American League Wild Card Playoff Preview

American League Wild Card Playoff Preview

Since Monday is one of the slowest sports days of the year we’ll look ahead to the baseball wild card playoffs. This post will cover the American League Wild Card playoff game and we’ll cover the National League in a subsequent post.



One of these teams doesn’t really belong here. The Oakland A’s were riding high with the best record in baseball right after the All Star Break but following an almost absurd downturn they were life and death to get in to the playoffs at all, needing a victory over one of the worst teams in baseball just to qualify for the wild card game.

The expanded wild card format is a good thing since it gives more deserving teams a chance to make the playoffs. The format, however, is downright brutal–a one game playoff that determines if you advance or go home. One bad inning–or for that matter one bad pitch–can make or break an entire season.

Following Oakland’s late season swoon it’s somewhat surprising that Kansas City isn’t a bigger favorite than they are in this matchup. The Royals made a good run at the AL Central title finishing one game behind the Detroit Tigers. The A’s finished 10 games behind the Los Angeles Angels–a team they led by several games at the midway point.

Oakland was horrible as a short priced road underdog this year. As a road dog of +100 to +125 the A’s were 2-11 -8.6 units. They were also terrible in games with a low total in which runs are expected to be at a premium. In road games with a total of 7 or less Oakland went 4-15 -11.9 units. And lest we forget they burnt through a ton of money in the month of September with a 10-16 record and a loss of -17.6 units.

That last statistic is important–despite the fact that Oakland was clearly in the toilet in the final month of the season they were *still* overvalued by the linesmakers and betting public. We think they’re overvalued here and in a one game shootout we’d rather have a Kansas City team that went 19-7 +10.8 units as a home favorite of -100 to -125.