Matchup: Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Date/Time: August 28, 10:05 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: OAK: Sonny Gray (13-7, 3.00) v. LAA: CJ Wilson (10-8, 4.45)

Moneyline: Los Angeles -107

Total: 7.5 -110/100

A huge series kicks off in Anaheim on Thursday night as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim host the Oakland Athletics for a four-game series. The Angels still maintain a one-game lead in the AL West standings. Both teams are all but assured a playoff spot at this point, but there’s clearly an added bonus to not playing the Wild Card play-in game, where one of these two teams with over 90 wins could lose to the second wild card since anything can happen. The Angels are 12-5 over their last 17 games while the A’s are just 12-13 in the month of August.

Sonny Gray gets the ball for the A’s. Gray has been terrific since day one for the A’s, whose starting rotation looked bleak with the Tommy John surgeries for Jarrod Parker and AJ Griffin. Gray has never finished a start with an ERA above 3.20 this season and carried a 1.99 ERA into late May. Since the All-Star Break, Gray is 3-4 with a 3.57 ERA. He has been part of the decision in each of his last 10 starts. In July, Gray was the winning pitcher in all five of his starts, but he began the month of August 0-4 before picking up a win last week against the Angels with 8.1 innings of three-run ball.

CJ Wilson has had a rocky season for the Angels and he’ll need to step it up with Garrett Richards out. This is Wilson’s worst season since becoming a full-time starter five years ago and he’s been downright terrible since late June. Through his first 15 starts, Wilson was 7-6 with a 3.34 ERA. Opposing batters were hitting .217 with a .625 OPS. In his last nine starts, Wilson is 3-2, but with a 7.07 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting .341 with a .919 OPS. It could just be a matter of bad BABIP luck, but his walk rate has also increased to exacerbate the bad location.

Gray will be facing the Angels for the fifth time in his young career and the fourth time as a starter. Gray is 2-0 with a 2.73 ERA over 20 innings against the Angels and is 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA this season, including last week’s win over them. Even though the A’s are 16-10 in Gray’s 26 starts, their profit with him on the mound is just 1.48 units.

Wilson has seen the A’s a lot, both as a member of the Angels and as a member of the Texas Rangers. This will be his 48th career appearance and 18th start against Oakland. As a starter over the last five seasons, Wilson is 10-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 118.2 innings of work against Oakland. The Angels are 12-12 in Wilson’s 24 starts for a loss of 1.74 units.

Free MLB Pick: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Despite CJ Wilson’s struggles, there’s a reason that he’s still priced as the favorite in this matchup. The Angels are 43-24 at home, while the A’s are just 35-31 on the road. The Angels have been playing extremely well as their offensive parts have gotten back into the lineup and the A’s bullpen is in a bit of a state of flux with the Sean Doolittle injury. Look for the Angels to pick up a big win in the series opener.