Tigers-Athletics Betting Preview: Heading Back to the Over Well

Tigers-Athletics Betting Preview: Heading Back to the Over Well article feature image

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Edwin Jackson.

MLB Betting: Tigers vs. Athletics

  • Tigers Jordan Zimmermann (+171)
  • Athletics: Edwin Jackson (-181)
  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 9:05 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 11 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets.

After cashing another over last night, I’m adopting a “shoot ’til you miss” strategy of writing about my favorite over each day until it loses. It’s only right. Streaks are fun.

There are plenty of interesting games on tonight’s card, but I think Oakland-Detroit holds the most over value. I did initially hesitate with temperatures expected to drop into the 60’s, which will create less-than-ideal hitting conditions in that ballpark. However, a number of other factors point to an over tonight.

Jordan Zimmermann vs. Edwin Jackson would have been a semi-attractive pitching matchup about four or five years ago, but now it’s just two guys hanging on for dear life — trying to scrape and claw their way to the end of the season.

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After numerous health issues over the years, it’s actually remarkable to see Zimmermann still starting in the League. He did have a very brief run of effectiveness, but has since given up at least four runs (and at least two homers) in each of his past three starts. Following his most recent outing against Cleveland (3.0 innings, five earned runs), manager Ron Gardenhire said “Zim just didn’t have his stuff.” No kidding. Considering his age and injury history, I doubt we see that stuff suddenly reappear in the middle of a rough stretch.

As you might imagine, Zimmermann hasn’t pitched deep into games of late. In fact, he’s failed to pitch into the sixth inning in five of his past eight starts. Oakland should get several looks at a Detroit bullpen that ranks 21st in ERA — the day after a 13-inning affair. Zimmerman has also struggled significantly in the second half throughout his career. As you can see, there are plenty of non-weather factors that point to Oakland runs.


Meanwhile, Edwin Jackson has found yet another home in 2018 — and has now pitched for an MLB-record 13 teams (tied with Octavio Dotel). It’s remarkable how many turns his career has taken. Jackson sports a relatively lucky statistical profile that strongly points toward regression, including a significantly below league average .226 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play).

In addition to his fortunate underlying metrics, there’s also an emotional component to consider. After Jackson won his 100th career game in his previous start, he mentioned the importance of the milestone — especially since his wife had traveled the prior three weeks trying to capture the moment live. After the victory, his wife led a champagne celebration in the clubhouse. It’s a nice story. While I don’t think narratives like this can single-handedly drive betting decisions, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a letdown. It’s only natural.

Bottom line: I’m playing the over tonight, expecting the 2018 versions of both Jackson and Zimmermann.

The Bet: Over 8.5

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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