With the streak by the Oakland A’s over the last month, it was truly a good time to be a bettor who believed in the team. The A’s have had the best record in baseball since June at 45-22, putting Oakland just one game behind the Houston Astros for the lead in the American League West, and giving them a 3.5 game cushion over Seattle to hold on to the second wild card playoff spot.

Oakland A's
Matt Olson is mobbed by his teammates after he hit a walk-off home run to defeat Houston on Saturday. (Image: AP)

The A’s were not supposed to make the playoffs, much less challenge for the division title. Before the season began, sportsbooks had them at 200/1 to win the World Series, 40/1 to win the division, and 11/2 to make the playoffs. Their World Series odds have dropped to 12/1, winning the division is now 5/1.

Also the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had the win total at 75.5. The team currently has a 74-50 record. Betting on Oakland players has also turned out to be profitable. The over/under line for home runs by Khris Davis was 34.5. He currently has 36 dingers. He is two behind leader J.D. Martinez of Boston, and is a 40/1 to win the HR title.

Ramon Laureano said the team is filled with confidence.

“We’re never out of any game,” Laureano said. “That’s the way we feel. Whether we’re losing by one run or 10 runs, whatever, we feel like we’ve got this game. We feel like we have every inning, every pitch. That’s what it takes to win a World Series.”

Catching Fire, Hoping Not to Get Burned

The A’s began the first two months pretty much as expected. By May they were fourth out of five teams in the AL West, and were five games behind first-place Houston. They hosted the Astros the first week of May and were swept in three games.

June wasn’t much better. After another three-game sweep by Houston the second week of the month, Oakland was in fourth place, but 11.5 games out of first, and four games under .500.

Then the team started turning it around. They went 12-3 after the second Astros’ sweep, and started to slowly climb up the standings. By July 15th they were in third place, eight games out of first place. They went on the road to face Houston for a four-game series on July 9, and won three of the four.

By August 15, they were in second-place, two games behind Houston, and 23 games above .500.

The hosted the Astros on Friday and by Saturday they were tied for the lead after winning the first two games. In Saturday’s 7-1 victory they were a -116 favorite to the Astros, the first time this season they weren’t an underdog to the defending World Series champions. They lost the Sunday game, and are one game out of first place.

Attendance Still Lagging

One area the team can’t seem to improve upon is attendance. They are currently saddled with the third-worst crowd size this year. They are averaging 18,850 per game.

Oakland’s third baseman Matt Chapman pleaded with the city to get behind the team.

“I just want to use this time to encourage people in Oakland to come out, man,” Chapman said. “All the fans and support we can get, we can really appreciate it. We’re fun to watch. We really want our fans to come out and support us. It’d be great.”