The Texas Rangers were supposed to take a step back this season, after losing Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and Mike Napoli and others. Instead, through the first six weeks of this season Texas owns the best record and the biggest division lead in baseball.
We wonder; how might we make a little cash with our MLB picks on this series?
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Texas evened this series up with a 6-5, 10-inning victory Tuesday night. The Rangers tied the game with a run in the eighth inning, then got solo home runs from Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland in the 10th for the victory.
Texas won Tuesday as a -115 favorite on the MLB betting line, and the game played OVER its total of 7.5.
So the Rangers' lead over the A's in the American League West sits at six games as the teams head into a series rubber match Wednesday afternoon (3:35 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
As of Wednesday morning most baseball betting shops were listing Wednesday afternoon's game, which matches Texas' Alexi Ogando against Oakland's Dan Straily, at right around a pick 'em, with a total of eight.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Straily (1-1, 7.06) is one-for-four on quality starts this season, and yet thanks to some good run support Oakland has won three of his four starts. Two outings ago he held the Yankees to three runs through 5 1/3 innings, but last time out, last Friday vs. Seattle, Straily got nicked for six runs in five innings.
On the season Straily has allowed 17 ER and 22 hits through 21 1/3 innings, walked eight and struck out 25. Also, the OVER/UNDERS are a perfect 4-0 in Straily's starts.
Straily started once against Texas last year and was effective, holding the Rangers to one ER through 6 2/3 innings, walking two and whiffing eight, although the A's eventually lost that game 5-4.
Ogando (3-2, 3.09), by our tough standards, is only three-for-eight on quality starts this year, but that might be a little misleading. Six times this season he's allowed two ER or fewer, and the Rangers are 5-3 in his starts, with the totals going 1-6.
Most recently Ogando held Houston to two ER through 5 2/3 innings, although he was a little wild, walking four and unleashing a couple of wild pitches. Just before that he limited Boston to one run through six innings.
On the season Ogando has allowed 39 hits through 43 2/3 innings, walked 18 and struck out 34.
Last year, pitching out of the Texas bullpen, Ogando made eight appearances against Oakland, giving up four ER and six hits through 9 2/3 innings.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
We'll give Ogando the edge in the pitching match-up, and the Rangers are simply playing a little better ball at the moment. So we'll add Texas to our list of free picks for Wednesday.MLB Pick: Take the Rangers at the -102 offered at Heritage.
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Oakland won this series opener Monday night 5-1, getting a beautiful outing from starter AJ Griffin and long balls from Yoenis Cespedes and Brandon Moss.
The A's won Monday as a -120 favorite on the MLB betting line, and the game stayed UNDER its total of eight.
Oakland has now also beaten Texas five times in a row at the Coliseum.
With the win the A's cut the Rangers' lead in the AL West to five game, heading into the second game of this series Tuesday night (10 pm ET).
Tuesday's MLB Betting Odds
Most baseball betting shops we consulted Tuesday morning opened Texas with Derek Holland at around -110 for Tuesday night's game over Oakland with Bartolo Colon. But most books then also moved this game to right around a pick 'em.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Colon (3-2, 4.57) got off to a good start to this season, allowing seven ER through his first 26 innings. But over his last three starts, including a losing effort vs. the Indians last Saturday, Colon has allowed 14 ER over 15 1/3 innings.
So on the season Colon has given up 46 hits, including six homers, over 41 1/3 innings. However, he also owns a ridiculous 27/1 K/BB ratio. Also, the A's are 5-2 in Colon's starts, although the totals have gone 5-2.
Colon started twice against Texas last year; in the first game he held the Rangers scoreless on five hits through eight innings, but in the second he gave up four ER and eight hits through seven innings. The A's split those two games.
Holland (3-2, 2.54) is a solid six-for-seven on quality starts this season. Last time out he scattered 10 hits through seven innings, allowing just one run, against the Brewers, and just before that he held Boston scoreless through eight innings.
For the season Holland has given up 40 hits through 49 2/3 innings, walked 10 and struck out 43.
Texas is 5-2 in Holland's starts, with the totals going 2-5.
Last year Holland made three appearances against Oakland, and got nicked for seven ER and 14 hits in 11 innings.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
We lost with the Rangers Monday night, but we've got confidence Holland can come up with another good performance. So we'll add Texas to our list of free MLB picks for Tuesday.
Pick: Take the Rangers at the -106 offered at Matchbook.
Bettors should check back at this page as this series progresses for updates, pitching match-ups and more free picks.
Monday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
Rangers-A's Betting Odds
Most baseball betting shops we consulted Monday morning opened Monday night's game with Oakland and AJ Griffin favored by about -130 over Texas with Justin Grimm. Most books then also dropped those MLB odds to -125.
Also, TheGreek was listing the A's at -115 to win this series, with the Rangers “getting” -105 as the underdogs.
Rangers-A's Series Set-Up
Texas just swept three games from the Astros in Houston over the weekend, taking Sunday's game 12-7. So the Rangers have won four in a row overall and seven of their last nine.
Oakland, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games in Seattle, losing Sunday's series rubber match 6-1. So the A's have lost six of their last seven.
Big picture, 24-13 Texas leads the American League West by six games over 19-20 Oakland.
Last year the A's took the season series from Texas 11 games to eight, including a three-game sweep of the final series of the season in Oakland that decided the division title. We wonder if the Rangers won't have that in mind when they hit the field Monday night.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Griffin (3-3, 3.83) is four-for-seven on quality starts this season, and Oakland is 4-3 in his starts. Last time out he gave up three ER in 6 2/3 innings vs. the Indians, and just before that he held the Yankees scoreless on six hits through seven innings.
For the season Griffin has allowed 41 hits in 44 2/3 innings, walked 13 and struck out 31.
Last year Griffin started twice against Texas and did the Jekyll-and-Hyde thing; in the first game he held the Rangers scoreless on two hits through six innings, but in the second he got nicked for four ER and seven hits in 2 2/3 innings.
Grimm (2-2, 3.45), by our tough standards, is two-for-five on quality starts this year, but Texas is 3-2 in his starts. Through his first three outings Grimm had allowed three ER through 17 innings. But over his last two starts, against the White Sox and Brewers, Grimm has given up eight ER through 11 2/3 innings.
For the season Grimm has allowed 30 hits through 28 2/3 innings, walked 11 and whiffed 31.
This will be Grimm's first-ever start against Oakland.
Rangers-A's Betting Trends
Texas is 13-22 on the OVER/UNDERS this season, while Oakland is 28-11 on the totals. But as the A's have been held to three runs or fewer in eight of their last 10 games, six of their last 10 contests have played UNDER on the totals.
Our Take On Monday's Game
Texas comes in hot, while Oakland is cold. The pitching match-up looks about even, and the Rangers are getting an underdog price. So we'll take Texas for our free MLB pick for Monday.
Pick: Take the Rangers at the +116 offered at Matchbook.