Handicapper Predicts Athletics to Win Against Royals in Game 1

Doug Upstone

Monday, August 11, 2014 1:37 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 1:37 PM UTC

A fascinating series in the American League with baseball’s best team against the hottest club in the majors. For those making MLB picks, today and the next three days will be hard to find the winner.

The A’s juggernaut keeps rolling along and they have opened up a four game lead on Los Angeles in the AL West. Thanks to a 10-1 sprint, Kansas City has pulled to within one game of the loss column to Detroit and built a small cushion for the last wild card slot.

Can Oakland derail the K.C. express or are the Royals too hot to tame? Time to examine Game 1 of the series.

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Oakland Earns an “A” for their Season Long Performance
The Athletics have been either had the best record in baseball or been very near the top the entire season. Even when they have suffered lulls which they did recently in losing series to Houston and Kansas City, they have beaten the MLB odds and won five of seven the last week.

There is no better team against the betting odds for MLB picks as a favorite than Oakland with their 70-32 record, picking up +21.3 units of profit for backers.

All season, the A’s have been dominant, which shows up in run differential numbers at +168, which is more than double of the second-best team, the Angels (+80).

In this series, it will be worth watching the sportsbooks numbers, since Oakland is a paltry 2-13 as an underdog in 2014.


Kansas City Doing Best – Oakland – Imitation Lately
The hard-charging Royals are attempting to finally break a drought, a very long drought.

As mentioned, if the season were to end today (which of course it will not), Kansas City would have their first playoff berth since 1985. The Royals have been rolling in exceptional fashion in all facets, surrendering just 2.0 runs per game in their past 10 victories, while the offense has perked up in scoring 5.0 RPG since July 30.

K.C. has been truly domineering in drubbing the opposition, which is why they are 9-2 on the run line. Manager Ned Yost club is now 15-3 since July 22 and will take every chance in their last 46 games to prove they are post-season ready.


Pitching Matchup for Monday
Sonny Gray (12-5, 2.87) was elevated to “ace” status when Oakland lost key pitchers in spring training. Gray never blinked and accepted his role knowing he was only going to pitch every fifth day and he could only do his best. The A’s right-hander has been especially tough on the road where he is 5-1 (team is 7-2) with a 2.37 ERA and his focus will no doubt be fine-tuned after being hammered by Tampa Bay in last outing.

Despite being just 6’0 and 180 pounds, 23-year old Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.47) is a flamethrower. The Dominican dandy will ring up triple digits with his fastball and overwhelm batters at times with his high heat. However, like most pitchers who throw hard, location and control are often as issue, which is why he averages less than a strikeout per inning in spite of his velocity. Baseball handicappers are aware Ventura was light out in April (1.50 ERA) and June (2.90) and labored in May (5.60) and July (4.13) and will make his second start this month. Any result seems possible.


Bullpen View
All season long the Oakland and Kansas City bullpens have been the best in baseball. The Athletics rank 2nd in ERA and the Royals are 4th in the AL. Kansas City’s pen has pitched the second fewest innings, while Oakland is middle of the road in this category in the league.

The Athletics relievers don’t beat themselves, allowing the fewest walks in the junior circuit and its on-base percentage surrendered is also the best. Kansas City’s talented pensters are known for not igniting the fire; allowing the fewest home runs (21) and is tied with Seattle with 78 percent save percentage.


Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
These teams met the first three days of the month in the Bay Area with Kansas City taking the series. The Royals are 5-4 at home the past two years and over the last three seasons, these AL squads are a combined 13-4 UNDER.

Oddsmakers opened Oakland as -140 road favorites; however that number has slid to under -115 on the money line with a total of Ov7.


The Winner Is….
This AL affair does not have an obvious winner, having to choose between year-long excellence or the flavor of the week.

While it is tempting to back the home underdog playing so well, Ventura is a wild card and Gray is coming off one of his worst efforts of the season and the A’s righty has been a true stopper, as he and Oakland are 15-3 following a loss since last season.

MLB Free Picks: Bet that Oakland wins at Pinnacle Sports

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