Free MLB Picks: Bet Rangers -123 vs. Athletics

Willie Bee

Monday, May 20, 2013 1:22 PM GMT

Monday, May. 20, 2013 1:22 PM GMT

They were supposed to see a big drop-off on offense and there were question marks throughout the pitching staff entering spring training. So naturally, the Texas Rangers have the best record in the majors and are enjoying the biggest lead in any of the six MLB divisions.

Texas can build on its American League West lead, or watch that gap shrink with the Oakland Athletics in town to begin Week 8. The A's come to Arlington 6.5 games behind the Rangers after the teams also started off Week 7 against each other in Oakland. 

The second of six series meetings between the two comes out of the chute with Bartolo Colon making his 384th career start and Josh Lindblom making his first. Texas opened as -140 chalk on the overnight MLB odds, but action on the A's sliced that moneyline down to the low-to-mid -120s. Monday's total is 9.5 runs, and generally priced to reach deeper into the pockets of those backing the OVER with their MLB picks.

[gameodds]3/227262/43/us[/gameodds]

Oakland hosted the Rangers for three a week ago when both the Rangers and the UNDER cashed twice at The Coliseum. Texas holds an 81-73 advantage on the latest diamond in Arlington, winning six of the 10 played here in 2012 and 13 of the last 18 in the Lone Star State. Totals ran 3-5-2 O/U/P a year ago at Rangers Ballpark.

Athletics Look To Build On 3-Game Win Streak

After losing the final two games of the series with Texas last week, Oakland finished up their homestand with a sweep of the Royals over the weekend. All three contests were 1-run victories after the club dropped six of is first 11 such finals. 

Colon's start last week against the Rangers was also a 1-run affair, but ended in Texas' favor. The beefy Dominican didn't figure into the decision, which was Oakland's third straight loss with Colon on the hill after the A's began the season winning his first five starts. 

He has exhibited excellent control with just two walks in a little more than 47 innings, but Colon may be catching too much of the plate recently with opposing hitters taking him deep five times in his last three outings, a span of just 15.1 IP. He split his two starts vs. Texas last year, both contests played in Oakland, and last faced the Rangers on this field while he was with the Yankees in 2011 (4.1 IP, 5 ER, 2 HR). 

Banged-Up Rangers Boast MLB's Top Record

Texas took three of four from the Tigers over the weekend, including Sunday's series finale that turned into an 11-8 slugfest with most of Detroit's plate crossing courtesy of three Miguel Cabrera homers. The Rangers are finishing up a homestand with this set and own the best record in baseball at 29-15 (.659).

Lindblom was originally groomed as a starter after being a 2nd-round pick in 2008 by the Dodgers, but he spent the last two seasons working out of the LA and Philadelphia bullpens. The former Purdue star began 2013 at Triple-A Round Rock before getting this call when Alexi Ogando went on the DL last week with a biceps injury.

The results were very good for Lindblom who hurled 43.1 IP in seven starts and a relief outing, posting a 2.08 ERA with a tiny 0.87 WHIP while down on the farm.

Lindblom isn't the only Texas player making his season debut tonight. The Rangers also lost 2B Ian Kinsler (ribs) to the DL over the weekend, and Jurickson Profar has been called up to take his place. The 20-year-old got a short taste of the majors late last year when he appeared in nine games and batted. .176. Profar was hitting .278 with 4 HR at Triple-A before the move. 

Scattered thunderstorms are in the forecast for the D-FW metroplex, but just as important as the 30% chance of rain is the 20+ mph wind from the south. It will be coming in over the big right field wall, and that could lead to a swirling effect down on the field which might end up blowing flies out to right-center. 

Despite this being Lindblom's first career start, I'm going to back the Boilermaker with a play on the Rangers. Don't get away from the site before checking out my preview and free pick for the opener of the Yankees and Orioles series in Baltimore. 

My pick: Rangers -123 at Bet365
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