Tigers vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Finding Value for Oakland Against Detroit (Friday, April 16)

Tigers vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Finding Value for Oakland Against Detroit (Friday, April 16) article feature image
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Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Frankie Montas.

  • The Tigers and A's continue their four-game series at the Coliseum on Friday night.
  • Neither José Ureña or Frankie Montas is pitching especially well so far in 2021, but Ureña's lack of controls gives Oakland an edge.
  • D.J. James breaks down how he's backing the A's in this matchup of right-handers.

Tigers vs. Athletics Odds

Tigers Odds +160
Athletics Odds -190
Over/Under 8.5
Time Friday, 9:40 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds as of Thursday and via PointsBet

In the second of a four-game set, fans get set for possibly the worst pitching matchup of the day: José Ureña faces Frankie Montas.

Both of these starters have struggled, outside of Montas’ last appearance against the Astros. These are two of the weaker arms on both of these teams, and both struggle to even find the strike zone.

This is the possible edge. Free passes will allow for plenty of scoring opportunities on both sides of the ball. Neither of these teams is particularly dazzling at the plate, so will either execute?

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Detroit Tigers

Ureña signed with the Tigers in January after the Marlins non-tendered him. He has not pitched well in his first two starts with Detroit, failing to take advantage of his plus fastball.

Ureña’s walk rate through two starts is exponential (24.3%), and he has allowed an average exit velocity over 90 mph, per Statcast. Teams are not necessarily mashing the ball off of him, but there are no indications of his wildness on the mound slowing down.

The Detroit bullpen currently spots a 6.65 ERA and 4.95 xFIP, which means that once Ureña accrues plenty of pitches early in this game, someone will have to find outs. The Tigers also allow a litany of fly balls and home runs (18.8%).

If the Ureña leaves the game early and the bullpen keeps letting balls get hit in the air, this could be a disaster quickly.

On the other hand, the Tigers have been about league average at the plate. This team does not walk very much, but it entered play on Thursday with a league-leading 19 home runs led by Wilson Ramos (six) and rookie sensation Akil Badoo (four). Even if they are swinging at pitching outside of the zone, the Tigers have a few players who can offset their chase rate with power.

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Oakland Athletics

Montas, like Ureña, has started 2021 by giving up some hard-hit balls. His average exit velocity against is 89.4 mph, so he is not as bad as Ureña in that department but is still underwhelming.

However, Montas should succeed if he can manage to work around the walks, although I am not necessarily confident in him to do so. He was in the bottom half of the league in walk rate in 2020. Montas’ 2019 season seems to be more an outlier than being indicative of potential future success.

In addition to the starter for the day, the A’s bullpen has struggled with a collective 5.26 ERA. This will probably stabilize as the season moves along, but as of now, they do not have an advantage over the Detroit ‘pen. Frankly, this is a fairly similar situation, although Montas is the stronger hurler compared to Ureña.

Detroit has been the better hitting team between the two, but Oakland has been unlucky with its .266 BABIP. The A’s only have an 8.8% walk rate but given Ureña’s lack of control, they may not have another choice other than to let pitches go.

The top of Oakland’s lineup, though, should be patient enough. Jed Lowrie, Mark Canha, Sean Murphy, Seth Brown and Matt Chapman all exceed the 10% walk rate threshold. This is crucial to succeeding against Ureña. If you can remain patient enough to not let his fastball get the better of you, he will eventually put you on base.

Tigers-Athletics Pick

Oakland should fare better, given its slight starting-pitching advantage and the patience among its best batters. Detroit can hit it out of the ballpark, but Ramos will not be able to maintain this kind of home run pace.

Oakland is the better play here, so take their run line with slight plus money. The A’s should be on base quickly and walking their way to a victory. They have enough players in the lineup who can hit for power, so the Detroit bullpen may have some issues with them in that regard, as well.

Pick: Athletics -1.5 +105 (play to -115)

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