MLB Betting: Blue Jays vs. Athletics Pitchers Influence Odds

Jeff Grant

Thursday, July 3, 2014 1:18 PM GMT

The Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays are known for scoring runs in bunches, but they’ll be limited offensively by the scheduled starting pitchers in Thursday night’s series opener.  Let’s take a closer look at the MLB betting odds for this American League matchup.

It’s time to hit the road
Toronto is set to begin a 10-game, 11-day road trip that will lead directly into the 2014 MLB All-Star break, as it finished out a 5-4 homestand by picking up a 7-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers Wednesday. The Blue Jays pace the Majors with 111 home runs on the season, with first baseman Edwin Encarnacion leading the charge with 26 round trippers.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is 38-54 as underdogs of +125 to +175 when playing away from the Rogers Centre.


Swept out of the Motor City
Oakland was outscored by a 17-7 combined margin in suffering a three-game road sweep against the Detroit Tigers, but it still possesses the best record in baseball due to its plus-125 run differential. The Athletics’ pitching staff is also enjoying a strong 2014 campaign, considering it leads the Junior Circuit with a .231 opponents batting average.

MLB handicappers will find that the club is a tremendous 34-17 in July over the last two-plus seasons, with the 'under' going 31-18-2 in that situation.


Dickey
Blue Jays starting pitcher R.A. Dickey (6-7, 4.24 ERA) has received just nine runs of support in dropping his last three trips to the mound, including a 5-4 home defeat to the Chicago White Sox—giving up five runs and five hits over six frames. The knuckleballer is 1-5 with a 4.83 ERA in seven road appearances, which has been caused by issuing 26 walks in 41 combined innings. Dickey has compiled a 2.25 ERA in his last four starts at this ballpark. 


Gray
Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (7-3, 3.20 ERA) didn’t earn a decision in a 7-6 road victory over the Miami Marlins last time out, as he surrendered a season-high-tying five runs and seven hits over five innings of work. The right-hander has served up just six home runs in 104 frames this season, which is an important statistic to handicap when making your pro baseball predictions Thursday. Gray was handed a 5-4 road loss by the Blue Jays in his only career outing against them on Aug. 10 of last season.


Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their MLB picks, as the 'under' is 4-0-1 in Gray’s last five starts as a home favorite of -150 to -200.

Free MLB Pick: Under 7.5 runs

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