Tigers vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Oakland Has Value Even as Favorite (Thursday, April 15)
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Chapman and Seth Brown.
- Oakland and Detroit have both gotten off to slow starts, but the A's are expected to rebound.
- The Tigers are missing Miguel Cabrera, but Oakland has one of baseball's worst bullpens.
- Kevin Davis explains why he's not shying from the Oakland moneyline.
Tigers vs. Athletics Odds
|Time||9:40 p.m. ET|
On Thursday night, the Oakland Athletics host the Detroit Tigers. Both teams are similar in that they started off the season poorly but have played well recently. What makes these teams different is in how their seasons are likely to end.
The Tigers are likely to eventually finish last in the AL Central while the A’s are likely to finish close to the top of the AL West and potentially make the playoffs. Oakland is a better team than Detroit, and they should win. It may be a steep price, but Oakland winning outright at -157 is a great value.
The best reason to bet against the Tigers this season is because of their lineup. Detroit averages only 3.91 runs per game which is the sixth fewest in MLB and the fewest in the American League. Further hurting the Tigers is the absence of DH Miguel Cabrera due to an injury. While Cabrera is past his prime as a 37-year-old, he is surprisingly one of the Tigers’ best offensive players. Based on my model, Cabrera’s absence will cost the Tigers .16 runs per game.
With or without Cabrera, there are no above-average offensive players in the Detroit lineup. Without Cabrera there are only three average offensive players in the Tigers lineup: OF Robbie Grossman, 3B Jeimer Candelario, and OF Nomar Mazara. While 22-year old rookie OF Akil Baddoo has been impressive in 23 at-bats this season, I anticipate him reverting to the mean as a rookie and performing below average offensively for the remainder of the season.
In addition to the Tigers lineup being a liability, their pitching is a liability as well. The starting pitcher Tarik Skubal had a 1-4 record with a 5.63 ERA last season. This season in only two starts, Skubal has a 0-1 record with a 7.71 ERA, and a 6.64 xFIP. What should be most worrisome for the Tigers is not Skubal, but the fact that he typically pitches for only four innings per start. Even though Skubal is a work in progress, he is still a better pitcher than the Tigers bullpen. Currently the Detroit bullpen has a collective ERA of 6.86 which is among the worst in the league.
The Oakland lineup is so strong that only four of their players are worse than the Tigers’ best offensive player. Even though the Athletics are averaging only four runs per game, which is only .09 more runs per game than the Tigers, over a long season they are likely to score more runs per game than they are scoring now. Based on their likely lineup for Thursday’s game, my model projects the A’s to average 4.79 runs per game over the course of a full season.
With a lineup containing OF Mark Canha, OF Ramón Laureano, 3B Matt Chapman and 1B Matt Olson, Oakland should have no problem producing runs over the course of a full season. Against Tarik Skubal and the Tigers bullpen, Oakland should do very well on Thursday night.
The weakness of the A’s is in their pitching. Oakland’s bullpen has the fifth-worst ERA in the league, and not all their starting pitchers are terribly good. Their starting pitcher for Thursday, Sean Manaea, has gotten off to a rough start this season. However, I am not too worried about Oakland’s pitching against a weak Detroit lineup.
Some sports bettors will tell you to never bet a moneyline if it is greater than -150. Those sports bettors do not understand the concept of value and they are spreading a dangerous sports-betting myth. With the Athletics as -157 favorites, they would need to win Thursday’s game 61.1% of the time to break even on their bets. The Action Network has a great tool for converting odds into their breakeven price.
My model gives the A’s a 63.9% chance of winning. This is based on Detroit’s woeful lineup and weak pitching. I am taking the Oakland -157 moneyline, and I would bet it up to -165.
Pick: Oakland Athletics Moneyline (-157) would bet up to -165