Poor Offenses to Make Mariners vs. Athletics Game to Go 'Under' in a Battle for Last Place in AL West

Charles Stark

Friday, July 3, 2015 3:01 AM GMT

Friday, Jul. 3, 2015 3:01 AM GMT

Not really a marquee matchup but I will back under the total with the Oakland A's and the Seattle Mariners tonight in Oakland. At first glance I thought this line was a little bit low, but what we have is a matchup of two pretty decent pitchers against two subpar to poor offenses.

Betting Odds
MLB odds makers have come out with the total for this game at 7.5 with juice from -110 to -115. For the lowest juice at that -110, it can be found at Heritage Sports. I don't think this line is going to move too much prior to the first pitch.

 

Pitching Matchup
For the Mariners J.A. Happ takes the mound with a 3.89 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. The eight-year veteran is having a pretty solid season so far, on a bad team like the Mariners. He is not a big strikeout pitcher and simply does not allow a lot of runs in bunches. The only negative part in this matchup is the fact that he has faced Oakland twice already this season, but he has pitched well against them with a 2.38 ERA over 11 innings. I usually like to go over in this type of scenario, but that is in proportion to the offense that the pitcher is facing and in this matchup I will side with Happ.

Jesse Chavez will get the start for the Athletics. He comes in with a 3.02 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP. He is similar to Happ in his pitching style in that he is not a big strikeout guy but finds ways to get batters out. Also, like Happ, he doesn't allow a lot of runs in bunches, and he gave up four or more runs only three times in his 10 last outings, allowing four to this same Seattle team, four at Boston, and five at Texas two games ago. He has been especially tough at home this season with a 2.16 ERA so look for him to continue to pitch well tonight.

Must Read: MLB Picks: Updated World Series Futures Odds

Offenses
Across the board, Oakland is the better hitting team as we break down these offenses. They are seventh in the league in runs scored per game compared to Seattle, who is ranked 29th. That is essentially the averages we find when comparing these two teams. Oakland is ranked from the middle tier to the latter of the top 10 compared to the Mariners, who rank towards the bottom of the league in every offensive category. The Athletics are ranked ninth in batting average hitting .259 compared to the Mariners, who are ranked dead last hitting .231. Both Happ and Chavez are good enough pitchers to keep both of these teams down in the numbers today, especially Chavez.

Although this is not the most exciting game of the day I think the odds makers showed their hand. Neither Happ nor Chavez are premier pitchers in the American League but still this number for the total is quite low at 7.5. Sure, the Mariners have arguably the worst offense in the American League, but anything under 8 for a total in that league needs to be double checked. Most handicappers will look past this game, don't make that mistake, back the under with confidence and look for a 4-1 type of ballgame.

MLB Pick: Under 7.5 at BetOnline

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