The unheralded Oakland A's are in the playoffs again, and own home-field advantage for an American League divisional-round series against the Detroit Tigers that starts Friday out at the O.Co Coliseum.
Detroit knocked Oakland out of the playoffs last year, taking an ALDS three games to two; can the A's turn the tables this time around?
So when it comes to sports betting, how are we going to place our MLB picks in this series?
Tigers-A's Series Line
As of early this week most MLB betting outlets were chalking at to win this series, with the getting as the underdogs.
Tigers-A's ALDS Set-Up
Detroit won the Central Division again this year with a record of 93-69, edging out Cleveland by a single game. The Tigers actually clinched the division last week, then lost all three games of a season-ending series in Miami, getting no-hit on Sunday.
Oakland, meanwhile, won the AL West for the second straight season, going 96-66 to beat Texas by five games. Before they took their foot off the gas last week the A's had been on a 16-4 run.
So Oakland finished three games ahead of Detroit in the W/L columns and owns home-field advantage for this series, and is still an betting underdog to win this ALDS.
The Arms Battle
Detroit is 25-7 in games started by Max Scherzer this season, 17-12 for both Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello, 18-14 for Doug Fister but, as hard as it might be to believe, just 14-20 for Justin Verlander.
Oakland, which has been going with a six-man rotation recently, is 21-9 in games started by Bartolo Colon this year, 19-13 for AJ Griffin, 16-10 for Tommy Milone, 16-11 for Dan Straily, 17-15 for Jarrod Parker and 6-4 for Sonny Gray.
Out in the bullpens the A's rank sixth in the Majors with a 3.22 ERA and are 46-for-67 on save opportunities, while the Tigers rank 24th with a 4.01 ERA and are 39-for-55 on save opps.
Tigers-A's With the Sticks
Detroit ranked second in the Majors in team OBP this season at .346, seventh in homers with 176, dead last in stolen bases with 35 but second in scoring at 4.9 runs per game.
Oakland ranked seventh in OBP at .327, third in homers with 186 and fourth in scoring at 4.7 RPG.
Tigers-A's Recent History
Oakland took the season series from Detroit this year four games to three, with the totals going 6-1, as the teams combined to average almost 12 runs per game.
Back in April the Tigers took two of three games in Oakland, outscoring the A's 20-8. Detroit lost a game Scherzer started, but won with Verlander and Sanchez.
Then in late August Oakland took three of four games at Comerica Park, with all four of those games playing OVER on the totals. The A's won games started by Sanchez, Verlander and Fister, then lost to Scherzer.
Last year the Tigers beat Oakland in five games in the ALDS. Detroit won the first two games at home, while the A's won Games 3 and 4 at the Coliseum. But in Game 5, also in Oakland, Verlander blanked the A's on four hits for a 6-0 victory.
This year's divisional-round format is a little different than last year's. Games 1 and 2 of this five-game series will be played in Oakland Friday and Saturday; the teams then move to Detroit for Games 3 and, if necessary, 4 Monday and Tuesday. A deciding Game 5 would then be played next Thursday back out in Oakland.
Follow live MLB odds at SBR.
Tigers-A's Betting Trends
Oakland, which will face a right-handed starter in every game of this series, is 20 games over .500 this year, 64-44, vs. righties.
Detroit, which will go against an Oakland starting rotation with just one lefty (Milone), is also 20 games above .500 vs. righties, at 66-46.
The A's, who could play three games at home in this series, went 52-29 at the Coliseum this season, 44-37 on the road.
The Tigers, who could play three games in Oakland, went 42-39 on the road this season, 51-30 at home.
Detroit went 81-75 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, 45-31 in games played at Comerica Park.
Oakland went 84-74 on the totals this season, 40-40 in games played at O.co Coliseum.
Our Take on This SeriesThe Tigers have the big names, with a Cy Young winner, a probable Cy Young winner, a triple-crown winner/MVP and a few more, while the A's toil in relative obscurity out on the West Coast, usually past most people's bedtimes. Detroit owns a short edge with the starting pitching and with the bats, but Oakland has an edge in the bullpen match-up. But with Verlander, who beat the A's twice in the ALDS last year, and Scherzer expected to gets two starts each if this series goes that far, we've got to go with the Tigers for our free sports pick to win this series with 5 Dimes at -155. If your on Oakland, they are available at +135.