MLB Picks: Athletics & Pirates to go 'Under' 7.5

Steve Merril - Steve@prosportsinfo.com

Wednesday, July 10, 2013 1:28 PM GMT

Join sports handicapper Steve Merril as he dissects tonight's matchup between the Oakland A's and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Where should bettors look to place their MLB picks in this showdown?

The third and final game of this interleague series between Oakland (54-37) and Pittsburgh (53-36) commences on Wednesday night. Oakland is a perfect 11-0 all-time in this series. Pittsburgh is now 11-5 in interleague play after losing their last two games to Oakland.

Tommy Milone will get the start for the A’s while Francisco Liriano takes the mound for the Pirates.

Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.

Oakland A's & Tommy Milone

Milone owns an overall record of 8-7 with a 4.11 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. Milone has a dramatic home/road dichotomy over the last two seasons; his road numbers are simply terrible. In 29 road starts, he has a 4.59 ERA and 1.37 WHIP in 170.2 innings pitched. To compare, Milone owns a 3.11 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 159.1 innings pitched in 23 home starts. 

Milone is also an extreme fly ball pitcher which is why he struggles so much when away from Oakland Coliseum. The A’s home park is pitcher-friendly as it suppresses runs at -14% which helps negate Milone’s high fly ball rate of 47%. Milone catches a break in this matchup versus the Pirates because PNC Park in Pittsburgh is actually more pitcher-friendly than Oakland Coliseum with a -17% park factor. It’s one of the most extreme pitcher’s parks in all of Major League Baseball. 

The Oakland lefty has a strong projection for this start in Pittsburgh. Based on the underlying skills and advanced metrics I use, Milone shows a line of 2.8 earned runs, a 3.89 ERA and 1.14 WHIP against the Pirates in this game. 

Oakland’s offense has been hit or miss over their last ten games. The A’s have scored 6 runs or more in four games while scoring 3 runs or less in six games. Over the last two weeks, the A’s are hitting just .240 as a team. Against left-handed starters, Oakland is hitting just .245 this season.

Pittsburgh Pirates & Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano comes into tonight’s game with an 8-3 record and a solid 2.20 ERA and 1.23 WHIP. At home, Liriano has been fantastic with a 4-1 record and a sterling 2.05 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. In 30.2 innings pitched at home, Liriano has allowed just 7 total runs. 

Liriano’s numbers have been even better over his last three starts. He is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.66 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 21.2 innings of work. The lone knock on Liriano is his inability to go deep in games, reaching the 7th inning in just three of his eleven starts this season. However, Liriano is coming off a complete game win over the Cubs in which he gave up just 2 earned runs on 4 hits while striking out 7. 

The Pittsburgh lefty has a strong projection for this start against Oakland. Based on the underlying skills and advanced metrics I use, Liriano shows a line of 2.4 earned runs, a 3.32 ERA and 1.12 WHIP against the A’s in this game. 

Pittsburgh’s offense has been mired in a major slump; they’ve scored 3 runs or less in seven of their last ten games. Over the last two weeks, the Pirates are hitting just .240 as a team. Pittsburgh has struggled against left-handed starters all season as they hit only .235 against them.

Share your thoughts on tonight's A's & Pirates pitching matchup.

Betting Odds & Prediction

The current MLB odds Pittsburgh -130 with a total of 7 Over -120 with some sportsbooks now posting 7.5 Over +100. Based upon the solid numbers of the starting pitchers, the strong park factor (-17%), and the struggling offenses we recommend playing this game Under the total, especially at 7.5 or higher.

MLB Picks: Back the 'Under' 7.5 or higher

For a free play on this game's Money Line take a look at Jeff Grant's MLB Picks: Bet Pirates -129 vs. Oakland A's.