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Dodgers vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Is There Value With Los Angeles Starting Dustin May? (Monday, April 5)

Dodgers vs. Athletics MLB Odds & Picks: Is There Value With Los Angeles Starting Dustin May? (Monday, April 5) article feature image

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images. Pictured: Dustin May of the Dodgers.

  • Los Angeles picked up right where it left off, winning three of its first four game.
  • Oakland, meanwhile looked dreadful in its opening series, getting swept by the Astros.
  • Tanner McGrath explains why these trends will continue Monday.

Dodgers vs. Athletics Odds

Dodgers Odds -162
Athletics Odds +138
Over/Under 9 (-117/-104)
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
Odds as of Sunday Night and via DraftKings.

The 3-1 Dodgers continue their road trip to start the season, this time in Oakland, as the reigning champions take on the 0-4 Athletics.

The Dodgers are looking like the best team in baseball once again, while the A’s just had one of the worst opening series in MLB history.

Because of the Dodgers’ recent wins and the Oakland’s recent losses, there’s an argument to be made that the Dodgers are overvalued in this one. Plus, per our Sports Insights database, the Dodgers are just 1-9 at the Oakland Coliseum since 2006.

Is it worth betting on the road favorites in this one? Let’s break it down a little more.

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Los Angeles Dodgers

After a disappointing opening day loss, the Dodgers bounced back and took the next three from the Rockies in Denver. Los Angeles has picked up right where it left off in 2020.

Moreover, the Dodgers won Sunday with both Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager as healthy scratches. Starter Julio Urias gave up just one run on just three hits in the longest start of his career, as he pitched into the eighth. He also struck out six and walked just one in the win, managing to get through seven innings on only 77 pitches.

The Dodgers offense actually struggled in this one, garnering just four hits and going 0-for-4 with RISP. However, they managed to generate nine walks and scored three in the first on a wild pitch, a walk and a sacrifice grounder.

That’s what makes the Dodgers so dangerous — they can beat you in different ways. The Dodgers sport a lineup that can hit with power and has speed. It also has great starting pitching with a top-10 bullpen.

If Urias has to pitch the game of his life to steal a game in Coors Field in April, so be it. The Dodgers will score 10 runs the next night anyways.

Starting Pitcher: Dustin May

Although David Price is back, May was named the Dodgers’ fifth starter for 2021.

May’s had a few good years in the show. As both a starter and a reliever, he’s posted a sub-3.0 ERA and a sub-4.0 FIP. While his xERA is a little high, his xFIP is also sub-4.0, which makes me believe he’s not due for any regression in 2021.

May does a lot of things well. He started 10 games last season and went at least five innings in seven of them. He’s not a big strikeout guy (20.8 career K%), but he almost never walks batters (5.8 career BB%).

May has great stuff. He throws mostly a sinker, with a good number of cutters and curveballs. In 2020, May finished above the 90th percentile in fastball velocity, fastball spin and curve spin, per Baseball Savant.

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Oakland Athletics

Well, the Dodgers look great. How about Oakland, the reigning AL West champion Athletics?

The #Astros are the first team since at least 1901 to begin the season with a 4-game sweep, with every win coming by at least four runs.

As for the A’s, the first team to be on the other end of that stat: their next six games come against the Dodgers and the Astros.

— Jeremy Frank (@MLBRandomStats) April 4, 2021

After losing to the Astros 3-1 in the ALDS last season, Oakland is now 1-7 in its last eight games against Houston.

By posting a league-average offense and a rotation headed by Chris Bassitt and Mike Fiers, I’m trying to understand how the A’s finished 12 games over .500 in a 60-game season. I think I’ve found a few answers.

First, the A’s went 6-1 in extra-inning games last season.  Second, the A’s posted a 15-16 record in July and September last season but went 19-8 in the month of August. The A’s can be streaky, and that 27-game stretch essentially won the division for Oakland.

Finally, the bullpen pitched lights out. Oakland’s relievers finished first in ERA, second in WHIP and third in FIP last season. Unfortunately for the A’s, the linchpin of that bullpen, Liam Hendriks, now plays for the White Sox.

I don’t think Oakland is necessarily a bad team, but I think it’ll be tougher for them to win this division again in 2021.

Starting Pitcher: Frankie Montas

After absolutely crushing 2019, Montas was quite mediocre in 2020.

In 2019, Montas posted an ERA- of 59 and a FIP- of 68. Last season, those numbers skyrocketed to an ERA- of 133 and a FIP- of 109. His WHIP also jumped from 1.11 in 2019 to 1.51 in 2020.

We can’t attribute Montas’ lackluster season to bad luck, as all of his expected statistics worsened as well. Plus, his walk rate nearly doubled, going from 5.8% in 2019 to 9.7% in 2020.

Overall, I think Montas just had a down 60 games. Oakland fans are hoping he bounces back in 2021, as the back of the rotation could use him.

Similar to May, Montas throws mostly sinkers, but mixes in a 4-seam and a split finger as well. Montas hovers around the 90th percentile in fastball velocity, finishing in the 93rd in 2019 and in the 87th last season, per Baseball Savant.

Dodgers-Athletics Pick

The Dodgers and A’s played a three-game series last September, with the Dodgers stealing two of three at Chavez Ravine.

We saw a Dustin May vs. Frankie Montas pitching battle in that series. May pitched well, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five. Montas didn’t pitch well, allowing five runs on seven hits over just four innings. The Dodgers won that game 7-2.

I’m banking on more of the same in this one.

Dustin May posted a 3-0 record with a 2.37 ERA in five Cactus League games, so I’m hoping he builds on this momentum. Plus, the Dodgers have a huge advantage offensively, especially against right-handed pitchers. However, the bullpen matchups really sway me towards Los Angeles.

I mentioned the Oakland bullpen finished third in FIP last season, but the Los Angeles bullpen finished second. Plus, the Dodgers finished second in xFIP while the A’s finished ninth. I’m expecting some regression from the A’s bullpen, even without factoring in the loss of Hendriks.

This line opened at Dodgers -155, and most of the early money is on them. If the line continues to move that way, I would be hesitant at playing them any worse than -160.

Pick: Dodgers -160 or better

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