The Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics have been stylistic opposites over the years, but they're riding identical two-game winning streaks ahead of Tuesday's meeting.
It feels like anything is possible during such a short, 60-game season. Perhaps the Rockies can secure a playoff berth for the third time in four years. Maybe the A's can dethrone the Astros for the AL West title. What will give in this particular contest, though?
Read on for abe Insights' betting preview, highlighted by relevant advanced stats to help you break down the matchup, wagers analysis for the main odds, and the best lines available upon publication.
Date: Tuesday, July 28
Time: 9:40 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Implied Probabilities: Rockies 40%; Athletics 61%
Spread: COL +1.5 (-125); OAK -1.5 (+125)
Moneyline: COL +150; OAK -154
The matchup on the mound isn't exactly a paragon of pitching, as Colorado plans to trot out Antonio Senzatela against Oakland's Daniel Mengden. Senzatela posted an 11-11 mark in 2019, but with a bloated 6.71 ERA. Surprisingly, he fared worse on the road (7.29 ERA).
Mengden had nine starts among 13 appearances a season ago, going 5-2 with a 4.83 ERA, and may not last long either. It seems like these starters will need serious run support in the early going to avert a quick call to the pen.
1.75 vs. 1.49: Walks plus hits per innings pitched (WHIP) is a good measure of how efficient and in control a pitcher is. Among those who logged at least 120 innings last season, Senzatela had MLB's highest total, while Mengden was better, albeit with a smaller sample size.
0.44 vs. 0.93: Check out those mind-boggling ERA totals for the A's and Rockies relievers thus far. Oakland has the superior stat, but even more impressive, its bullpen has thrown 20.1 innings of nearly-shutout ball, whereas Colorado's has worked 9.2 innings.
28.0 vs. 32.9: Per FanGraphs' data, the A's swung at the fewest percent of pitches outside the strike zone last year. The Rockies ranked ninth-worst here, and Oakland's better plate discipline is further bad news for Senzatela's prospects.
In terms of franchise identities, the A's and Rockies are experiencing brand role reversals of sorts more recently. Oakland has built its history over the past couple decades as an amiable underdog with a thin payroll, fighting for every edge. However, the A's are among MLB's home run leaders over the past few seasons.
This 2-1 Colorado club has a different edge, too. While the thin air in Denver's high altitude tends to create tons of offense for the Rockies and their opponents, pitching has been a surprising strength for early in 2020, but can they keep it up?
It does bode well that Tuesday's road club is scraping out wins despite a grand total of three hits from Nolan Arenado and Charlie Blackmon. Stud shortstop Trevor Story (1.538 OPS) is more than holding up his end of the bargain in the batter's box, so it's time for the other two to get in on the act.
The problem is, facing a deep platoon of relievers like the A's isn't exactly a cure-all for a collective slump. Plus, it's bound to be an uphill climb for Colorado with Senzatela in danger of getting tagged early by Oakland's homer-happy lineup, which has a dizzying blend of depth and power.
The run total of 9.5 feels destined to submit to the Law of Averages, likely causing betting sentiment to side with the Over. But just know if you're betting on that side, if there aren't offensive fireworks early, it may be worth hedging with the Under live.
When it comes to the spread and moneyline, Oakland (-1.5) feels like a good bet to cover. Wagers should go that way, because it's difficult to envision Senzatela shutting down the A's, even for one cycle through the batting order.
Hedge with Colorado's moneyline at your own risk. A 28-53 away record in 2019 doesn't inspire a lot of confidence, so action should favor the A's to win outright as well, given the decent payout for a clear home favorite.
Note: Odds current as of 11:45 a.m. ET on Tuesday, July 28.
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