MLB Picks: Bet Big on Road Favorite White Sox to Cruise Past Athletics

Drew Martin

Monday, April 4, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 4, 2016 3:00 PM UTC

The Athletics welcome the White Sox to the Coliseum tonight to finish off what should be a national holiday, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. Can We Find A Profitable Winner in the MLB odds?

The Oakland Athletics welcome the Chicago White Sox to the Coliseum tonight to finish off what many say should be a national holiday, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. The night cap will feature two of the top four in the AL Cy Young Award voting last year, Chris Sale for the White Sox and Sonny Gray for the A’s. With both teams finishing last year with more losses than wins, Opening Day could not get here any faster.

The White Sox had the worst offense in the American League last year, only scoring 622 runs. In fact only the offensively inept Atlanta Braves and Miami Marlins had fewer base runners cross home plate. The “South-siders” addressed their offensive woes in a big way this offseason by going out and getting two-time All-Star third baseman Todd Frazier, who posted a .806 OPS last year. Frazier will complement Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera very nicely in the middle of the White Sox lineup. The increased pop in the heart of the order showed this spring as Chicago belted a league best 51 home runs in the Cactus League, something the betting markets look to be slow in pricing early on in the 2016 campaign.

Sonny Gray taking the hill will automatically catch the attention of the betting markets and a lot of chalk will be laid on this MLB Pick, but there are a couple of statistics that raise questions when it comes to backing the former Vanderbilt Commodore. Gray posted his worst start of the season against the White Sox last year in mid-September, giving up seven runs over three innings in the loss. Jose Abreu and Melky Cabrera knocked him around, both posting over a 2.3 OPS on the night. 

Based on what we have seen over the last few weeks, this looks to be a tough series for the A’s. Coming out of spring ball, not one of the A’s starting pitchers has performed well, and the rotation posted a 6.89 ERA, second worst in the league. The only unit worse was the team defense, which made 45 errors, eight more than any other club.

Conversely, Chris Sale is coming off of a record setting 2015. Sale set the all-time club record for strikeouts, leading the American league with 274, marking his third consecutive year with 200 plus K’s. The 6’6 southpaw from Lakeland, Florida will make his third Opening Day start tonight, and he looks to make it to a 3-0 record to start off each season he has taken the mound in the team’s first game.  

Looking deeper, in four career appearances at the Coliseum, Sale has posted a 1.76 ERA, and he handled the Athletics with ease in the last matchup, only giving up two singles through eight innings. Over the last two years, Oakland has had a weak team OPS of .391 against the White Sox ace. Additionally, over the lifetime of Sale’s career, Oakland has only managed a team OPS of .449 against him. Sale dominated last April, holding all opponents to a .475 OPS, and he looks to continue his history of fast starts again tonight with a favorable matchup against Oakland. 

The metrics show that the White Sox should be a heavier favorite, and when you combine that with the fact that Oakland carried the weakest home field advantage with only 34 home wins last year, the choice is clear. Tonight’s opening day nightcap makes for an opportune time to back the Chicago White Sox at a moderate price (-125 on MLB Odds) with their ace on the hill. 

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Free MLB Pick:  White Sox -115
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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