Oakland Athletics vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Pick 9/24/20
Oakland Athletics (34-21) vs. Los Angeles Dodgers (39-17)
When: 9:40 p.m., Thursday, September 24
Where: Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles
Starting Pitchers: Mike Fiers (6-2, 4.67 ERA, 1.39 WHIP) vs. Walker Buehler (1-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)
Moneyline: OAK +185/LAD -205 (BAS - Bet on ALL sports at reduced odds! -105 on football too!)
Runline: Athletics +1.5/Dodgers -1.5
Every time Mike Fiers takes the mound, Vegas sets the total at nine runs or higher, usually higher. And nearly every time, Fiers goes out and performs better than expected, allowing the under to come in more often than not. Fiers has held five of his past six opponents to three runs or less. The under has hit in four of his past five starts. In one of the few times where the over has struck, he wasn’t the one responsible, as the Athletics’ offense pounded the Giants for 15 runs.
Fiers doesn’t get a lot of positive attention because he’s not a strikeout pitcher, as he’s notched just 34 strikeouts in 54 innings this year. But his 6-2 record isn’t by accident, as he’s done a great job of pitching to contact and letting his defense take care of the rest.
Walker Buehler is penciled in as the starter for Los Angeles, but that does remain to be seen, as he’s been dealing with a finger issue, and the Dodgers might not want to risk having him go to the mound. Then again, if Buehler doesn’t go to the mound now, the Dodgers would risk throwing him into the three-game first round of the playoffs with no game experience since September 8, when Arizona got five runs off of him in less than three innings.
I’d expect the Dodgers to give Buehler a long leash in this game and treat it as more of a rehabilitation start. Remember, Los Angeles does not have to win this game. The game means nothing to the Dodgers as far as their record goes, unless they really care about getting 40 wins in the regular season, something I highly doubt. The Dodgers have already wrapped up the best record in the National League, so there’s little motivation for Los Angeles to really pay attention to the result of this game. Instead, the Dodgers will likely use this to gauge whether Buehler can go in the postseason. When he’s on, Buehler is one of the game’s best strikeout pitchers, and he’s been terrific at home this year, giving up just three runs in 16.2 innings pitched at Dodger Stadium.
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That sums up the Athletics perfectly, as they get absolutely no respect. Oakland breezed to the AL West title, yet the Dodgers are expected to roll in this one simply because Los Angeles has dominated all season long. There’s a reason for that, and it’s because Oakland doesn’t really do any one thing well except not beating itself. The Athletics are middling in both average and power, but they possess a fine ERA, have made the fourth-fewest errors, and generally don’t give up extra base runners.
Of course, Los Angeles does all of those things as well and does them even better, which is why the Dodgers have rolled to another NL West crown. But Oakland is once again greater than the sum of its parts, and the Athletics really need to be treated like a top-tier team instead of one who’s lucky to have gotten here.
- The Athletics are 4-1 in their past five against a team with a winning record.
- The Athletics are 28-8 in their past 36 Game 3’s of a series.
- The Dodgers are 19-7 in their past 26 interleague games.
- The Dodgers are 3-7 in their past ten interleague home games against a team with a winning record.
- The under is 7-1-1 in the Athletics’ past nine as a road underdog.
- The under is 8-3-1 in the Athletics’ past 12 games with a total between 9 and 10.5
- The under is 6-2-1 when the Dodgers face a team above .600.
- The under is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings between the teams.
The wind won’t be any kind of a factor, blowing two miles an hour to the south on a 70-degree evening in Southern California.
The number keeps moving toward the Dodgers, and I really don’t see it. Los Angles is a great team and perhaps the best in the majors, but I cannot see them using this game as anything but a chance to test Buehler and make sure that he’s where he needs to be before the postseason.
Oakland, however, has motivation. The Athletics desperately want to go on a run and get the top seed in the AL so that they can avoid a short series against the Indians, who likely await the No. 2 seed and present a nightmare matchup in a three-game set because of their outstanding pitching. Oakland would be much better off facing either Houston or Toronto, neither of which has the pitching to stand up to the Athletics in a short series. The Athletics also don’t want to get caught by Chicago and Minnesota and fall to a meeting with the Yankees.
With the Dodgers using this to prep themselves for the playoffs, there’s a ton of value in taking Oakland to come away with a win here at +185. So that’s what I’m going to do, and I want the under as well.
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