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Athletics vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Value on the Underdog in Boston (Thursday, June 16)

Athletics vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Pick & Preview: Value on the Underdog in Boston (Thursday, June 16) article feature image
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Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Paul Blackburn

  • The Red Sox host the A's in a Thursday matinee.
  • Both of these lineups are similar, but our analyst found some value in the pitching matchup.
  • D.J. James shares his bet bet below.

Athletics vs. Red Sox Odds

Athletics Odds +120
Red Sox Odds -140
Over/Under 9.5 (+100/-120)
Time 1:35 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Paul Blackburn and the Oakland Athletics will face Rich Hill and the Boston Red Sox for a Thursday matinee. Blackburn has been a bit of a revelation this season. He is a solid starting pitcher who owns a 2.31 ERA against a 3.35 xERA. This means negative regression is on the forefront, but he has seemed to navigate his way around it. Also, 3.35 is still a strong number. He is elite at missing barrels. In fact, he ranks in the 91st percentile in Barrel Percentage.

In the other dugout, Rich Hill is still kicking with a serviceable 4.33 xERA and ranks in the 63rd percentile in both Average Exit Velocity and Hard-Hit Percentage.

Now, Oakland has not exactly torn the cover off of the ball, but Blackburn will negate any weaknesses in the Athletics’ bullpen by pitching deep into this game. Take the A’s on the moneyline against Hill and the Red Sox.

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Oakland Athletics: Blackburn Matches Up Well

Blackburn did struggle with this Red Sox lineup on June 4 and gave up four earned runs in four innings. He should throw better in this game. For one Enrique Hernández and Christian Arroyo are both on the Injured List, so the Red Sox are a little depleted.

In the past month, Boston has not been elite against right-handers. Only Trevor Story has a .340+ xwOBA. Alex Verdugo comes in at .332, so even though they have a 119 wRC+ in the past month, the expected numbers display another story. This is what Blackburn can exploit. For one, his Average Exit Velocity is only 87.4 MPH, so he will keep Rafael Devers and the other big boppers of the lineup in check. This should be enough to pitch six-plus innings because his walk rate is only 5.7% and Boston only has a 7.7% mark in the past month.

This is paramount given how poorly the Oakland bullpen has been. Since May 15, they have a collective 4.75 xFIP. This is boosted by a select few pitchers, though. They have six bullpen arms with an xFIP under 4.00, so they should have enough to throw Boston’s way when Blackburn exits his start.

Boston Red Sox: Can Hill Continue Strong Stretch?

Rich Hill has been pretty sharp over his past two outings and the A’s have the same lineup issues as the Red Sox. Stephen Piscotty is on the Injured List, but they are otherwise healthy. Either way, they only have a 91 wRC+ off of lefties in the past month. Oakland’s wRC+ against righties in 89 — notable in case Hill exits the game early and a right-hander takes over.

Off of southpaws in the past month, the A’s only have Elvis Andrus and Tony Kemp over the .330 xwOBA mark, much like Story and Verdugo. This says both lineups are essentially the same with the better starting pitcher going for Oakland.

Boston does have a good group of relievers. They have a bullpen xFIP of 3.59, but only five arms under a 4.00 xFIP. This is slightly less than Oakland and should be impactful because Hill has only pitched six innings twice this season. The edge goes to the Athletics.

Athletics-Red Sox Pick

Blackburn is the more durable starting pitcher of these two. Boston’s success off of righties has been a bit overstated, relative to expectations. These lineups are much closer than expected when going against these types of starters. Expect Oakland to squeak by with a close victory with Blackburn going at least five solid innings. The A’s should get some runs off of Hill and a short bullpen. Take Oakland from +120 to -110.

Pick: Oakland Athletics +120 | play to -110

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