Saturday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Orioles vs. Athletics Betting Preview (May 1)

Saturday MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Orioles vs. Athletics Betting Preview (May 1) article feature image
Credit:

Patrick Smith/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Harvey

Orioles vs. Athletics Odds

Orioles Odds +174
Athletics Odds -191
Over/Under 8 (-105/-112)
Time 4:07 p.m. ET
TV MLBTV
Odds as of Saturday morning and via PointsBet.

The Orioles stole game one of this series on the back of a strong performance from ace John Means and a two-run homer from Cedric Mullens.

However, Oakland is looking to even up the series today, and they have a very promising young arm on the mound today.

I’m uncertain of which side will get the job done, but I do see value in betting the total.

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Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have a really terrible offense, but one that’s been hitting slightly better in recent games.

Baltimore ranks at or near the bottom of every offensive statistic this season. However, the Orioles rank 18th in OPS and 15th in wOBA over the past seven days. During that time, they stole a game from these A’s and managed to split a four-game series with the Yankees.

Plus, the aforementioned Mullens is “flying”:

The Orioles' Cedric Mullins is flying:
34 hits, most in the AL.
9 doubles, 4 homers.
.337/.387/.545

— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) May 1, 2021

 

The bullpen has been carrying Baltimore during that stretch. The Orioles bullpen has pitched 34 innings over the past seven days and 16 in just the past three games. Over the past week, they’ve posted a WHIP of just .94, but they’ve also posted a 90% strand rate. Their xFIP of 4.44 is 23rd among bullpens during that stretch, so I would expect some regression from the Baltimore ‘pen soon.

Luckily, they have one of their better starters on the mound today:

Starting Pitcher: Matt Harvey (RHP)

Harvey is a long way from the All-Star he was in Flushing, but after years marred by injury and disfunction, he’s been very serviceable this season.

He’s started five games and posted a 4.26 ERA and a 1.3 WHIP, plus his FIP is only 3.29. Compared to last season, Harvey’s strikeout rate (19.1%) and ground ball rate have increased (49.4%) while his walk rate (5.5%) and home run rate (.71 HR/9) have decreased.

As he has for years, Harvey primarily throws a four-seam with some decent horizontal movement. However, he’s lost a lot of velocity on it, as it barely tops 93 mph now.

Additionally, he mixes in a sinker, curve, slider and changeup. His most effective pitch has been the changeup, where he’s allowing just a .147 wOBA, but it’s also he’s least thrown pitch (36 total this season).

Harvey is coming off a six inning win against the Yankees, where he allowed just one run on three hits. After some disastrous years, Harvey looks like he’s regained some confidence.

Oakland Athletics

Every season, it seems like the A’s have one stretch where they cannot lose. They win games in the most inexplicable ways and gain obscene ground on the rest of the league.

This year, it happened a little earlier than usual. The A’s currently boast a 16-10 record and 13 of those wins came in a row. But other than the win streak, the A’s are 3-7 with a run differential of -48.

Nevertheless, the A’s are on top of the AL West division despite the fact they boast an overall run differential of -3 and are 6-1 in one-run games.

The A’s most recently split a four-game series with Tampa Bay, and the offense has been just OK in recent games. Oakland has posted just a .579 OPS and a .259 wOBA over the past seven days, both stats that rank near the bottom of the league.

However, the A’s do continue to hit the ball well, even if it hasn’t always produced results. Their 10.2% barrel rate this season is second in MLB, trailing only the Reds. Matt Olson paces the team in that stat with an 18.2% barrel rate, and he also paces the team with a .401 wOBA.

But, like the rest of the A’s, Olson has been slumping recently. Olson is just 2-for-16 over Oakland’s past four games with five strikeouts and no walks.

Unlike the Orioles, the bullpen is fairly well-rested (just seven innings pitched over the past three games) and has performed well recently (10th in FIP over the past seven days). Hopefully, their promising young starter can keep the bullpen out of the game tonight.

Starting Pitcher: Jesús Luzardo (LHP)

Luzardo is just 23 years old and has shown flashes of brilliance. He throws a four-seam that reaches the upper 90s and a sinker that touches 95, and he throws those two pitches over 60% of the time.

Luzardo has posted a 5.40 ERA and 1.52 WHIP so far this season, but his 3.82 xERA and 4.05 xFIP suggest he’s maybe gotten a little unlucky so far. His .344 BABIP might have something to do with that.

On the bright side, Luzardo is striking out 10.44 guys per nine while recording a high whiff rate and a low hard-hit rate.

The knock on Luzardo’s career so far, however, is that he’s just too inconsistent.

His last two starts are a good example. Against the Twins on April 20, Luzardo pitched 5 1/3 shutout innings while allowing just two hits. Then, against these Orioles on April 25, he allowed three runs on seven hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings.

Personally, I think Luzardo is due for some positive regression, and I expect his stats to improve over the course of the season.

Orioles-Athletics Pick

I’m looking at the pitching matchups in this game, and it’s pushing me towards the under.

Both Harvey and Luzardo are fastball-first pitchers, and they both have favorable matchups in this one. Harvey will throw his four-seam, and the Athletics are 24th in MLB in wRC+ on fastballs. Meanwhile, Luzardo will throw his sinker, where the Orioles are 25th in weighted sinker runs created.

Additionally:

After last night’s 3-2 affair, I think we’re in for another low-scoring battle tonight.

Pick: Under 8 (-110 or better)

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