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The A’s are a Team to Bet Against in 2016

Sonny Gray Oakland A's MLB

Let’s not beat around the bush — The Oakland Athletics aren’t winning the World Series, American League Pennant or American League West. If you’re considering placing a wager on any of these, please find a worthy charity instead to donate the money to, or if charity isn’t your thing, maybe put the money towards replacing your entire sock drawer.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s analyze the team’s O/U win total of 75.5. The total is the lowest in the American League, but it’s a number they’ve topped in three of the previous four seasons. A major issue, however, is that the A’s are coming off a lousy 68-win season in 2015. They were dead last in the American League, and were tied with the Rockies as the fourth worst team in the bigs.

For unrealistic A’s fans that are clinging to the hope of some type of historic turnaround, they can look at last year’s Texas Rangers and Houston Astros for encouragement. In 2014 the Rangers finished the season with 67 wins, but went on to win 88 games and the division in 2015. The Astros, meanwhile, won just 70 games in 2014, but clinched a wild card spot with 86 wins in 2015. Unfortunately for A’s fans, those type of turnarounds aren’t the norm, as only six fifth place teams over the last 20 years went on to finish first in their division the following season.

Last year’s Rangers and Astros have a lot more talent than the A’s do, but considering Donald Trump is one of the top presidential candidates, I suppose anything is possible. If you think the risk is worth the reward, Oakland can be had at +1000 to win the AL West.

Oakland’s projected opening day lineup doesn’t inspire much hope with the likes of Josh Reddick and Khris Davis leading the charge at the dish. After combining for 47 homers last season, the team will depend on them to provide run support for a young starting rotation.

The one diamond in the rough in Oaktown is starting pitcher Sonny Gray. The 26-year-old saw his ERA drop from 3.08 in 2014 to 2.73 last season while also seeing his swing for strike rate improve from 8.7% to 9.7%. He also ranked sixth among pitchers in WAR at 5.75, above big names like Madison Bumgarner, Felix Hernandez and Matt Harvey.

Fans in Oakland should prepare for another season of rebuilding in the basement of the American League. This is a franchise that’s surprised us in the past, but with the competition within their own division and a major lack of depth, this team will more closely resemble last season’s 68-win team than the 90+ win teams of 2012 and 2013.

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2016 Oakland Athletics Futures Odds
World Series+6600
American League Pennant+3300
American League West+1000
Win Totals75.5

Odds as of April 1 at Bovada