San Francisco Giants vs. Oakland Athletics: Preview, Prediction & Odds - Aug. 20, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 9:40 p.m. ET
Venue: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Where to watch: KNTV, NBCSCA

Season-to-date
Giants: 78-43 (1st place, NL West)
Athletics: 69-53 (2nd place, AL West)

Recent form
Giants: 8-2 in last 10
Athletics: 5-5 in last 10

Projected lineup


Giants:
LaMonte Wade Jr (L) RF
Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
Kris Bryant (R) 3B
Brandon Belt (L) 1B
Brandon Crawford (L) SS
Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
Wilmer Flores (R) DH
Curt Casali (R) C
Alex Dickerson (L) LF

Athletics:
Mark Canha (R) LF
Starling Marte (R) CF
Matt Olson (L) 1B
Mitch Moreland (L) DH
Matt Chapman (R) 3B
Seth Brown (L) RF
Sean Murphy (R) C
Tony Kemp (L) 2B
Elvis Andrus (R) SS

Projected starting pitchers: Alex Wood (SF) vs. James Kaprielian (OAK)

Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Giants -110, Athletics -110
BetMGM: Giants -110, Athletics -110

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Giants - Athletics preview


The Bay Area Battle begins on Friday when the San Francisco Giants take MLB’s best record on the road to face the Oakland Athletics in a three-game series in the Coliseum starting Friday.

The Giants are coming off a nine-game homestand which they won all but two. San Francisco took two of three against the New York Mets, losing 6-2 in extra innings in the series finale on Wednesday.

When the Giants were winning World Series championships in the 2010s, the starting pitching is what got them there. It’s on the way to doing that again. San Francisco’s trio of Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeScalafani and Alex Wood are carving out a ridiculous tandem in the starting rotation that will be tough to beat come playoff time. Wood is expected to take the mound for the Giants on Friday.

It’s not the first time Wood has had a stellar season. In 2017, his first stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he went 16-3 with a 2.72 ERA and somehow finished ninth place in Cy Young voting. In his second stint, this time as a reliever, he helped lead the Dodgers to a world title in 2020.

This time, Wood is having a season similar to 2017, all but the ERA. He’s on pace for a career-high in strikeouts and will come close in innings pitched. He’s a third starter no one would want to face in a playoff series.

The Athletics didn’t get what they wanted in their three-game series against the Chicago White Sox, but showed some battle in the 5-4 win in the series finale on Thursday, ending a four-game losing streak.

Oakland also had to overcome some adversity after their ace Chris Bassitt left Wednesday’s game after taking a line drive to the face. He may be done for the season, but the A’s power batters came to the rescue on Thursday.

No bat may be hotter right now than A’s third baseman Matt Chapman, who hit his fifth home run in six games Thursday. First baseman Matt Olson hit his 31st home run of the year in the win, as well. Olson is putting together an under-the-radar MVP campaign, nearing 100 RBI and a .279 batting average.

Oakland trails the New York Yankees by a half-game for the top AL Wild Card spot, with the Boston Red Sox trailing by a half-game despite losing three in a row.

Right-hander James Kaprielian is expected to take the mound for the A’s to round out the matchup. In his second season in the big leagues, he’s brought his WHIP down to 1.16 and is nearing 100 strikeouts.

Betting trends


The Giants are 14-4 against the AL West this season.

As an underdog, the Giants are 27-17 (+18.3) with the over being near .500 (23-21).

The Giants are 11-0 when Wood starts following a loss.

The under is 34-24 when the A’s moneyline is between -100 to -150.

Prediction


There’s going to be some fun baseball this weekend, and this series will be the same starting at first pitch. If the Giants can neutralize Oakland’s power bats, this should go the way they expect. The power triad of that rotation, at least Wood, is going to get tested greatly, and the Giants are at the point where they’re going to start letting people know to fear them. Take San Francisco in this one. Giants win 6-5.

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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