The Oakland Athletics (46-31) will face the San Francisco Giants (48-26) to begin a three-game series on Friday, as the interleague Bay Area squads link up for the first time in 2021. Oakland won five of six matchups last year, en route to a playoff appearance. Both teams are thinking playoffs this season, and they’re both wildly overperforming the public’s preseason expectations for them. Oakland has the second best record in the American League, while San Francisco has somehow put together the best record in the majors.
Free Picks: Oakland Athletics vs San Francisco Giants
West Coast foes make for a compelling, even matchup
Baseball and football are different in many ways, but here’s one: In baseball, you almost never see teams given equal odds to win a game (i.e. a “pick ‘em”), while in football that’s practically a weekly occurrence. Yet with this matchup between two of MLB’s absolute best, bettors invite you to take your pick.
This head-to-head matchup was dominated by the Athletics last season, to the tune of a 5-1 record (though the Giants’ lone win came in a 14-2 assault). Oakland was simply better last year, winning the AL West and reaching the ALDS, while the Giants suffered a losing record and missed the playoffs for a fourth consecutive year.
Many pundits picked San Francisco to be a middling-at-best bunch again, but here they are in late June with baseball’s best record. How on earth did that happen?
Two things: they hit a lot of home runs and they shut a lot of people out. Entering Friday, the Giants lead the majors in offensive home runs (111) and defensive shutouts (10). Only four teams have done that over the course of a full season, and none have done it since the 1978 Milwaukee Brewers.
Both the home runs and the shutouts are true team efforts. Sure, shortstop Brandon Crawford has a sizable number of home runs (16), but he’s the only player with more than 12. There are 10 players with six or more.
As for shutouts, Anthony DeSclafani has two on his own (leading the majors), but the other eight were a result of rotation and bullpen working in harmony. That’s a scary proposition for opponents.
But hey, let’s give the Athletics credit. They’re pretty grand, too. And starter Sean Manaea might be just the guy to topple the Giants with the way he’s going right now. Manaea has a 1.65 ERA over his past seven starts, with no more than three runs allowed per outing in that span. He also worked a four-hitter against Seattle earlier this month.
San Francisco’s Johnny Cueto, who has a 4.38 ERA in his past seven starts, is far less imposing right now. He’s given up four or more runs in three of five starts.
We like the Athletics on the money line, so that’ll be the BetPicks prediction. But if you’re feeling hungry for something juicier, the -1.5 run line for Oakland (+141 at 10Bet) could lead to a nice payday.
- Oakland is 6-4 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in seven of the Athletics’ past 10 games
- San Francisco is 8-2 on the money line in its past 10
- The OVER has cashed in six of the Giants’ past eight games
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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University).