Oakland A’s Odds: MLB Win Totals, Projections, Possible Bets

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Written By Mo Nuwwarah | Last Updated
A's odds

Welcome to TheLines.com’s 2024 MLB odds preview series. Here, we’ll preview every team’s 2024 season with a focus on MLB win totals and World Series odds. We’ll evaluate each team’s roster and see if there are any wagers worth considering. Today, we’ll look at Las Vegas, er, Oakland A’s odds.

The A’s have basically hit rock bottom of what an MLB franchise can become. They have an atrocious team, a barren farm system, and have even turned the local fans against them with a maybe-impending-now-maybe-not move to Las Vegas. They won 50 games last year and now have one of, if not the, lowest win totals ever seen.

Can the A’s do anything other than embarrass themselves this year?

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A’s Odds: An Overview And What The Projections Say

First, let’s compare the market on A’s odds to publicly available projections from FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus.

  • 2023 wins: 50
  • Market wins: /
  • FanGraphs wins: 70.3
  • Baseball Prospectus wins: 63.9

Much like with the White Sox, we see a lot of upward regression from the projection systems. This is natural with teams projected at either end of the wins curve. Normally, 50-win teams are an outlier. In the A’s case, not so much. They “should have” won 53 games with neutral sequencing. So they were a bit unlucky, but not enough to take them out of historically awful territory.

And to that 53-win bunch they’ve added … not much. A couple of back-of-the-rotation fliers, but this will largely be the same team that stunk up the join in 2023. Small wonder the market has gone as low as it feasibly could here.

Evaluating The A’s Roster

Bats And Defense

No team scored fewer runs than the 585 the A’s managed in 2023. In fact, they wound up nearly 60 runs below the next-worst team.

Now, park and league adjustments had the offense merely bottom five, as their stadium suppresses offense quite a bit. Still, that’s not good.

The good news is that the team should improve somewhat in this department. Nearly all of the hitters are on the right side of the aging curve. Zack Gelof and Shea Langeliers look like they’ll develop into solid starters, but therein lies a hint at the problem. Even the promising players will probably top out well shy of becoming stars. There’s just not much ceiling to be found anywhere in this lineup.

The team’s defense was somewhere between abhorrent (DRS) and merely below average (UZR/150) depending on your metric of choice. Nick Allen will vacuum up everything hit to him at short, but he’s so bad with the stick it really doesn’t matter. Pretty much everyone else is bad, with Langeliers’ framing dragging down the pitching staff all season.

Normally, teams like this have some good prospects on the cusp of contributing. Not the case here. FanGraphs doesn’t list a single A’s position player as likely to contribute in 2024 and eventually become an average regular.

Pitching

The pitching staff was also an eyesore, and the A’s have made some efforts to at least inch back toward the middle of the league here. Banishing Kyle Muller (7.6 ERA, ticketed for bullpen duty), Ken Waldichuk (5.36 ERA, out injured) and James Kaprielian (6.34 ERA, outrighted to Triple-A will help greatly as their replacements could hardly do worse.

Paul Blackburn is back to ply his brand of boring competence. He made a bat-missing leap in 2022 and hasn’t looked back, authoring back-to-back above-average seasons that nobody besides me is paying any attention (I think I bet about half of his starts the past couple of seasons). Luis Medina had a somewhat promising second half of the season. JP Sears is … fine?

Alex Wood and Ross Stripling serve as the new additions. Both are buy-lows after dreadful 2023 campaigns. Stripling had an abysmal -0.3 WAR but has bounced back from that sort of season before. His fastball velocity and swinging strikes were normal, so I’m not too concerned that he’s cooked entering his age-34 season. Wood looks like a less-worthy reclamation project after career worsts in the strikeout and walk departments.

The bullpen has some fire in the form of top prospect Mason Miller (98.6 FBvelo). He’s expected to serve in a multi-inning role, though, and he’s had trouble staying upright so we’ll see how that goes.

Outside of Miller, things look pretty bleak, but it can hardly be worse than last season when this unit was the only one in the majors that accrued negative WAR. Trevor Gott and Scott Alexander have joined the group and may bring league-average production.

Possible Bets On A’s Odds

It’s not often you see a team with 250-1 odds in its own division, but such is life for Oakland right now.

If you believe in the projection systems, A’s odds are offering one of the biggest values in MLB win totals. The delta between their market number and the projections is quite sizable. Sharp money has already hit this over, moving it up from an opener of 56.5.

I can’t say I blame the sharps here, as the A’s look like they have room for realistic improvement pretty much across the board. The position players are young enough that they should improve, and the pitching looks better on paper than what the team ran out last year when it was hoping young prospects would work through their struggles. The veteran pitchers rate to provide boring competence. That matters a lot when contrasted to last season when games often ended almost before they began due to starters digging the team 5-0 holes.

I’m finding myself a little bit on the optimistic side as well, and I’m considering a wager on the A’s to go over their win total.

The problem is that if the veterans pitch decently, the A’s will likely flip them for prospect dart throws at the deadline. And even if the position players perform well, the lack of ceiling will make it tough to really move the needle, although the bar is so low here that it should be enough to push past 60 wins.

For now, nothing on A’s odds. I still may pull the trigger on a gross win total over, so keep an eye on the Discord if you are also a masochist.

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