Lo Duca’s AL Wild Card Betting Preview: Will A’s Bullpen Game Backfire vs. Yankees?

Lo Duca’s AL Wild Card Betting Preview: Will A’s Bullpen Game Backfire vs. Yankees? article feature image

Kelley L. Cox, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Khris Davis and Jed Lowrie

Betting odds: Oakland Athletics at New York Yankees

  • Athletics Moneyline: +173 (Liam Hendriks)
  • Yankees Moneyline: -183 (Luis Severino)
  • Over/Under: 8.5 (-110/-110)
  • First pitch: 8:08 p.m. ET
  • Channel: TBS

>> All odds as of 12 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time MLB odds and track your bets

It is crazy to think we’re going to see two teams that combined for 197 wins play in a wild-card game. The A’s won more games than any National League team this season. These are two very good teams and they have similar strengths.

Luis Severino gets the nod for the Yankees, while Liam Hendriks will be the “opener” for the Athletics, as Bob Melvin looks to piece the game together inning by inning.

It wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Severino would start this game. J.A. Happ was the more consistent pitcher down the stretch, but Severino can be lights out.

If he gives the Yankees five or six shutdown frames, their dominant bullpen can take it from there.

I do wonder if Aaron Boone is gambling a bit here and looking ahead to a potential ALDS showdown with Boston. But that’s for the newspapers in New York to decide, not me.

Severino will be up against it in this one, as the A’s have serious pop. Against right-handed pitching this season, they hit 164 home runs  and finished tied for fourth (with the Yankees) with a .773 OPS and .333 wOBA.

Boone said he’s got 10 guys available in the bullpen, so if his 24-year-old starter gets in early trouble (like he did in the 2017 wild-card game against the Twins), expect a quick hook.

The A’s have only one starter on the 25-man roster for this game (Edwin Jackson), so it’s clear that Melvin is going to be in and out of the dugout often.

After Hendriks, the Yankees could see anyone. The bullpen game strategy makes it really hard for this lineup to prepare. I’d imagine Melvin will hold onto Blake Treinen, Jeurys Familia and Lou Trivino for big spots late in the game, but anything goes.

This is such a scary game for the Bombers.

This is a team that can get hot and win the World Series, but it could also strike out 15-plus times against these live arms. The Yankees struck out in 22.7% of their plate appearances in 2018, tied for 11th-highest in the majors.

At first glance, bettors will think this game should see some runs. We’ve got two of the best offenses in the league going at it in a band box.

I am going the other way for a few reasons.

First, we know that Severino can dominate on his day, and we know that this bullpen game by the A’s could be deadly.

Secondly, neither of these teams has faced live pitching since Sunday. I know that two days doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, it can affect a hitter in a big way.

The total for this game opened at 8.5 runs, and so far it seems like the public is going to be on the over.

At the time of writing, almost 80% of the bets are on the over, but the line has been stuck at 8.5. That tells me that the books are expecting professional money to come in on the under.

If you’re playing a side, I think the A’s at +170 or above is worth a play. You don’t win 97 games without having a complete team.

The Yankees are always a public team, and having their ace on the mound at home is inflating value.

This game is closer to a coin flip than these odds suggest, so I think Oakland is a smart play.

Bets: Under 8.5 (-110), Oakland +173

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