Toronto @ Oakland
Oakland +167 over Toronto

Posted at 12:30 PM EST. Odds subject to change.

Pinnacle +161   BET365 +167 Sportsinteraction +166 888Sport +165

Oakland +165 over Toronto

9:40 PM EST. Chris Bassitt (RHP - TOR) seems to be putting together a solid year during his first season in Toronto and he’ll return to his old stomping grounds here, as he pitched for Oakland from 2015 to 2021 before joining the Mets for one year in 2022. He’s given the Blue Jays plenty of innings over his 28 starts and has delivered more than anyone could have expected. He’s also coming off a win last Wednesday, allowing three hits and a walk over eight scoreless innings against Washington. He struck out three. Three K’s in eight scoreless innings is what is known as pure luck because almost every ball was in play but was hit right at someone. Bassitt's xERA is the lowest he's had in the past five years, suggesting his season may not be as good as the surface stats imply. His 13% K-BB% is mediocre. His ERA is well below his xERA and his ERA over his past five starts of 3.03 is not even close to his xERA of 4.61. His 22% hit-rate over that span is also very fortunate and the proof is in his 30% career hit-rate. This disconnect also points toward a strong potential for an increasing WHIP. Bassitt is having a decent season, but there are several indicators that reflect his skills are not quite as good as the results he's getting and at the end of the day it makes him an overpriced commodity. 

Part 2 of this wager focuses on Oakland’s starter, who has one of the worst surface ERA’s in the game. That provides us with opportunities to take back big tags on Ken Waldichuk (LHP - OAK) the rest of the year and very likely next year so we’ll get started on that here, 

An awful start has clouded Waldichuck's improvements that he's made as the season has progressed.  With a 5.92 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP, it's unlikely that the market has noticed it but we have. It’s also worth noting that he had a 7.46 ERA and 1.97 WHIP over the first two months of the season, but just the difference between his ERA/WHIP from the first two months compared to his full season tells you he's pitched better, and when you drill down, you can see it clearly: since June 1st, he's put up a 4.85 ERA and 1.42 WHIP while getting a mix of bullpen work and starts. Even better, over his last five starts and one relief appearance, he's managed a 4.20 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 4.10 xERA, partly because he found a path to more swings-and-misses in June (13.3% swing and miss rate), and has been able to carry that over as he's returned to the rotation (12.5% in August). 

Waldichuk has two very promising strikeout pitches in his sweeper (28.0% usage, 14.0% swing and miss rate) and his change-up (16.1% usage, 17.7% swing and miss rate), and he's been able to raise his second-half K% up to 25%. He's also improved his control in the second half, lowering his BB% from 13% in the first half to 10% in the second. Waldichuk's home/away splits are also worth noting, as he's been much better at home both in 2022 and 2023. For his career, he now sports a 4.24 ERA (4.22 xERA) and 1.29 WHIP at home, and a 7.16 ERA and 1.80 WHIP on the road. The hidden improvements that he's made since June are reason enough to hang on a little longer and see where this goes. He'll get a reset in 2024, and his second-half skills are a sign that he’s ready to return some profits. Let’s not dismiss that he has 114 K’s in 114 frames and that he was a well-regarded prospect that rode three plus pitches to the majors. He’s a 25-year-old lefty that could surprise. Bassitt is overvalued, Waldichuk is undervalued and it has created this very nice overlay. 

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Our Pick

Oakland +167 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.34)

San Francisco +101 over Chicago