The Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics have gotten off to starkly different starts this season. The reigning World Series champions are 4-1 on the year and riding a four-game winning streak after dropping their season-opener in Colorado. Oakland, meanwhile, is one of just four teams entering Tuesday without a win so far in 2021.
Moneyline Betting Odds: Dodgers at Athletics
- Los Angeles Dodgers (-175)
- Oakland Athletics (+155)
Run Line Betting Odds: LA Dodgers vs Oakland
- Los Angeles Dodgers -1.5 (-110)
- Oakland Athletics +1.5 (-110)
Over/Under Betting Odds: Los Angeles Dodgers vs Oakland Athletics
- Over 8.5 Runs (-120)
- Under 8.5 Runs (-120)
The A’s have been pummeled to this point, even their odds at online sportsbooks have suffered. Oakland has allowed at least eight runs in each of their first five games, including 10 last night to this very same Dodgers team. Chris Bassitt, who struggled in his season debut last week against Houston, will make his second start of the season tonight. The Dodgers will counter with Clayton Kershaw, who took the loss for LA on Opening Day.
Oakland’s Woeful Start
It’s hard to imagine the A’s getting off to a worse start than they have. Oakland is 0-5 with a run differential of minus-33 to this point, which is easily the worst mark in the big leagues. The next-worst run differentials belong to the Tigers and Rangers at minus-11 apiece. So, Oakland has only been three times worse than the next-worst teams in that regard. Yikes!
While allowing 45 runs through five games has been the biggest issue, the A’s offense has also been punchless. Oakland has mustered just 12 runs through five games, with no more than five runs in any of them. The A’s didn’t score their first runs of last night’s game until the eighth inning when they were already trailing 8-0.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) April 6, 2021
The A’s are still among the favorites to win the AL West this season, but it’s hard to overlook their underwhelming offseason. Oakland lost a couple of key players in Marcus Semien and Liam Hendriks to free agency. The A’s will likely find their way into the playoffs chase thanks to their bevy of quality young pitching, but scoring runs could be an issue for this team all year long.
Bassitt is in a rough spot tonight against the Dodgers, but he does have a couple of factors going his way. The Coliseum is still one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. So, some long fly balls that may soar over the wall in other parks may have no such luck in this spacious outfield. The Dodgers may also be a bit short-handed offensively tonight. Will Smith will likely start the game on the bench with Austin Barnes slated to catch Kershaw, while Cody Bellinger could get the night off after hurting himself late in last night’s game.
Will Kershaw Bounce Back?
Kershaw had a rough debut last week against the Rockies. The former National League MVP was knocked around for six runs on 10 hits in 5.2 innings of work in the Dodgers’ 8-5 defeat. Of course, there isn’t much shame in having a rough outing at Coors Field. That’s the best hitting environment in all of baseball, and even the best pitchers can have a rough go of it at altitude.
Kershaw may not be in his prime anymore, but he’s still a well-above-average starter. The left-hander posted a strikeout rate over 28 percent a season ago next to his usual low walk numbers. Kershaw also typically keeps the ball on the ground (53 percent), which helps him avoid getting blown up even if he does yield some traffic on the basepaths.
The A’s haven’t been able to generate much offense at all early in the season. Given the state of the lineup, perhaps that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Oakland’s projected lineup tonight has a middling .184 ISO against left-handed pitching dating back to last season with a collective strikeout rate over 27 percent. Elvis Andrus, Jed Lowrie, and Ka’ai Tom have the bottom end of this lineup looking particularly weak these days.
What’s the Best Bet?
The Dodgers wasted no time in crushing Frankie Montas last night, but I think Bassitt will find more success in this one. Bassitt was excellent in terms of limiting damage (2.29 ERA) last season. While I don’t think he’s nearly as good as that ERA may lead you to believe, he should benefit tonight if Dave Roberts trots out a slightly more short-handed lineup.
On the flip side, there is no reason whatsoever to expect Kershaw to have much trouble with Oakland. He’ll have the platoon advantage against the A’s most powerful hitter (Matt Olson), while the lineup around Olson and Matt Chapman thins out in a hurry. Runs will be hard to come by for Oakland yet again this evening.
Pick: Under 8.5
$100 Could Win You…$190
All things considered, there is value to be had in betting the under in this one. The over/under of 7.5 runs is low, but arguably not low enough. The Dodgers’ offense is fully capable of breaking it open and going over the total by itself, but the under is the most logical way to bet this game. Wager on a low-scoring affair going down in the Bay Area tonight.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu …