Royals vs Angels Picks and Predictions: Back Heasley, KC as Road Underdogs

While neither pitcher in this matchup should inspire a ton of confidence, Kansas City's Jonathan Heasley is certainly the better one. As such, our MLB betting picks are backing the Royals — even as +149 underdogs.

Last Updated: Jun 21, 2022 3:51 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Kansas City Royals may be one of baseball's worst teams according to their record, but any team can get hot and be a threat over the course of the long season. Winners of four of their last five, the Royals are exactly that. 

They already took the first game of their three-game set with the Los Angeles Angels, winning 6-2. The Angels looked like they were gaining their footing prior to last night, winning four of their previous five. Can they get back on track tonight?

Continue reading for free MLB picks and predictions to find out.

Royals vs Angels odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

The Angels opened as large favorites in the -165 range and are hovering around that price at most books. The total opened at 8.5 and has since moved to 9.5, with most books showing juice favoring the Under.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until first pitch and be sure to check out the full MLB odds before placing your bets.

Royals vs Angels predictions

Picks made on 6/21/2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET.
Click on each pick to jump to the full analysis.

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Royals vs Angels game info

Location: Angel Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Tuesday, June 21, 2022
First pitch: 9:38 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City, Bally Sports West

Royals vs Angels betting preview

Starting pitchers

Jonathan Heasley (1-3, 3.72 ERA): Heasley has been a pleasant surprise in 2022 so far, pitching to a 3.72 ERA across seven starts. The 25-year-old made his major league debut last season, appearing in three starts and notching a 4.91 ERA. Heasley was Kansas City's 13th-ranked prospect last year according to MLB.com.

Reid Detmers (2-3, 4.25 ERA): Detmers knows a little bit about being a highly-touted prospect, ranking as the Angels' top prospect last year and the 23rd overall prospect according to MLB.com. Detmers struggled in his five starts last year (5.40 ERA, 1.79 WHIP) but has had much better results this year (4.25 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), including a complete-game shutout of the Rays back in May.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Royals: Jake Brentz RP (Out).
Angels: Anthony Rendon 3B (Out), Austin Warren RP (Out), Cooper Criswell RP (Out).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Royals have gone Under the total in seven straight games. Find more MLB betting trends for Royals vs. Angels.

Royals vs Angels picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Moneyline analysis

Despite coming up alongside much more highly-touted prospects such as Bobby Witt Jr., MJ Melendez, and Kyle Isbel, Jonathan Heasley has been the Royals' best rookie this year. His 0.9 WAR according to Baseball Reference is the highest of the fresh faces and the eye test (for those who have been watching these 24-42 Royals) supports that.

Witt has failed to get his batting average above .250 since Opening Day. Melendez started off hot in the first week but has cooled off considerably. Isbel started to figure it out in the latter half of May but has started June 3-for-27 (.111 BA). And while Heasley hasn't been lights out by any means, sustaining a 3.72 ERA in a rotation that desperately needs stability has been valuable, to say the least.

Heasley has seven starts thus far and has never allowed more than three earned runs. He has gone at least five innings in all but his first and most recent starts. And while he's still figuring a lot of things out, he is flashing some stuff early that shows that he might have the juice as a legitimate starting pitcher with a 73rd percentile fastball spin and 68th percentile curveball spin.

He has struggled with his command (5.0 walks per nine innings, 10th percentile) but he at least is facing an Angels lineup that isn't anything particularly special in that department (their 8% walk rate ranks 18th).

And while he struggled to strike batters out in his three starts last year (10.2% strikeout rate), Heasley is showing improvement there (16.4%) that is more reminiscent of his minor league numbers (29.1% in AAA last season). That could very well come into play against the Angels, whose 25.6% strikeout rate leads the majors.

Across from him today is Reid Detmers, who also struggled in limited major league appearances last year but is showing more of his potential this year. Detmers was the Angels' top-ranked prospect last year according to MLB.com, but managed a disastrous 7.40 ERA across five starts in the majors in 2021.

In 11 starts this year, the results have been much better: a 4.25 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and a complete-game shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays. However, unlike Heasley, Detmer's underlying metrics leave a lot to be desired. He has a 40th percentile fastball velocity and a 13th percentile fastball spin rate. His curveball spin (45th percentile) is also nothing to write home about.

As a result, Detmer's strikeout rate (19th percentile), walk rate (40th), and average exit velocity (39th) — basically any metric you look at — do not stack up well to his peers.

Granted, he is still just 22 years old and there's still plenty of time for Detmer to deliver on his potential, it's just that the pitcher he is today is not one that deserves to be such a large favorite.

Prediction: Royals moneyline (+149 at WynnBET)

Over/Under analysis

The Royals have a rather even totals record, going 32-31-3 (50.8%) towards the Over. The Angels' record, meanwhile, leans towards the Under, going 35-31-4 (53.0%). At home, that record gets a bit more pronounced at 20-14-2 (58.8%).

In terms of recent form, the Angels have been playing very favorably towards the Under as of late, having gone Under in eight of their last nine games. They have scored one or fewer runs in four of those eight games.

And to that point, Kansas City has gone seven straight games to the Under now as well. The Royals too have been contributing very little in the majority of those games, scoring two or fewer runs in four of those seven games.

If either of these two teams puts up a dud, it may be hard for the other to make up the ground on a total that has already moved up a run since opening, and one that is as high as 9.5. This is especially the case given that the Angels rank 20th in runs scored per game and the Royals rank 27th.

Prediction: Under 9.5 (-110 at PointsBet)

Best bet

Although it may not seem like it right now, Detmers has the tools to be a higher-end starter in the majors. And again, he is just 22 and has plenty of time to develop into exactly that.

But as of right now, he hasn't shown much to deserve being a heavy favorite against any team right now. On top of that, the Angels' offense has also not shown much of anything in the last month to justify those odds.

And while Heasley may not have been as highly touted as Detmers, he is unarguably the better pitcher right now.

In a potentially ugly game in which neither team possesses a true edge over the other, it's best to take the long odds.

Pick: Royals moneyline (+149 at WynnBET)

MLB parlays

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