MLB Picks: American League West Betting Trends

Doug Upstone

Thursday, May 1, 2014 3:16 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 1, 2014 3:16 PM UTC

It is beginning to look like the American League West could be even more top heavy than first thought and for those making MLB picks, this is good news when they do not face one another.

Oakland has been undaunted by pitching injuries, Texas has not been able to assemble the team they expected and later will, while among the most disappointing clubs in baseball the past two years, the L.A. Angels, might have more starting pitching than presumed, adding to the intrigue with a formidable lineup.

Oakland Athletics
The best team in baseball for April was the A’s. How could I tell, total dominance. No question the +59 run differential is the best in the majors by 19, and some critics will argue that number is artificial because of a couple of blowouts.

Here is one number nobody who looks at the MLB odds can argue, Oakland is 9-1 in games decided by four or more runs. This points to great pitching and solid hitting.

Despite two major injuries to starting pitchers, manager Bob Melvin has just plugged in a Jesse Chavez and a guy like Scott Kazmir, who was considered washed up two years ago.

As talented Josh Donaldson said recently, “We expect to win every game and will fight to the end no matter what deficit we face.” He also added one other important factor, “…nobody understands how much talent we have.”

When making sports picks, the A’s have to be on the radar daily.

Texas Rangers
If I’m going to praise one team for pounding the opposition, I have to be consistent and point out the flaws of a team who is being destroyed. The Rangers are 2-8 in contests determined by four or more runs (three of those just came against the A’s).

Texas has been trying to find starting pitching beyond Yu Darvish and Martin Perez and has not found many reliable answers.

One problem that arose last season was supposedly addressed and that is scoring runs. As every MLB baseball handicapper knows, in the bandbox the Rangers play in, you have to hang crooked numbers repeatedly and with Texas averaging only 4.0 runs a contest, this is not enough.

Already the buzzards are circling around Prince Fielder, who is batting .206 with just two home runs. Betting for or against the Rangers is problematic at the moment.

L.A.A. Angels
In an article I wrote the other day here at SBR, I said the Angels are an undervalued squad and here is why.

While Disneyland might be just down the street from the Big A, there is nothing Mickey Mouse about the Los Angeles offense which has been among the best all season in averaging 5.5 runs a contest. This is without two key components, Josh Hamilton and Kole Calhoun.

We now can see what a healthy Albert Pujols can do and Mike Trout, he’s starting to go off into a league of his own.

With Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson at the front of the rotation, what the Halos needed was others to step up and the early returns at Garrett Richards and Tyler Skaggs have been impressive.

Yes, the bullpen blow games early, but the adjustment to Joe Smith as closer, at least for now has brought stability. Staying with the theme, it is hard not to like a team against the betting odds who is 8-3 in contests determined by four or more runs.

Seattle Mariners
With off-season acquisitions, Seattle was to leap into the fray of the division race. Robinson Cano and Corey Hart were supposed to be pieces with homegrown talent who was blossom after a few seasons in the big leagues.

Maybe this will still occur soon but right now, being 21st in offense will not cut it. This is especially true against right-handed pitching where they are just 4-11 (-8.4 units).

The Mariners pitching has not been half bad in surrendering just 4.08 runs, especially when two starters they were counting on yet to toe the rubber in 2014.

Unless the offense picks up, Seattle will have play against tendencies for the short term.

Houston Astros
You cannot hide the facts about Houston. Last season they went into full rebuild mode and it is going to be awhile before they are competitive.

If you notice they are compiling nine or 10 hits a couple days in a row and are facing a No. 4 or 5 starter, they could be play on material as an underdog against the sportsbooks. Otherwise, hard to back the Astros.

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