MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

A's Visit Braves

Oakland at Atlanta Line and Total: Athletics -135, Braves +125, Total 7

The top club in the league, the Oakland Athletics, finish off a series in Turner Field against the Atlanta Braves on Sunday night.

Oakland has been the best team in baseball for much of the year and owns a two-game lead over the Angels in the AL West coming into this series. The A's have slowed down somewhat since the All-Star break (14-12) and ran into a hot Royals team in their most recent series. The Athletics were unable to do much in Kansas City as they lost 3-of-4 contests while scoring a total of five runs over the three defeats. The series finale on Thursday resulted in a 7-3 loss, and despite 11 hits, the club was just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position. All-Star 3B Josh Donaldson (.253 BA) was 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss, but had a hit in each of his previous 10 games where he went 14-for-35 (.400) with four doubles, two homers and 6 RBI. The Braves had a promising start to the year, but continue to watch their playoff chances dwindle with losses in 12 of their past 15 games.

Most of Atlanta's problems spur from having the third-worst offense in the league (448 runs) and its 2.8 runs per contest in the most recent series against the Dodgers led to three defeats in four games. The Braves were unable to earn a series split on Thursday when they suffered a 6-4 loss where even their 11 hits could not overcome the poor start by Aaron Harang (4.1 IP, 5 ER). The one consistent hitter on the team has been 1B Freddie Freeman (.294) who has gone 15-for-29 (.517) with five doubles, five runs and four RBI over his past eight games. Getting the start for the Athletics on Sunday night will be LHP Jon Lester (13-7, 2.51 ERA) as he goes up against LHP Mike Minor (4-8, 5.33 ERA) for the host Braves. Oakland has had no trouble playing on the road with a 33-27 record (.550) while Atlanta is a solid 34-28 (.516) at Turner Field heading into this series. These two clubs do not meet often and have not matched up over the past three seasons.

Jon Lester was a huge pickup for the Athletics as they head towards the playoffs. Since joining the team, he is a perfect 3-0 over three starts with a 2.49 ERA and 1.06 WHIP spanning 21.2 innings. Overall on the year, his 2.51 ERA is fifth-best in the AL while he ranks second in wins (13) and sixth in strikeouts (169). Much of his success has come from his 9.2 K/9, his best mark since 2010, but he has also had his best control of his career (2.0 BB/9) and is keeping the ball in the park by giving up only nine home runs in 164.2 frames (0.49 HR/9). Lester posted a quality start in his last outing, going six innings while allowing three runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and two walks. He has faced Atlanta just three times in his career, going 2-1 with a strong 3.32 ERA, but a poor 1.58 WHIP, and has walked a surprisingly high seven batters in 19 innings of work.

OF B.J. Upton has the most experience against Lester with his time in the AL East, but is a woeful 12-for-58 (.207) with 13 strikeouts in the matchup. Meanwhile, OF Jason Heyward (4-for-6, 2 doubles, 1 HR) has had success against the lefty in limited at-bats. Coming into this series, Oakland’s bullpen has gone 21-15 with a 2.91 ERA and is 26-for-38 (68%) in save opportunities. Sean Doolittle (2.39 ERA, 18 saves) has been amazing as the closer, and owns an unprecedented 74:4 K/BB ratio while going 18-for-21 (86%) in his own saves chances.

Mike Minor has been pitching better than his numbers would suggest, as he has struck out a solid 8.1 batters per nine innings while harnessing his control (2.6 BB/9). Most of his issues so far have stemmed from allowing far too many home runs (1.55 HR/9) and dealing with some bad luck (.358 BABIP). Minor's past five starts have not gone very well as he has allowed five or more runs in three of those outings while giving up 46 hits in 27.1 frames. Minor has never faced the Athletics in his four-year career and will have his work cut out for him as they own the best offense in the league (589 runs) led by 3B Josh Donaldson (.256 BA) who has 27 home runs (9th in majors) and 84 RBI (4th in MLB). On the other side of the diamond, 1B Brandon Moss (.256 BA) has also been putting up big numbers (23 HR, 76 RBI). Coming into Friday, the relievers for Atlanta have gone 17-19 with a 3.25 ERA while converting a tremendous 42-of-51 (82%) saves. Craig Kimbrel (1.88 ERA, 35 saves) has struck out 15.0 batters per nine innings on the year while allowing a single home run in 48 innings on the mound (0.19 HR/9).

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Re: MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

Baseball Betting: Streaks, Tips, Notes

Philadelphia at San Francisco

The finale of a three game set between San Francisco and Philadelphia is the betting focus for Sunday. The Giants will have Lincecum handling the start. Lincecum is 9-8 on the year, with an ERA of 4.51. The righty not overly sharp of late is 0-1 in his last three with a whopping 9.95 ERA. Philadelphia will send out right-hander David Buchanan, who currently sports a 6-6 record with a 4.40 ERA. Buchanan is 2-1 his last three with a smart 3.26 ERA. Home cooking has not helped Giants the past month or so, compiling a record of 3-7 record last ten, 7-14 mark last twenty-one before the home audience. Those home numbers along with Lincecum experiencing a rough spot it's a challenge backing San Francisco. However, digging deeper to get a better take on the situation Lincecum is 6-3 with a 3.51 ERA at home (10-4 TSR), compared with 3-5, 5.98 on the road (5-6 TSR). The fact that this game is a rubber match a telling baseball betting stat leaps out. Giants are 5-2 at home this year in a rubber matchup including 1-0 w/Lincecum. A final betting nugget pointing to a San Francisco victory, Phillies are 0-3 on the road w/Buchanan off a loss it's previous effort.

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Re: MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

MLB Betting News and Notes

Wainwright, Cards dominant at home versus Padres

The St. Louis Cardinals are 4-0 in Adam Wainwright's last four starts at Busch Stadium versus the San Diego Padres.

Throughout his career, the Cardinals' ace has dominated the Friars, posting a 5-2 record (seven starts), 1.47 ERA and 1.02 WHIP.

Sunday's start will be his first versus the N.L. West club this season, but he was 2-0 in two starts versus them in 2013. He pitched 15 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on 12 hits in those two starts.

Royals owning Twins in Minnesota

"Home field advantage" hasn't meant much for the Minnesota Twins when the Kansas City Royals have rolled into town lately. Through Saturday, K.C. is 10-4 in their last 14 trips to Target Field.

Minny will try to buck that trend when they host the Royals once again Sunday. The Royals are -116 faves with a total of 8.5.

'Stros ice cold at Fenway

Beantown has not been kind to the Houston Astros in recent matchups. In their last nine meetings with the Boston Red Sox at historic Fenway Park, the 'Stros are an ugly 1-8 through Saturday.

The BoSox will host Houston once again Sunday afternoon. Boston are -144 faves with an O/U of 8.5.

This club has hope with Little working the plate

The home team is 4-1 in umpire Will Little's last five games calling balls and strikes, which is where he'll be for Sunday's game between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets.

Little has a 14-11 record for the home team in game's when he is working the plate. There has been an average of 7.92 runs scored in his games.

Scheduled starters for the Sunday afternoon game are Jake Arrieta for the Cubs and Rafael Montero for the Mets.

This club is lights out on the Under away from home

When the Baltimore Orioles have played away from Camden Yards as of late, low-scoring games have followed. In the O's last 12 road games, the Under is 10-2 through Saturday.

The Birds will travel to Progressive Field and take on the Cleveland Indians Sunday. The Tribe are -118 faves with a total of 8.5.

Rays feasting on AL East clubs, host Yanks Sunday

As the Tampa Bay Rays continue to rebound from a disappointing start to the season, they're continuing to win very important games within their own division.

The Rays are 10-2 in their last 12 meetings with AL East clubs through Saturday, and they'll host the struggling New York Yankees at Tropicana Field Sunday. Tampa is currently a -117 fave with a total of 7.5.

Under trending when this pitcher is on short rest

Seattle Mariners starter Chris Young has been extremely productive for Under backers on short rest, evidenced by the O/U going 1-9-1 in his last 11 starts on four-days rest.

He'll get the ball just four days after his last start on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, who will counter with Robbie Ray on the mound. The Tigers are currently -129 favorites with a total of nine for the AL matchup.

Rangers producing wins with Hallion as umpire

The Texas Rangers are an impressive 10-1 in their last 11 ball games with umpire Tom Hallion working home plate, which is where he will be for their meeting with the Los Angeles Angels Sunday.

The Rangers - at 47-76, the worst team in the bigs - are currently +130 underdogs for the game. They're scheduled to send Nick Tepesch to the mound, while the Angels are slated to counter with Hector Santiago.

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Re: MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

Game of the Day: A's at Braves

Oakland Athletics at Atlanta Braves (+133, 7)

Jon Lester has won his first three starts for Oakland, pitching like the game-changer the Athletics envisioned when they acquired him from Boston at the trade deadline. Oakland needs another strong performance from its new ace when it tries to avoid a sweep in Sunday night’s series finale at the Atlanta Braves, as the Athletics – who held sole possession of first place in the American League West for 106 consecutive days – are now two percentage points behind the Los Angeles Angels. The Braves have held Oakland to five runs on nine hits in taking the first two games, and while six games behind first-place Washington in the National League East, they are much closer in the wild-card race.

Atlanta sits 1 1/2 games behind San Francisco for the final NL playoff spot, winning three of its last four contests after dropping 11 of its previous 13. Justin Upton brings a seven-game hitting streak into the series finale while Chris Johnson, who went 3-for-4 with two RBIs in Saturday’s 4-3 victory, is in the midst of a five-game run. The offense has contributed greatly to Oakland's skid, collecting five hits or fewer in four of its last six games while scoring fewer than four runs five times.

LINE HISTORY: Pinnacle Sports opened the Braves as +129 home dogs, but that has moved to +133. The total has held steady at seven.

INJURY WATCH: A's - SS Jed Lowrie (15-day DL, hamstring), 2B Nick Punto (15-day DL, hamstring).

COVERS POWER RANKINGS: A's (-204), Braves (-164).

WHAT CAPPERS SAY: "The Athletics took a gamble before the trade deadline when they traded away back-to-back defending Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox.  Oakland's offense has been inconsistent since that trade.  One of the new acquisitions from Boston in that trade is starting pitcher Jon Lester.  He has continued to pitch well since arriving in Oakland with a 2.49 ERA in three starts so far which almost identical to his 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with Boston earlier this season." Covers Expert Steve Merril

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics LH Jon Lester (13-7, 2.51 ERA) vs. Braves LH Mike Minor (4-8, 5.33)

Lester has allowed six earned runs while registering 20 strikeouts over 21 2/3 innings in his first three starts for Oakland and is 7-0 with a 1.46 ERA in his last seven outings overall. He followed a three-hit shutout over Minnesota in his second turn for the Athletics with a performance against Kansas City on Tuesday in which he yielded three runs and hits over six frames. Lester beat the Braves on May 27 in Atlanta while with the Red Sox, allowing three runs and fanning seven in six innings.

Minor seemed to benefit from being skipped in the rotation prior to his start against the Dodgers on Tuesday, as he allowed three runs with seven strikeouts despite losing for the third time in his last four outings. He is 2-4 in his last eight starts, yielding 34 earned runs on 64 hits (eight homers) in 44 2/3 innings. Minor has surrendered at least eight hits in each of his last five starts and five or more runs three times in that span.


* Athletics are 1-4 in the last five meetings in Atlanta.
* Braves are 1-7 in their last eight games as an underdog.
* Athletics are 1-8 in their last nine games with umpire Ted Barrett behind home plate.
* Athletics are 0-4 in their last four overall.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 69 percent of wagers on Covers Consensus are backing the A's.

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Re: MLB Betting News and Notes Sunday, August 17

MLB Odds and Picks
By: Micah Roberts

LAS VEGAS -- The Oakland A's are on the brink of being swept tonight in Atlanta, and if it happens, it will be their season-high fifth loss in a row. The pitcher with the duty of stopping the bleeding is the recently acquired Jon Lester, who has won all three of his starts for the A's so far. He's a -146 favorite to make it 4-for-4.

The worst part of the losing streak for the A's is that despite having the most wins in baseball (73), the Angels have won four straight and taken over first place in the AL West by two percentage points. If Los Angeles wins at Texas this afternoon, roles will be reversed for the first time all season with the A's trying to keep up with the Angels.

While the Lester trade was supposed to bolster the A's chances of staying ahead of the Angels and put them into a position of at least playing in the AL Divisional Series rather than a one-and-out wild card game, it's done quite the opposite by no fault of Lester. Their 7-9 mark in August is the only month this season they've had a losing record. They've scored three or fewer runs in 12 of the 16 games since trading Yoenis Cespedes for Lester, and their .225 average in August is also their lowest of any month.

Tonight the A's should have a golden opportunity to increase their monthly batting average and get above their season average of 4.8 runs scored per game -- they were a solid five runs per game before August. The sole reason for the optimism is Braves left-handed starter Mike Minor (4-8, 5.33 ERA) takes the mound and he's allowed at least eight hits and three runs in each of his last five starts. That's 23 runs allowed over his last 27.1 innings.

Lester is usually out of our price range, and he still is at -146, but since it's a Sunday night ESPN game, we'll make an exception and look for the A's to up their mark against lefties to 24-14 on the season.

Sunday selections:

A's (Lester) -146 at Braves

Brewers (Peralta) +105 at Dodgers

Pirates/Nationals UNDER 7 (+115)

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