Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Are Blaine Hardy, Brett Anderson Trustworthy?

Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Are Blaine Hardy, Brett Anderson Trustworthy? article feature image

Kelley L. Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Brett Anderson

  • Two unheralded pitchers will take the mound for the Athletics and Tigers on Friday.
  • Brett Anderson and Blaine Hardy are both trending upward and should be comfortable in a pitcher-friendly park tonight.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing we can do about a bad beat, which was our fate last night despite Madison Bumgarner and Zack Greinke doing a nice job taking a 3-1 score into the eighth. It was then, however, that Arizona’s league-best bullpen let things get away. Let’s get back on track heading into the weekend.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 70-47-3, +17.9 units

Yesterday’s Result: Giants-Diamondbacks Under 7.5, Bumgarner vs. Greinke (loss)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Detroit Tigers @ Oakland Athletics | O/U: 9

10:05 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Blaine Hardy (4-3, 3.61 ERA) vs. Brett Anderson (2-3, 5.55 ERA)

>> All odds as of 7 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets.

OK, bear with me. I realize on the surface, this doesn’t look like the most enticing pitching matchup to take an under. Considering the potential upward trajectory of both starters, though, as well as where this series opener between the Tigers and A’s will be taking place, you might be surprised.

Let’s start with Oakland’s veteran southpaw Brett Anderson, who is in his second stint with the club after pitching there from 2009-2013. That’s important because for a guy who doesn’t rely much on velocity and overpowering his opponent, being in your comfort zone and at ease can be invaluable.

The site of tonight’s affair could certainly accomplish that for the 30-year-old. The Oakland Coliseum is one of the friendliest parks in baseball for pitchers, and arguably the main reason for Anderson’s lackluster numbers this year might be the fact that he’s barely pitched at home. In fact, only one of his eight starts in 2018 has come in Oakland —  a rough outing in which he was ravaged by the high-powered Astros, but I’ll give him a pass on that one.

Prior to this season, Anderson had made 32 starts (and seven relief appearances) in front of A’s faithful, recording a 3.71 ERA and 1.22 WHIP across 218.1 total innings. While those may only be satisfactory marks in his Oakland home splits, they’re also more than acceptable when dealing with a betting total as high as 9.

Perhaps most importantly, Anderson has momentum right now. He started four ballgames since coming off the disabled list less than a month ago, and in three of those, he surrendered three runs or fewer. The key for Anderson will be preventing home runs, which he should do considering he’ll be working from the Bay Area, and opposite a club that slugs a homer once every 38.5 at-bats with a left-hander on the hill. That’s the fourth-worst mark in the American League.

Toeing the rubber against Anderson is Blaine Hardy, who is probably unfamiliar to most, but that’s understandable given the “whatever” role he’s occupied this year for manager Ron Gardenhire. In other words, he’s been a member of both the rotation and the bullpen, and while he’s done a serviceable job in this swingman position, it’s apparent he prefers starting based on comments he made leading up to the season.

Hardy would need to continue the fine work he’s provided to get another start. He’s picked up two starts since re-entering the rotation, and though he didn’t fare well against Boston a couple weeks ago, he did find success his last time out with an impressive showing in a victory over the Indians. That’s typically been the end game when Hardy starts, having given up no more than three earned runs in all but two of his 10 starts.

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Like his counterpart, Hardy figures to be in a comfort zone of his own as well, considering he recently raved about how much he likes pitching at Comerica Park, citing it as an “unbelievable pitcher’s park.” No, he’s not in Detroit in this one but the Oakland Coliseum is an even more favorable venue for pitchers, meaning Hardy may be feeling right at home within their spacious dimensions.

It’s definitely a risky wager, but I’m on the under nonetheless.

Play: UNDER 9 (-110)

Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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