Searching for their fourth straight victory, the Royals will be looking for a quality outing out of Jeremy Guthrie in Oakland this afternoon. How are the MLB odds shaping up for today's series finale?
Royals vs. Athletics Betting Odds
Jesse Chavez and the Athletics are significant favorites for today's finale, as they're priced out at approximately -165 to avoid the sweep and earn the victory.
If you're of the opinion the Royals have a great chance at sweeping, you can back them at a plump price in the +145 to +155 range. The total for today's game has fallen to 7.5 runs at the top sportsbooks.
Oakland Athletics (Chavez)
Though this series hasn't exactly gone as planned for the Athletics so far, they still have to be happy with how they've been playing in general over the last few weeks. They've gone 9-4 over their previous 13 games overall, which puts them at 34-43 overall on the season. Obviously that's nothing to write home about, but the improved play is worth noting.
Today it'll be right-hander Jesse Chavez taking the hill. He's gone 4-6 with a 2.90 ERA and 1.15 WHIP so far this season, while only giving up seven earned runs in 36 innings of work at home. He's pitched 3 and 2/3 innings of scoreless ball against Kansas City this season and will try to shut down the Royals bats again this afternoon.
It's a little strange to see the Athletics nine games under .500, considering they rank third in the majors in runs scored and fifth in team ERA. You have to figure Oakland will be able to make up some ground and make things even more interesting in the AL West, but first things first: they need to avoid an embarrassing sweep at home today.
Kansas City Royals (Guthrie)
The Royals have won three in a row and now find themselves 4.5 games up on Minnesota atop the AL Central. It looks like they're ready to pull away from the pack even further, but they still have to take care of business in this series finale against Oakland. They'll then travel to Houston to take on the surprising Astros.
Unfortunately for the Royals, they'll be trotting out Jeremy Guthrie today, and he's been a mess so far this season. He's 5-5 with a very poor 5.90 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, and he was roughed up for nine hits and six earned runs over five innings in a 7-0 road loss against Seattle in his latest outing.
The 36-year-old right-hander gave up seven hits and four earned runs in six innings in his one meeting with Oakland this season, but his terrible road numbers suggest he could be for an even worse start today. Needless to say, we're not too confident in Guthrie's chances here.
We have a strong feeling that the Athletics will avoid the sweep and get the job done in style this afternoon.
For one, Guthrie has been getting lit up this season, particularly on the road where he owns a dreadful 8.15 ERA over seven starts. He has to match up with an Oakland lineup that has a few guys who can murder right-handed pitching, namely Stephen Vogt and Josh Reddick, both of whom should be salivating at this matchup.
You also have to consider how well Chavez has pitched for the Athletics. He hasn't been getting a ton of run support in general, but he's still posting great peripheral numbers, and he'll take an impressive 1.75 ERA in seven home appearances (five starts) so far this season.
All in all, we look for the Athletics to jump over Guthrie and for Chavez to settle in nicely; with that being said, we'll take a chance on the run-line in order to try and get a nice return for our MLB picks.
MLB Pick: Oakland Athletics -1.5 (+155)