MLB Picks: Athletics -130 over Nationals

Joe Catalano

Sunday, May 11, 2014 3:42 PM GMT

Sunday, May. 11, 2014 3:42 PM GMT

It’s very rare that you see Gio Gonzalez (3-2, 2.91) and his Washington Nationals (19-17) a betting underdog in a ball game, but they face a renewed Scott Kazmir (4-1, 2.64) and an always tough Oakland A’s baseball team (22-15) in what should be a very competitive matchup.

See who we like as our betting pick for today’s ball game.

First pitch is set for 4:05 pm ET today at the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. This game can be seen on MLB TV.

5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the A’s as a -130 betting favorite and the total for this game is 7 runs.

The question is can Gonzalez and the Nats pull off the upset against a pitcher like Scott Kazmir, whose had a run of good and bad seasons? It’s definitely possible.

[gameodds]3/263773/?r3=43-19-349/dec&r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

The Atlanta Braves of the American League
The Oakland Athletics remind me of the Atlanta Braves of the past few seasons. You look up and down their lineup and although they possess very formidable players, there’s nothing special about either one of these teams. That said, they keep managing to win baseball game.

Not surprisingly, Oakland leads the American League West Division by 2.5 games and are currently on a 3 game winning streak. Washington is just looking to salvage something from this series and Gio Gonzalez might be the right man for the job.

Valuable MLB Picks for Sunday Night!

Gio Gonzalez
In his last 4 starts, Gonzalez has allowed just 7 runs in 25 1/3 innings of work. Except for 1 poor start against Atlanta on April 13th, Gonzalez has been nearly flawless. He’s a good strikeout pitcher and has held opponents to just a .208 BA this season. This will be a major test for the A’s if they don’t bring their “A Game”.

I’ve never been a big fan of Scott Kazmir because of his lack of consistency and he’s showing it to you in his last 2 starts. Kazmir has been a beast for most of the season thus far, but in his last 2 starts, he’s allowed 7 runs in 11 innings. Now, that’s not awful pitching, but if he wants to match Gio Gonzalez, he’ll have to pitch a lot better and I consider the Nats a live dog.

Washington was in control for most of Saturday’s game against Oakland, but the A’s and their never say die attitude, managed to fire back with 2 runs in the 9th inning and 1 run in the 10th inning to steal the victory away from the Nats.

 

Pitcher’s Duel?
Neither of these teams have a player that’s hitting .300 or above. Sure, Washington has had to endure injuries to key figures and Jayson Werth (.299) is as close to .300 as anyone can get, but neither of these teams are the Colorado Rockies.


John Jaso
Not many teams would have a catcher leading off, but the A’s John Jaso has been very successful. Jaso is coming off of a 3 for 5 game with a home run and 2 runs batted in and is hitting .350 with 2 HR and 4 RBI over the last week. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jaso sets the tone of this game for Oakland if Gonzalez was a bit off.

Oakland also has brings a bit of intimidation in the form of Josh Donaldson (7 HR, 25 RBI, .341 OBP%) and last year’s home run derby king in Yoenis Cespedes (7 HR, 25 RBI). If you can knock balls out at CitiField the way Cespedes did, you certainly have plenty of power.

 

Outcome
This game could go either way and as much as I’d like to take the underdog, I just can’t. The A’s have a knack for winning and even if Gonzalez pitches well, this game could be determined by the each team’s bullpen.

MLB Pick: Oakland -130 at 5 Dimes

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