Kansas City is the MLB Betting Favorite Against the A’s on Thursday

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,April 12, 2017 11:11, EDT in

Just a couple of years ago, the Oakland A’s and Kansas City Royals played in an epic wild-card game. Alas, neither franchise is very good this season with both expected to finish below .500. Oakland closes out its only trip to Kansas City on Thursday and the Royals will be home MLB betting favorites.

Kansas City at Oakland MLB Betting Prediction

When: Thursday, April 13, 8:15 PM ET
Where: Kauffman Stadium, KC
Probable pitchers (away/home): Jesse Hahn/Jason Vargas
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioOakland / Kansas City
Opening MLB Lines: Royals favored by TBA

Why Bet On Oakland?

The A’s are going with a bullpen by committee. Athletics manager Bob Melvin said this week that Santiago Casilla or Sean Doolittle will close “depending on the match-ups.” This came one day after Casilla pitched the eighth before Doolittle got the ninth with a stack of left-handed batters due up for the Royals. While Ryan Madson and Ryan Dull have also been mentioned as possibilities in this mix, it appears that Melvin sees Casilla and Doolittle as his primary options.

Oakland goes with righty Jesse Hahn here. He’s taking Raul Alcantara’s spot in the rotation. Hahn tossed six innings of relief in his season debut last Friday. Hahn allowed two runs on seven hits, striking out three, against the Rangers. Hahn’s fastball hit 97 mph, and he started nine games for the A’s in 2016.

“With us, these things often flip around,” Melvin said. “We’re trying to play a hot hand. It came down to the wire with who was going to get that fifth spot, anyway, and Jesse was part of that.”

Hahn, 27, has the talent to be a No. 2 or 3 starter, but he struggled with his command last year and more or less disappeared from relevancy. He showed glimpses of bouncing back this spring but couldn’t find enough consistency to earn the job straight out of camp. He didn’t face the Royals in 2016.

Why Bet On Kansas City?

The Royals have been one of the worst offensive teams in the early going and were shutout in their home opener on Monday for just the second time in franchise history. In the home opener in 1971 at Municipal Stadium, Minnesota’s Bert Blyleven tossed a complete game, three-hit shutout in the Twins’ 2–0 win over the Royals. Monday’s home-opening loss snapped Kansas City’s streak of four straight home-opening wins, losing their home opener for the first time since 2012 vs. Cleveland.

The Royals made a bullpen move this week, optioning left-hander Matt Strahm to Triple-A Omaha. Strahm was dominant as a rookie in 2016, posting a 1.23 ERA in 21 games. This year, Strahm surrendered seven earned runs in 1 1/3 innings (three appearances) for an ERA of 47.25.

Jason Vargas takes the mound for the Royals to finish off the series with the A’s. Vargas was superb in his first outing of the season, allowing one run over six innings, walking one and striking out six, in a win against the Astros. Vargas (1-0) returned from Tommy John surgery last September and got his first victory since June 8, 2015.

“I don’t know that I was ever worried if I was going to get another win or another loss,” Vargas said. “It’s just a waiting game in rehab. It’s always sounds so far removed on the telecasts when they say your last win was in June of 2015. It wasn’t that you were unable to get a win, you just didn’t have an opportunity. It was just a waiting game that played out the right way for us.”

Kansas City at Oakland Betting Pick:

No trust for either pitcher here. I expect a total of 8.5 and I would go over that even though neither offense is great.