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MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Orioles vs. Athletics Betting Preview (Sunday, May 2)

MLB Odds, Picks, Prediction: Orioles vs. Athletics Betting Preview (Sunday, May 2) article feature image

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Manaea.

  • Sean Manaea looks to stay red hot on Sunday against the Orioles in the series finale.
  • The Athletics have a favorable matchup against Baltimore lefty Bruce Zimmermann and can seal a series win.
  • Tanner McGrath breaks down where the betting value lies in Oakland.

Orioles vs. Athletics Odds

Orioles Odds +165
Athletics Odds -195
Over/Under 8.5
Time Sunday, 4:07 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via PointsBet

After a narrow victory in the opener of this series, the Orioles absolutely smoked the A’s in the second game of this series on Saturday. Matt Harvey pitched very solidly, and a six-run explosion from Baltimore in the third inning proved too much for Oakland.

The A’s will try to avoid the sweep tonight. Lucky for them, they have one of the hottest starting pitchers in the big leagues on the mound.

Let’s dive into where the value lies in this matchup.

Baltimore Orioles

After a very lackluster start, the Orioles’ lineup has really been producing lately.

Every single Baltimore batter had a hit yesterday. Plus, the hottest hitter in the Orioles’ lineup — Cedric Mullins — also walked twice.  While their season-long OPS sits close to .600, the Orioles are closer to .700 over the last seven days.

Plus, after days of torment, the Baltimore bullpen finally got a bit of reprieve Saturday afternoon. The Baltimore bullpen had pitched upwards of 35 innings over the past week, and Harvey managed 5 2/3 innings on Saturday night. It was a five-run game by the time the bullpen had to enter.

It’s good that the Orioles relievers got some rest, because I don’t have much faith in their starter for the series finale.

Starting Pitcher: Bruce Zimmermann (LHP)

So far this season, Bruce Zimmermann has a 5.33 ERA and a 1.58 WHIP. However, his stats should be even worse.

Compared to last season, Zimmermann’s strikeout rate is down, his walk rate is up, his ground-ball rate is way down and his 80% stranded rate isn’t sustainable. Predictably, he’s recorded a xERA of 7.08 and a xwOBA of .415, both stats that rank in the bottom 7% of pitchers.

Moreover, Zimmermann has managed just 13 1/3 innings over his last three starts. He’s allowed four home runs over that stretch and has walked six batters to just nine strikeouts.

Basically, Zimmermann hasn’t been any good and should be due for even more regression. I would be really cautious touching Zimmermann right now.

Zimmermann throws his four-seam fastball about half the time with a velocity that’s hovering right around 91 mph. Hitters have been teeing off on it, batting .450 and slugging .875 on Zimmermann’s fastball this season.

Oakland Athletics

Outside of their 13-game win streak, the A’s have been a really bad team this season. Now, they’re staring down the barrel of a three-game home sweep at the hands of the Orioles. Yikes.

The lineup has been awful in recent games. Over the past seven days, the A’s are 27th in OPS (.583), wOBA (.260) and wRC+ (72). Their best hitter — Matt Olson — was out of the lineup on Saturday and at the time of this writing, it’s unclear if he’ll play in the finale. However, he’s just 2-for-16 over his past four games, anyway.

For all their faults, however, the A’s have been seeing the ball well. They’re second in MLB in barrel percentage (10.3%) and are top 10 in chase rate (24.7%).

Hopefully, the A’s will snag some runs against the weak Zimmermann, and their starter today will continue to pitch like a Cy Young Award candidate.

Starting Pitcher: Sean Manaea (LHP)

Following a terrible 2021 debut, Manaea has been lights out.

Over his past four starts, Manaea has pitched 24 innings with a 1.50 ERA and 1.04 WHIP while striking out 24 and walking only six. The A’s won all four of those games.

However, similar to Zimmermann, we should probably be cautious with Manaea. Over this four-game stretch, Manaea has a 90% strand rate and a ground ball rate under 40%. While his ERA is just 2.83 on the season, his xFIP is up over 3.80.

Personally, I would say Manaea has been good, but we should expect some regression. I don’t expect him to pitch like this for the remainder of the season.

Anyway, Manaea’s sinker has been his most used pitch every season since 2017, but he has some extra velocity on it this season. He’s averaging 91.4 mph on the sinker compared to 90.4 last season and 89.8 in 2019.

His off-speed stuff has been slightly more effective, however. His three-pitch mix includes a curveball and a changeup, both of which don’t have a lot of movement but produce a high whiff rate. His whiff rate on the changeup is over 40%, while his whiff rate on the curveball is over 50%.

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Orioles-Athletics Pick

I’m backing the A’s to win on Sunday for a few reasons.

Firstly, I think they will be able to avoid the sweep at home. They should come out energized and motivated to win the final game of this series.

Secondly, while Manaea is due for some regression, he’s still been overwhelmingly better than Zimmermann this season. I expect the Oakland lineup to tee off on Zimmermann’s pitches tonight.

Plus, Oakland’s hit well against lefties this season. While they’ve posted just a 95 wRC+ against righties this season, they’ve posted a 112 wRC+ against southpaws. So, I give the advantage to Oakland in this lefty-lefty matchup.

The A’s are heavy favorites Sunday afternoon. Therefore, I’m looking to play the run line at even money or better. I’m expecting the Oakland bats to come out hot against a terrible pitcher, and Manaea to hold his own enough that the A’s pull out a two-run victory.

Pick: Athletics -1.5 +105 (play down to +100)

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