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Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Athletics vs. Tigers Betting Preview

Thursday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Athletics vs. Tigers Betting Preview article feature image

Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images. Pictured: Frankie Montas.

  • The A's and Tigers finish their three-game series Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park.
  • Frankie Montas's start was pushed up a day, and he'll be opposed by Detroit's Matt Manning.
  • Matt Trebby explains below why he thinks the Athletics will close the series with a win.

Athletics vs. Tigers Odds

Athletics Odds-170
Tigers Odds+145
TimeThursday, 1:10 p.m. ET
TVMLB Network
Odds as of Wednesday and via PointsBet

The A's continue their journey toward a potential postseason spot on Thursday afternoon by closing a series in Detroit.

Frankie Montas will toe the rubber for Oakland, having re-established himself as a quality innings eater for Bob Melvin's club. Matt Manning, meanwhile, has not been that for the Tigers in his first taste of big-league action.

The A's are heavy favorites for this matinee matchup. Let's see which side there's value on.

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Chapman Has Boosted Athletics Lineup

Montas was emerging as a legitimate big-league starter in 2019 when he was suspended for MLB’s PED policy. He struggled last season (5.60 ERA, 4.36 xFIP) but appears to be firmly back.

The right-hander has made 26 starts this season and is averaging about 5 2/3 innings per outing. He has a 3.66 ERA and 3.60 xFIP, most importantly because his walk rate is down from 3.91 in 2020 to 2.52 this year.

Montas is also red hot. He has a 2.17 ERA in 10 starts since the beginning of July, and he shut down the Giants and Yankees for seven scoreless innings in each of his last two starts.

Offensively, the A’s have gotten a massive boost with Matt Chapman’s return to form and the acquisition of Starling Marte.

At the hot corner, Chapman has nine home runs over his last 23 games, helping him to a .998 OPS. Matt Olson has slowed down a bit as the season has progressed, as has Jed Lowrie. Chapman bouncing back after an awful start to the season has kept the A’s lineup above water.

At the top of the order, Ramon Laureano’s shocking suspension created a hole in the A’s outfield, and Marte has an .855 OPS over his last 25 games, having stolen 16 bases without getting caught during that span.

Oakland finished August by winning three straight against the Yankees and Tigers, which was preceded by five straight losses. The A’s need to keep the ship sailing straight with a reasonable schedule to finish the season. If they do so, I anticipate they’ll pass the Red Sox for a wild-card berth.

Manning Not Meeting Tigers' Expectations

Along with Casey Mize, Manning was seen as one of the Tigers’ brightest stars in the minor leagues. Before the pandemic, he was rolling through the minor leagues and had a 2.56 ERA in 24 Double-A starts back in 2019.

Manning has struggled in his return to action this year, though. In seven Triple-A starts, he had an 8.07 ERA, and he’s at 5.46 with a 5.14 xFIP through 12 big-league outings.

The biggest difference is a staggering lack of strikeouts for Manning. He’s averaging 5.16 per nine innings in the majors, but he was striking out at least 9.72 per nine at every stop in the minors.

He features five pitches, throwing a fastball or sinker 58.9% of the time. The sinker is yielding reasonable results, but his other four offerings are being crushed.

Offensively, Detroit is 29th in OPS over the last 30 days. Sparkplug Akil Baddoo was sidelined by a concussion, while the rest of the Tigers lineup has been good but not great. Robbie Grossman has regained some of his early-season form, but it’s still a batting order without an impact run producer.

Athletics-Tigers Pick

The Tigers clearly heard my criticism and delivered an impressive offensive output on Wednesday night, including home runs from Baddoo and Miguel Cabrera.

I just don’t see it happening again. Detroit has shown promise over the past few months, but this matchup tilts in Oakland’s direction at every turn.

As long as I can get close to even money on the A’s run line, as I can at PointsBet as of Wednesday night, I’ll take it.

Pick: Athletics +1.5 (-110)

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