Add Phillies +205 vs. Athletics to Sunday's MLB Picks

Darin Zank

Sunday, September 21, 2014 12:17 PM UTC

Sunday, Sep. 21, 2014 12:17 PM UTC

Oakland is leaking oil as the finish line approaches on this season; can the A's avoid another series loss when they host Philly Sunday afternoon (4:05 pm ET)? And how do we handicap this series finale for a free MLB pick?

The Betting Odds
Most of the MLB odds opened Oakland and Scott Kazmir at around -215 over Philly and AJ Burnett, with a total of 7.5 runs. Most books then bumped the A's about a dime, to the -225 range. Oakland could also be gotten at around -105 giving the run and a half on the run line.


The Situation
These teams have split the first two games of this series, Oakland winning 3-1 Friday night, Philly winning 3-0 Saturday. 

The A's have lost five of their last six series and 16 of their last 22 games. What once looked like a sure thing – a playoff berth - is now in jeopardy; Oakland's lead in the AL wild-card race is down to just one game over third-place Seattle. 

The Phillies, meanwhile, have been playing out the string on this season for a while now. More recently, they've lost two of their last three series and nine of their last 14 games. 

A's bats have been cold, totaling just nine runs over their last five games. But Philly's bats haven't been much better; they've been held to three runs or fewer in 10 of their last 15 games.


Sunday's Starters
Kazmir (14-9, 3.44), by our tough standards, is 17/30 on quality starts this season, but only one for his last five. Most recently he got nicked for four ER and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against Texas, and over his last five starts he's given up 21 ER through 23 innings.

For the season the 30-year-old lefty has allowed 156 hits in 178 innings, walked 49 and struck out 150. Oakland is 19-11 in Kazmir's starts, with the totals going 13-15.

Kazmir's most recent start against the Phillies came last year, when he was with Cleveland. He gave up four runs and six hits in five innings of a 6-2 Indians defeat.

Burnett (8-17, 4.40) is 14/32 on quality starts, but 0 for his last two and only two for his last eight. Last time out he gave up four ER and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings against San Diego, the weakest-hitting team in baseball. And over his last eight starts he's given up at least four ER six times. 

For the season the 37-year old righty has allowed 197 hits through 203 innings, walked 87, which is a bit too many, and struck out 180. Philly has gone 12-20 in Burnett's starts, with the totals going 16-15.

This will be Burnett's first start against Oakland since 2011, when he was with the Yankees.


Betting Trends
Philly has skewed toward the OVERS this season by an 80-65 margin.

The totals have gone 39-37 in games played at the Coliseum this year.


Injury Update
Philly SS Jimmy Rollins has missed recent action with a sore hammy, and is questionable to play Sunday. Also, the Phillies are without closer Jonathan Papelbon, who's suspended for pulling a Michael Jackson during a game against Miami last week. 


Free MLB Pick
The line on this game is ridiculous; at this moment Oakland shouldn't be favored by that much over its Double-A affiliate, whoever that is. The value in this spot resides with Philly. So we’ll take the +205 5Dimes is offering on the Phillies for our free MLB pick on Sunday's contest.

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