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Oakland Athletics Betting Preview 2021

The Oakland Athletics enter 2021 looking to secure their fourth consecutive playoff appearance, which they haven’t achieved since 2000-03. However, since the turn of the century, the A’s have earned 11 postseason berths, second only to the Yankees’ 17 in the American League.

The franchise will rely on veterans with deep playoff experience and highly touted young players looking to blossom after an offseason where they let virtually all of their own free agents walk.

2020 Results

The A’s finished the memorable 2020 campaign with a 36-24 record, good enough for tops in the American League West, their first divisional crown since 2013. They parlayed their regular-season success into an AL Wild-Card triumph over the White Sox in three games before bowing to division-rival Houston in four games in the ALDS.

In the sprint that was the 2020 season, Oakland got off to a 3-4 start but then reeled off nine wins in a row and kept a stranglehold on the division the rest of the way.

COVID forced six postponements in late August/early September, and once they resumed, closed out their slate 14-12 with just two days off total in the final month of the season.

Key Additions 

Free agency splashes aren’t typically ingrained in Oakland’s DNA, and this year was not much different. None of their offseason moves stole any headlines after ownership declared that money was limited. Still, they made the most out of their situation, focusing on experienced players with a history playing in October.

Gaping holes were created in free agency (which we’ll highlight in a moment) but filled with names that should be familiar to the casual baseball fan. Elvis Andrus came over in the trade that sent Khris Davis to Texas after Andrus spent 12 seasons with the Rangers and will slide immediately into the shortstop role.

Trevor Rosenthal and Sergio Romo figure to occupy the backend of the bullpen, and Mitch Moreland slides into the D.H. role while occasionally filling in for Matt Olson at first base.

Big Losses 

Those signings were necessary after their closer, shortstop, and key bullpen piece all departed for greener pastures this winter. Marcus Semien finished third in AL MVP voting in 2019, but he’s off to Toronto after signing a 1-year/$18 million deal with the Blue Jays. 

Liam Hendriks blossomed into one of the game’s best closers over the past two years, and the White Sox noticed, luring him to Chicago with a 3-year/$54 million deal in January.

And the quintessential Athletic, Tommy La Stella, netted a multi-year from the Giants after finishing with the fewest errors among AL second basemen in the field and ending up as the hardest A.L. player to strikeout at the dish.

Pitching

This starting staff is not stock full of recognizable names, but there are quality arms in this deep and stable rotation that should keep the team in most ballgames. Chris Bassitt led the way last year with a 2.29 ERA in 63 innings and will be the ace.

Behind Bassitt will be Jesus Luzardo, Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, and Mike Fiers. The hope within the organization will be that Luzardo and A.J. Puk, who lived and trained together in the offseason, will mature into lefty aces. 

Rosenthal should occupy most of the ninth innings after snagging $11 million from Oakland, his seventh team since getting called up in 2012.

Offense

New additions Andrus and Moreland will likely nestle in the backend of the lineup offensively, with a consistent top five if everyone can stay healthy. A less-juiced ball makes this team worth monitoring at the plate as the Athletics relied on taking walks and hitting homers over the last few years. If they can’t hit the long ball with regularity, will they be able to keep up on the scoreboard?

This team is built around its elite defense and steady pitching, but Oakland will need improvement on offense over a bigger sample size in 2021. Last year, they only hit .225 as a team, which ranked 25th in all of baseball.

3 Key Players

The Matts remain key as long as they remain in green and yellow. Olson and third baseman Matt Chapman both hit 36 home runs, and won Gold Gloves in 2019. Last season, though, Olson hit just .195, and Chapman needed surgery to repair a torn right hip labrum. 

Chapman has appeared healthy this spring, and if the A’s are in contention, he’ll be vying for an MVP award again. If the team scuffles, he immediately becomes a highly-coveted trade commodity in July.

Rosenthal has big shoes to fill, replacing Hendriks, but also keep an eye on catcher Sean Murphy. The 26-year old backstop will hit right behind the Matts and is on the verge of becoming one of the game’s breakout stars.

 

2021 Oakland Athletics Schedule Breakdown

Alameda County’s move into the red tier will allow the A’s to open at 20% capacity, and ticket sales will be restricted to California residents only when baseball begins in 2021.

Oakland will hit the ground running to start the year, playing its first 10 games against Houston and the LA Dodgers in what could go a long way in shaping their regular season. The first half of their schedule also features 16 straight games against AL West opponents to close out May and into the first week of June.

According to the BetUs.com sportsbook, the Athletics are +1700 to win the World Series. As far as the division goes, Oakland is the favorite to be crowned A.L. West Champs, at +110, slightly ahead of Houston.

In terms of regular-season wins, BetUs.com has the over/under at 86.5 games for the Oakland Athletics. If you are new to sports betting, please check out our MLB betting hub page to get started.

Matt Chapman is installed as the 6th highest favorite to win the AL MVP, with odds of +1500.

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