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BettorIQ’s MLB Betting Preview: Oakland A’s

MLB

BettorIQ continues with its 2020 MLB betting previews. Over the course of the next few months, we will be breaking down all 30 teams from a betting perspective.

Oakland Athletics
2019 Record: 97-65
2019 Profits: +17.6 units
2020 Win Total: 91.5 (based on 162-game season)
2020 Odds to Win AL West: +275
2020 Odds to Win AL Pennant: +1500
2020 Odds to Win World Series: +2400

Betting Positives: The Athletics feature a deep lineup that returns nearly everyone from last season’s 97-win team. Oakland’s left side of the infield is one of the the best in MLB with shortstop Marcus Semien and third baseman Matt Chapman projected for a combined WAR of 10.3. Semien has vastly improved his defense while Chapman is as elite as they come and in total, Oakland boasted the MLB’s 2nd-best defense per UZR. That combination of defense to go with one of the most pitcher friendly parks in baseball should again position Oakland to perform well at home (102-61, .625, +29.3 units L2 Seasons). The A’s have also been at the forefront of bullpen investment and should once again boast a top-tier unit led by closer Liam Hendriks and Yusmeiro Petit.

Betting Negatives: On paper, this year’s rotation offers far more talent and potential but can it hold up? In typical A’s fashion, they cut ties with veterans Brett Anderson, Homer Bailey, and Tanner Roark. Now the organization will rely on Frankie Montas who will have gone a full calendar year having not pitched an MLB game thanks to last year’s PED suspension. Sean Manaea has seen his velocity dip each season since 2016 and has a history of shoulder problems. AJ Puk and Jesus Luzardo are Oakland’s two most prized arms but have less than 25 innings of MLB experience combined. And at 34 years old, Mike Fiers is a poster child for regression after last year’s 3.90 ERA and 4.97 FIP. Perhaps most important is the likelihood for a shift in price. Anderson, Bailey, Roark, and Chris Bassitt rarely commanded much respect in the betting markets. Premium swing-and-miss arms like Montas, Luzardo, and Puk undoubtedly will.

Handicapper’s Take: No team has exceeded expectations more over that last two seasons. Oakland’s season win totals in 2018 and 2019 were 74.5 and 81.5, respectively. They won 97 games both years (+57 units). Oddsmakers in turn posted 91.5 wins during the offseason. Unlike big budget teams like the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, and Dodgers, the A’s won’t be asked to carry many bloated moneyline prices but the window of being one of MLB’s most undervalued commodities appears to be closing. That said, the infrastructure of the organization and roster construction remains top notch. And it’s hard to imagine the A’s not being ahead of the curve with whatever season format the league throws their way.