MLB Picks: Bet Cubs & Athletics to go 'Under'

Joe Freda

Wednesday, July 3, 2013 1:25 PM GMT

The Oakland Athletics moved to a 5-1 mark in the first six games of their present homestand, rallying for Tuesday’s 8-7 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Wednesday’s MLB slate has the set resuming with Oakland’s Bartolo Colon (11-2, 2.79 ERA) meeting Chicago’s Matt Garza (3-1, 3.83 ERA).

Let's breakdown this matchup and decide where the best betting value lies for our MLB picks.

A’s, Norris surge by Cubs 

Athletics catcher Derek Norris cracked a late three-run homer as part of Tuesday’s win, erasing his club’s 7-5 deficit. Oakland’s Josh Donaldson and Chris Young also poked long balls, while closer Grant Balfour logged his 20th save in a hitless final frame. 

Chicago’s Dioner Navarro finished with a 3-for-4 night in his side’s designated hitter role, while mate Welington Castillo notched three RBI’s. The Cubs edged Oakland in hits, 13-10, with the slugfest’s combined 15 runs soaring OVER the ‘total’ of eight by the fourth inning. 

Colon stays stingy at home 

Colon reeled off his eighth straight win in Friday’s 6-1 victory for Oakland over the St. Louis Cardinals, cashing as a minus 108 home choice. The 40-year-old stood in for eight frames, allowing the Cardinals’ sole run on six hits. 

Oakland’s Seth Smith and Jed Lowrie united for three RBIs, while leadoff man Coco Crisp notched a 2-for-4 night. Athletics infielders Brandon Moss and Eric Sogard were held to a combined 0-for-5, with Sogard walking three times from the lineup’s No. 9 spot. 

Garza goes seven for win

Matt Garza tossed 10 strikeouts in Thursday’s 7-2 win for Chicago as an even-money road dog against the Milwaukee Brewers. The California native allowed one run on eight hits, lasting seven innings. 

Chicago’s Brian Bogusevic and Darwin Barney drove in their side’s first two runs, while Garza helped his own cause with a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro poked his 18th double of the year, uniting with mate Luis Valbuena to bat 3-for-9.

[gameodds]3/237983/?r3=43-999997-192/dec&r-1=43-999997-192/us[/gameodds]

Back the UNDER in Oakland

The MLB odds first opened Colon as a 180 home favorite, while first setting the ‘total’ at 7 ½ (UNDER minus 125). Cubs outfielder Ryan Sweeney (.295 BA) has now been placed on the 60-day disabled list after missing Tuesday’s opener with a ribcage injury.

I am adding the UNDER in this duel to my night of sports picks, looking for the series to tighten up here. 

Colon has held foes to a 0.96 WHIP and .255 OBP at home, giving up just two homers in the span’s 55 innings of action. The veteran has held Cubs slugger Dioner Navarro to a 1-for-6 career mark, while the UNDER is 5-2 in Oakland’s last seven home dates against clubs with losing records.

Garza has settled down in his last three starts, allowing just two runs over 22 IP. Oakland has hit just .228 at home against right-handed pitching, with the UNDER cashing at 11-4 in the club’s last 15 spots at O.co Coliseum facing a listed righty. 

Oakland’s trio of Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie and Seth Smith have been held to a 4-for-35 career mark against Garza, with just one extra-base hit. Umpire Larry Vanover saw his most recent interleague game result in a 1-0 affair between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Detroit Tigers, plunging UNDER the ‘total’ of 9 ½. 

Look for another low-octane affair here with Vanover at the helm, giving UNDER backers the money.

MLB Pick:  UNDER 7 ½ at William Hill

Get Jeff Grant's take on this games pitching matchup here.