It is now about 90% certain that the Yankees will face the A’s in the AL Wild Card play-in game. That means we need to start breaking these two squads down and pick an intelligent bet for Wednesday night (October 3).
One-game playoffs are like Game 7s – you hold nothing back. Managers will attempt to get the most out of every star player on their roster, even if it means putting someone in an unfamiliar situation.
Do not be surprised to see a setup man enter in the fifth inning or an ace starter pitching in a clutch, late-game spot. This brings me to my first query. I am interested in how the Yankees and A’s fare in games with many pitching changes.
A’s – Yankees Bullpen Usage and Success Comparison
|Team||Record when using < 5 pitchers||Record when using 5 or more pitchers|
|Yankees||67-43 (60.9%)||29-16 (64.4%)|
|A’s||51-32 (61.4%)||44-30 (59.5%)|
There is not a huge difference in winning percentage for either side. One compelling item to note is that the A’s have played far more bullpen games than the Yankees have. This is surprising considering the Yankees boast such spectacular relief arms.
What this means is that Oakland is more used to a playoff-type game. Will this factor into how I approach this game from a betting standpoint? It definitely will and here is why:
The Yankees have a couple of big name starters they could trot out for this game who would draw a lot of fan interest. This buzz, combined with the fact that the Yankees have an enormous amount of fans, should sway the line in favor of the A’s.
A’s – Yankees Head-to-Head Stats
The most important statistic to look at when predicting playoff games or series is how the two teams stacked up when they met earlier in the season. This year it is dead even, with the six games split 3-3.
If we look back to 2017 (which can be dangerous to do given how frequently rosters change), we will see that Oakland dominated the Yankees, winning 5 of the 7 contests between them.
Wednesday’s game will most likely be held in the Bronx, where New York holds a theoretical advantage. The Yanks have taken 2 of 3 from the A’s at home in both 2017 and 2018. Is this relevant? Maybe.
As it turns out, Oakland excels when travelling across the map. This season, they are a perfect 5-0 in the first games of road series against AL East opponents.
I like this. I like it a lot. Oakland will almost assuredly open as underdogs for two reasons: the starting pitcher matchup and the fact they are on the road.
We negated the former because Oakland excels in bullpen games. We negated the latter because Oakland also excels the day after travelling.
When playing as road underdogs this season, Oakland boasts an exceptional 24-21 record despite facing an average line of +144. I got to say, I really like the value that the A’s present in this matchup.
As I began with, this matchup is not guaranteed to happen. But in all likelihood, we will see these two teams duke it out under the lights of Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night.
If that happens, you can be sure I will be putting my money on the A’s. I cannot pass up the value they offer in this one.