Angels vs. Athletics Betting Odds, Picks: Major Mismatch on the Mound Providing Value

Credit:

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Griffin Canning.

  • Griffin Canning and the Angels will take on Chris Bassitt and the Athletics today at 4:10 p.m. ET.
  • Canning has really struggled this year, and things likely won't get better throughout the game for the Angels, who have one of the worst bullpens in the league this season.
  • Because of those factors, the A's are undervalued at -143. Read more about this game and how I'm betting it below.

Angels vs. Athletics Odds, Picks

Angels Odds +125 [BET NOW]
Athletics Odds -143 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 9.5 (-117/-105) [BET NOW]
First Pitch 4:10 p.m. ET

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The A’s will look to hold onto their 2.5-game lead in the AL West as they send Chris Bassitt to the hill Saturday to take on the Angels. Los Angeles’ season is hanging in the balance right now. The Angels are 8-19 and need to turn things around right now if they want to even challenge for a postseason spot.


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Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning. 

Angels Projected Lineup

So far this season, the Angels offense has been a tick below average, with a .315 wOBA and 102 wRC+, which is honestly a disappointment. Anthony Rendon and Mike Trout have been holding the Halos above water offensively, as they are the only ones with a wOBA above .375. The rest of LA’s lineup will have to pick up their level of play if the the Angels want to reach the postseason.

Angels Projected Starter

Griffin Canning, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Griffin Canning hasn’t been great so far in 2020. He has a 5.52 xFIP through his first five starts, mainly due to some control issues.

Canning has a four-pitch arsenal that he’s been mixing up a lot more this year. His fastball has been drilled so far (.432 wOBA against), but he’s throwing a lot less than he did in 2019. He’s starting to his curveball a lot more in 2020, and it has been his most effective pitch. He’s been able to somewhat keep hitters at bay, allowing a .227 average against it while producing a 48.8 whiff rate.

His biggest issue so far has been his slider. In 91 pitches, he’s allowed a batting average of .467 against it and is only producing a whiff rate of 22.2%, which is way below the average for sliders.

The bad news for Canning is the A’s have been fantastic against fastballs and curveballs this season, so he’ll have to throw his slider more often on Saturday, which could be a recipe for disaster.

A’s Projected Lineup

The A’s have been steady offensively all season long, ranking 15th in MLB in terms of wOBA (.324). But they’ve been on fire over the past week, accumulating a .354 wOBA and averaging just over six runs per game.

They’ve done most of their damage this season against fastballs (11.7 wFB) and curveballs (2.2 wCB), as they rank in the top five of MLB against both, so they’ll have a good matchup against Canning on Saturday.

A’s Projected Starter

Chris Bassitt, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Chris Bassitt has been a bit fortunate to this point in the season. He has a 2.93 ERA, but his xFIP is up at 4.97. He mainly uses a sinker-cutter combination, but both pitches haven’t been very effective this season (above a .330 wOBA against).

Bassitt hasn’t had an xFIP below 4.50 in his career and is a fringe MLB starter at best. He’s enjoyed a great start to 2020, but it seems like he may be a house of cards at this point.

Bullpens

The A’s will have a significant advantage in the bullpen department in this series. They have the seventh-best bullpen in terms of xFIP at 4.03, while the Angles have the 24th-ranked bullpen, with a 4.93 xFIP.

Projections and Pick

Given Canning’s struggles and the significant mismatch in the bullpens, I think the A’s are undervalued in this spot. I will be backing the A’s at -148 (DraftKings) and I would play it up to -159.

The Pick: Athletics -148

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