium So Far in TEX vs DET Series

In the first three games of this series, the Rangers and Tigers have combined to score just 16 runs in 27 innings. Michael Lorenzen pitched five shutout innings for the Rangers in a 1-0 win on Monday, while Dane Dunning gave Texas five innings of one-run ball in yesterday’s 5-4 Ranger victory.

Detroit’s lone victory was a 4-2 win on Tuesday. Casey Mize gave up two runs over six innings before the bullpen pitched three shutout frames, allowing the Tigers to secure a comeback win.

YouTube video

Detroit has managed to stay above .500 despite a brutal start at the plate. As a team, the Tigers sit 27th in wRC+ at just 81 and 28th in slugging percentage (.326). Detroit’s 14 home runs through 18 games is the third-fewest in the majors; only the Cardinals (13) and MLB-worst White Sox (10) have fewer.

The Texas offense isn’t mashing like it did last season, at least not yet, but it’s still be miles better than Detroit’s. The Rangers sit ninth in wRC+ (109), tenth in wOBA (.323), and 15th in slugging (.386). They ranked fourth, third, and third, respectively, in this those categories at the end of the 2023 regular season.

Jack Leiter* vs Kenta Maeda

1-1 Record 0-1
3.77 ERA 6.00
3.06 xFIP 4.96
0.98 WHIP 1.27
22.1% SO% 15.9%

*Leiter’s stats from AAA.

Leiter, the #2 overall pick in the 2021 MLB draft, has solid but not spectacular numbers in three appearances for Triple-A Round Rock of the PCL this season, allowing seven runs (six earned) over 14.1 innings with 11 hits, three walks, and an electric 25 strikeouts.

Maeda struggled badly in his first start of the year, getting tagged for six runs on seven hits (including three homers) by the lowly White Sox, but he’s been much better since. In his last two starts, he’s combined to go 11.2 innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and four walks with eight Ks.

Maeda’s stats against the Texas lineup are subpar, but the sample size is relatively small. In 37 total at-bats, the Ranger hitters are batting .297 with a .933 OPS, but just one home run and one RBI (courtesy Adolis Garcia).

Rangers vs Tigers Prediction

It’s hard to have a lot of faith in either starter. Leiter, son of two-time All-Star Al Leiter, certainly has the pedigree and arm talent to dominate … one day. But the 23-year-old isn’t dominating at AAA yet and, even against a lineup as anemic as Detroit’s, is likely to struggle in his transition to the big leagues.

Maeda causes me even more concern, though. Never a power pitcher at the best of times, his average fastball velocity has dropped from 91 MPH last year to just 89.9 this season. His swinging-strike percentage has plummeted from 12.8% last year (which was already down from a career-best of 17.2% in 2020) to just 7.8% so far in 2024.

I’m more comfortable betting on Leiter’s combination of upside and unknowns than Maeda’s fading arm, especially in light of the talent discrepancy in the team’s respective batting orders.

TEX vs DET pick: Rangers moneyline (-110) – two units

Sascha Paruk’s 2024 MLB betting record: 10-5 (+1.81 units)

All wagers one unit unless expressly stated otherwise.

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