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Saturday Free Pick: Houston Astros at Oakland A’s

by | Aug 18, 2018 | mlb

Houston Astros at Oakland A’s 8/18/18

Time: 4:05 PM ET
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA
Listed Pitchers: Dallas Keuchel (Hous) & Trevor Cahill (Oak)
TV: NBC Sports – California
Moneyline: Houston -105/Oakland -105
Over/Under: 8

The defending World Series champion Astros gassed it out of the gate this season but as of late they’re leaking a little oil. The A’s, meanwhile, are one of the hottest teams in baseball. How are we playing Saturday’s AL West showdown with our daily free MLB picks?

MLB Betting Line

Saturday’s MLB betting odds opened Houston at around -120 on the road over Oakland, with an over/under of 8 runs. Early MLB betting action then dipped that line as much as 15 cents, to around -105 on both sides.

The Astros could also be found getting around +145 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.

Saturday Set-Up

Oakland rides the momentum of a series-opening 4-3 extra-inning victory Friday night. The A’s tied the score at 3-3 with a run in the bottom of the ninth, then won it on a homer by Matt Olson in the bottom of the tenth. They also cashed in as +130 home underdogs on the MLB betting line.

With Friday’s victory Oakland is 12-3 over its last 15 games.

With Friday’s loss Houston is 1-6 over its last seven games.

Big-picture, at 74-48 the Astros now lead the AL West by just one game over the 73-49 A’s. Oakland also owns a 3.5-game lead over Seattle in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.

Houston leads this season series nine games to five.

On the personnel front the Astros are playing without spark-plug Jose Altuve, who’s doing time on the DL with a sore knee.  

 

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Saturday’s Starting Arms

Cahill (4-2, 3.39), by our strict standards, is 6/14 on quality starts this season, and two for his last three. Last Sunday he gave up four runs in 4 2/3 innings against the Angels, but in his two starts previous to that he allowed just two runs and eight hits through 12 innings, with 16 strikeouts. On the season the A’s are 9-5 with Cahill, with overs going 7-6.

In two starts this season against the Astros Cahill allowed six earned runs and seven hits through 9 2/3 innings. Oakland split those two games, and both games played over their totals.

Lefty Keuchel (9-9, 3.43) is 15/25 on quality starts this year, working on a run of three in a row. Last Sunday he held Seattle to one earned run through seven innings, and over his last three starts he’s allowed just five ER through 20 innings. On the year Houston is 14-11 with Keuchel, with unders going 13-10.

In two starts this season against the A’s Keuchel allowed seven runs and 12 hits through 15 innings. The Astros split those two games, with overs going 1-0-1.

Based on all that we’re calling this pitching match-up a wash.

Saturday’s Batting Splits

Houston ranks 17th in the Majors this year against right-handed pitching with a .247 team batting average, 10th with a .323 team OBP and 14th with a .414 team slugging percentage. But the Astros have also been held to three runs or less eight of their last 10 times out.

Oakland ranks 16th against left-handed pitching with a .249 BA, 15th with a .323 OBP and sixth with a .429 slugging percentage.

We’ll give the A’s a slight edge with the sticks here.

The Bullpens

The Houston bullpen ranks No. 1 in the ML with a 3.07 ERA and No. 1 with a 1.05 WHIP.

The Oakland pen ranks fifth in ERA at 3.35 and eighth in WHIP at 1.24.

These two bullpens rank among the best in baseball but we gotta give the Astros a short handicapping edge in this comparison.

Totals Report

Unders are 35-23 in games played at the Oakland Coliseum this year, which are averaging just 7.6 total runs per, second-fewest among all ML ballparks.

Unders are 8-2 in the Astros last 10 games, mainly because they’re having trouble scoring runs.

Unders are 10-2 in the A’s last 12 games, mainly thanks to good pitching.

However, overs are 9-4-1 in Houston-Oakland games this season.

Free MLB Picks

The A’s are hot, the Astros, not so much. Also, Houston is just 7-11 since Altuve got hurt. We’re betting Oakland Saturday.