MLB Betting: Go 'Under' Behind Giants Ace Bumgarner vs. Athletics

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, June 30, 2016 12:34 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 30, 2016 12:34 PM UTC

I'd say Thursday's series finale in Oakland is a Battle of the Bay Area between the Giants and Athletics, but San Francisco is clearly a superior team in 2016. Who will be our MLB Pick?

What You Need To Know
San Francisco is neck-and-neck with the Chicago Cubs for the best record in the National League. Getting that top seed for the playoffs could be hugely important as it  likely would mean avoiding Washington, another very good team and with two dominant pitchers in Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, in the NL Division Series. The top seed in each league gets to play the wild-card winner. The Giants are +350 on sportsbooks' MLB odds to win a fourth NL pennant this decade.

The Giants have been dealing with a lot of injuries this season. Still on the disabled list are starting outfielder Hunter Pence (and he won't be back for a while), third baseman Matt Duffy and pitcher Matt Cain. And now it appears that second baseman Joe Panik might have to join those guys. Concussions can be a weird -- and obviously scary -- injury. Panik was hit in the head by a pitch on June 18 against Tampa Bay but stayed in the game. He was put through three days of concussion tests and passed them. So he kept playing. But Monday night, Panik started feeling concussion-like symptoms. By the time you read this, he could be placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Panik is hitting .256 with seven homers, 36 RBIs and five steals on the season. Ramiro Pena should man second base if Panik has to go on the DL. Pena leads the team in batting average, albeit as a very part-time player. Remember that because this interleague game is in the AL park, the Giants add the designated hitter.

As for the A's, this season is essentially over already, although Oakland just took two games in San Francisco to open this week. Expect the A's to start selling off pieces very soon as Billy Beane is one of the most aggressive general managers in baseball. Lefty reliever Sean Doolittle, a former All-Star, is drawing heavy interest. One guy who could bring back a good return is lefty-hitting outfielder Josh Reddick. He returned to the lineup Tuesday from a DL stint. Reddick  hadn't played since May 20 due to a fractured left thumb.

Probable Pitchers
It looks like a pretty big mismatch on the  mound. San Francisco starts ace left-hander and Cy Young candidate Madison Bumgarner (8-4, 1.99). He's among the NL leaders in ERA, strikeouts (122), innings pitched (108.1) and WHIP (1.02). However, Bumgarner has lost his past two outings, although that really hasn't been his fault but a lack of run support. Last time out, Bumgarner allowed three runs and five hits over 6.1 innings against the Phillies. He threw 107 pitches, his 12th straight start with at least 100, the longest active streak in baseball. The Giants are 10-2 on MLB picks in Bumgarner's past 12 following a quality start in his most recent outing.

Bumgarner won't like pitching in this game because he absolutely loves to hit and is one of the best-hitting pitchers around. But with the DH, he won't get that chance.  Bumgarner faced Oakland once last year and got the win, allowing one run and five hits over seven innings. Reddick is 2-for-3 career off him with a homer and three RBIs. Jed Lowrie is 4-for-15 with five strikeouts. Yonder Alonso 2-for-13 with a homer and two RBIs. Billy Butler has a homer in six at-bats off Bumgarner.

Oakland is expected to start rookie lefty Dillon Overton. The 24-year-old was the team's second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2013 but then almost immediately had to undergo Tommy John surgery. Overton, a bit of a soft-thrower, is past that now. He made his big-league debut Saturday at the Los Angeles Angels and got the win, allowing three runs on seven hits -- three solo homers -- over 5.2 innings with three strikeouts and two walks. Overton was called up from Triple-A Nashville, where he was 8-4 with a 3.01 ERA this year. He's considered the team's No. 9 overall prospect. Overton was the first Oakland pitcher to start and win his MLB debut since the forgettable Bobby Cramer on Sept. 13, 2010. Cramer would make only nine big-league appearances in his career with the A's (last in 2011) and is now out of baseball.


Betting Analysis
Giants and 'under.' San Francisco has won 17 of Bumgarner's past 22 starts vs. teams with a losing record. The 'under' is 5-1-1 in his past seven interleague starts. The 'under' is 5-1-1 in Oakland's past seven interleague games vs. a lefty.

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MLB Picks: Giants -140 & Under 7 (+105)
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek

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