Handicapper's 'Play On' vs. 'Play Against' Picks of AL West

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, July 30, 2014 2:24 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 30, 2014 2:24 PM UTC

The big league’s best division is all but certain to send two teams to the postseason and has a real chance for three. But how will these clubs hold up on versus the betting odds? 

Time to grab the rake and see if we can uncover any nuggets on the frontrunners and what we find with the bottom feeders for MLB picks.


Oakland A’s
The Athletics, what a bunch of underachievers! I apologize for the cheap attention-gathering first sentence, but the fact is that it is actually true.

Oakland is on pace to win 100 games, but their run differential at this juncture of the season has only been met by a handful of teams in the last 74 years. Because of a mediocre 15-13 record in one-run games and being just 25th in save percentage in baseball, they are six games below where they should be record-wise and in truth, the A’s should be on pace to win 109 games!

After finishing their series at Houston, Oakland is back home where they are 34-17 (+7.9 units) and there is no better choice against the MLB odds as favorites than the Green and Gold at 64-27 (+24.7). Yea, play on these guys.


Los Angeles Angels
Only one team in the big league’s has played fewer road games then the Angels and they start balancing the books with a road trip to Baltimore, Tampa Bay and up I-5 in Los Angeles to take on the Dodgers.

Given the Halos record and their position in this division, they unquestionably want to do whatever it takes to win the AL West, because whoever finishes second is going to host a treacherous - one and done – wild card contest, which could wipe away a great regular season.

With the addition of Huston Street, the bullpen is in the best shape it’s been all year, which places the emphasis on the starting pitching to be more harmonious 1 thru 5. Nonetheless, with the majors No. 2 scoring offense, you have to consider Anaheim as a play on team.


Seattle Mariners
In our last visit, I recommended to Play On Seattle in away games and Play Against them at home. This advice was spot on if you use the Sports Book Review baseball standings page, because as of today the Mariners are +14.06 units on the road (29-20 record) and -12.38 (26-31) at home.

The takeaway is Seattle’s great pitching (Top 3 in all important areas) is real asset, but for some reason the offense averages 4.5 runs per game away from Coffee Town and 3.3 RPG at Safeco Field.

After a 2-5 homestand, the M’s might be pleased to be heading East for a road trip, where they have enjoyed more success and most MLB handicappers would agree they are worth a look as wager.


Texas Rangers
I hope manager Ron Washington does not end up being the fall guy for this mess. He had nothing to do with the injuries to the pitching staff and he did not have the final say on the names he could use on the lineup card, which are not the same as the past performance-wise.

This club is in free fall and has surpassed Houston with the worst run differential (-118). Sportsbooks are now padding the Rangers as underdogs, thanks to their desultory 15-40 record (-19.3).


Houston Astros
Being thought of as a terrible club has its advantages, especially when you can do a few things right. Sure the Astros are 43-64, but they have only lost 5.8 units.

While Houston only scores 3.8 RPG, they have been prone to outbursts and set themselves up for big innings. The ‘Stros are 13th in the majors in walks and fourth in stolen bases, which works well for them when their hitters are going deep (4th in home runs per game in baseball) and they win as large underdogs.

When betting the Astros, realize 22 of their 43 victories have come when they have been a +130 or larger underdogs. 

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