Bet the 'Under' in Blue Jays vs. Athletics

Joe Catalano

Saturday, July 5, 2014 2:28 PM GMT

We have a fantastic pitching matchup at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland as Mark Buehrle (10-5, 2.50) takes the mound for the Blue Jays (47-41) and he’ll be facing a revived Scott Kazmir (9-3, 2.61) who has been fantastic on possibly the best team in the majors in Oakland (53-33). Do we see an under the total in this game?

First pitch is set for 10:05 pm ET tonight at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. This game can be seen on MLB TV.

Odds makers from various SBR rated A+ sportsbooks agree that we should see a low scoring affair as the total is listed at 7.5 runs throughout the betting industry and Oakland is a -135 betting favorite.

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Low Scoring Series
In the two previous games, both teams have combined for a total 6 runs. That averages out to 1.5 runs per team per game. This is a little bit unusual because when players such as Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Reyes, Adam Lind, Josh Donaldson, and Brandon Moss are participating, you would expect more runs to be scored.

Overall, Toronto has the deeper lineup, but the A’s pitching has made them more victorious more often because good pitching wins ball games.


“Joey Bats”
Edwin Encarnacion may have the most violent swing out of any player in this game, but when Jose Bautista is hitting well, the Jays usually win.

Bautista, who is known for his ability to hit 40 to 50 home runs per season, has actually reached the .300 mark. Opposing pitchers fear this man as he draws a numerous amount of walks. His on-base percentage is a whopping.425. Bautista has hit safely in his last 4 games and has homered in two of those games despite the low scoring matchups against Oakland. I would advise Scott Kazmir to proceed with caution.

There really is no letup in this Blue Jays offense. Right after Bautista, Kazmir get’s to face Edwin Encarnacion (26 HR, 69 RBI, .278) and Adam Lind (.339 in 168 at-bats). Encarnacion is a very streaky player. He can hit 3 home runs in 2 games and has been known to do so. With Mark Buehrle starting for Toronto tonight, it’s all about the hitters ability to be effective against a tough Scott Kazmir.


Timely Hitting
Oakland isn’t about pretty numbers as they rank 16th in batting average, this is a team that comes up with timely hits and usually scores in bunches. They rank 1st in the major leagues in runs and have by far the best plus/minus differential where runs scored as opposed to runs allowed are concerned.

Veteran, Coco Crisp (7 HR, 29 RBI, .293, 14 SB) sets the tone for this offense and guys like Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, and Yoenis Cespedes who have a massive amount of power compliment the lighter hitters. Oakland also has unsung heroes such as Stephen Vogt and catcher John Jaso that also come through during clutch situations.

In a league that’s filled with weak hitting catchers, Jaso (7 HR, 25 RBI, .263) is becoming one of the more reliable ones.


Outcome
Even though the power and speed in these two lineups is outright scary, I’m going to side with the quality of the starting pitching and that means taking the under as my pick.

MLB Pick: Oakland/Toronto Under 7.5 at 5 Dimes