Brewers vs. Athletics: Take 'Under' 8 Our Sharp MLB Pick

Jason Lake

Tuesday, June 21, 2016 12:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 21, 2016 12:28 PM UTC

The Oakland Athletics are –135 favorites on the MLB odds board for Tuesday's matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers. But something is wrong with Oakland's best pitcher.

Poor old Sonny Gray. Just about everything went right for Gray during his first three years with the Oakland Athletics, as their first-round pick from 2011 quickly became the staff ace, earning himself a trip to the All-Star Game last year. This year, Gray (4.94 FIP) isn't going anywhere except the poorhouse. Oakland has lost eight of his 12 starts for a deficit of 5.23 betting units.

Maybe Tuesday's game (10:05 p.m. ET) against the Milwaukee Brewers will lift Gray's spirits. The A's are early –135 home faves on our MLB odds board as we go to press, with the Brewers sending Jimmy Nelson (also 4.94 FIP) to the mound. But given how badly things are going for Gray this year, do we really want to eat that chalk?

Mama Don't Take My Cortisone Away
Suffice to say we're skeptical here at the home office. FiveThirtyEight has Oakland (28-41, –13.25 units) winning Tuesday's tilt 55 percent of the time, the equivalent of –122 on our sick, wicked and nasty SBR Betting Odds Converter. Go figure, you have to pay a premium to bet on the All-Star pitcher at home.

But maybe it's worth a look. These two pitchers may have the same inflated FIP, but Gray (.304 BABIP, 64.3 percent LOB) has had more than his share of bad luck along the way, while Nelson (.279 BABIP, 75.3 percent LOB) is somewhat fortunate to be in the black at 0.43 units on a team record of 7-7. Gray's command has also been somewhat better since he returned from a strained right trapezius earlier this month. But how long will that anti-inflammatory shot he took keep Gray limber before he has to go on the DL again?


Fantasy Corner
At least it's only the Brewers (31-39, –4.59 units). They're No. 19 in the majors in hitting at .721 OPS, and they're without OF Domingo Santana (.737 OPS) because of a sore right elbow. Granted, that's miles ahead of Oakland batters at a collective .689 OPS. The A's have once again been sideswiped by injuries – they're near the top of the majors in man-games lost.

Oakland's bullpen looks good, though. Remember John Axford (4.28 FIP)? Milwaukee's former closer isn't what he used to be, but he has eight holds, three wins and a save for the A's this season. Axford is owned in 1.5 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues at press time. He'll be available Tuesday, since both teams were idle Monday.

We're leaning slightly toward the A's for our MLB picks, but the UNDER looks a bit tastier on the posted total of eight runs. Playing in that sewage plant known as the Oakland Coliseum will help; the UNDER is 20-15-1 there, with a park factor of 0.835 for runs. We'll buy that for a dollar.

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Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker
Record: 13-13 ML, 4-0 Totals (+4.14 units)

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