MLB Expert Picks for Wednesday: Will the Athletics Get an Early Lead?

MLB Expert Picks for Wednesday: Will the Athletics Get an Early Lead? article feature image

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis (2).

Danny Donahue: Miami Marlins at New York Mets

Robert Dugger (0-3, 4.45 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (10-8, 2.51 ERA)

  • Marlins Moneyline: +360
  • Mets Moneyline: -490
  • Over/Under: 7.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET

All odds via PointsBet, where Action Network users get an exclusive 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Even with deGrom on the mound, the low total of 7.5 runs in this game — lowest on the slate — has drawn 70% of bettors to the over. Generally I’m turned away from unders with big-name starters (because they’re usually on the popular side), but that clearly isn’t the case here.

In fact, even with the over’s popularity, the juice on the under has moved from -110 to -115.

What’s really getting me to jump aboard the under train, however, is the hefty moneyline price on the Mets at home. At -440, the Mets should be in control of this game through the first 8.5 innings, which means that the bottom of the ninth is unlikely to be played. In other words, the stronger lineup should get only eight offensive frames instead of nine.

Since 2005, in low-total games (8 or less) where the number doesn’t rise (to filter out any potentially sharp overs), the under has gone 47-26-1 (64.1%) when the road team is listed -300 or higher.

The PICK: Under 7.5

Sean Zerillo: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels

Frankie Montas (9-2, 2.70 ERA) vs. Andrew Heaney (4-6, 5.10 ERA)

  • A’s Moneyline: -200
  • Angels Moneyline: +185
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET

I have made no secret about my method of playing the Oakland Athletics against left-handed starters; and was disappointed that they only managed two runs (on a home run by Khris Davis) against Angels lefty Dillon Peters on Tuesday.

It was Oakland’s first time ever facing Peters, and they appeared to struggle with that lack of familiarity. That won’t be the case on Wednesday with Andrew Heaney on the mound.

The southpaw allowed five runs in a 12-3 home loss to the A’s on June 30; his worst outing against Oakland to this point in his career.

Heaney has fared pretty well against A’s hitters overall, with a 26:5 strikeout to walk ratio, and a .654 OPS allowed over 77 at-bats.

But this is about the trend, and the fact that the A’s are 47-24-2 (66.2%, +$1,704) against the first five innings (F5) spread when facing a lefty, dating back to July of last season. When their assembly line gets going against a southpaw, they rake them over the coals.

Oakland also gets Frankie Montas back tonight for their final few regular season games – as he will not be eligible for postseason play. The righty was in the midst of a breakout season (2.70 ERA, 2.91 FIP) prior to being suspended for PED use.

Montas owns a powerful (average 96.7 mph) sinker, which helps to generate a 50% groundball rate, and he also throws a plus slider.

But his newly discovered splitter, which quickly became a big part of his arsenal (18% usage in 2019), has been the difference maker:

11 dirty Frankie Montas Swing & Miss Splitters in 16 Seconds. 😦

— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) May 22, 2019

Montas looked like a frontline starter earlier in 2019, and I’ll back him, along with the A’s offense, to lead after the F5 portion of tonight’s contest.

The PICK: Oakland Athletics (-0.5) First Five Innings Spread

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