Houston Astros vs. Cincinnati Reds Preview and Pick – Oswalt vs. Owings

Houston Astros (14-7) Roy Oswalt -120, 8.5 O/U at Cincinnati
Reds (24-20) Micah Owings +110, 8.5 O/U, Great American Ball
Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, 7:10 PM EST, Tuesday

by Badger of Predictem.com

Houston Astros right-hander Roy Oswalt will try and continue his
dominance of the Cincinnati Reds tonight at Great American Ball Park
in Cincinnati when the Astros and Reds get together for game two in
the series.

Oswalt, who is 23-1 with a 2.35 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 28 starts
throughout his career versus the Reds, will try for his third win
over the Reds already this year, as he outdueled Johnny Cueto twice
back in April.

But the Reds do have a fighting chance. Theyve won two in a row and
three of their last four, including the series opener yesterday on
Memorial Day by an 8-5 score. Cincinnati scored five in the first
inning, Jonny Gomes went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs, and Aaron Harang
scattered his 10 hits and a walk over five innings and only allowed
three runs as the Reds held on for the victory.

Tonight the Reds will counter with last nights pinch-hitter Micah
Owings. Okay, hes also a right-hander too, but Owings will give the
Reds an extra stick in the lineup as they try and break the hold
Oswalt has on them.

Oddsmakers have opened with Oswalt and the Astros as -120 favorites
on the moneyline, making Owings and the Reds +110 on the dimeline.
The over/under total opened at 8.5 and is still there at most offshore sportsbooks on the Web.

Oswalt will be happy to face the Reds right now, since hes been
pitching well but getting outdueled in his last few outings by
Milwaukees Jeff Suppan and the Cubs Randy Wells. Hes 1-0 with a
4.91 ERA and 1.36 WHIP in his last three games, but hes only gone
six innings in each of them (18.1) and the Astros have lost two of
those three contests.

The Reds just bring out his best though, plus hes held the Reds
lineups over the years to just a .231 batting average and a measly .
288 on-base percentage too. In his 28 starts the Astros have gone
23-5 for a ticket-cashing 82.1 percent cover rate.

Owings had a stinker in his last outing versus the Phillies, as he
gave up five runs on six hits and three walks and only lasted three
innings of a 12-5 loss. Prior to that he had pitched well in back-to-
back games against the Padres and D-Backs.

Owings bat in the lineup (.280 BA, .600 SLG in 25 ABs) will help the
Reds counter for the loss of first baseman Joey Votto, who has been
relegated to just pinch-hitting duties as he battles and inner ear

The Astros have their own issues on offense, as they have now lost
five straight and seven of their last 10 games. The Stros are only
scoring 3 runs per game during the five-game slide and in turn have
allowed the opponent six runs a game during the same stretch. Not the
way winning baseball is played, thats for sure.

On top of Oswalt being a money pick against the Reds, the under has
been a solid wager as well. But that betting trend is deceiving since
the under is 11-3 in the last 14 head-to-head, but two of the three
non-covers were at Great American Ball Park and the Reds home park
has actually played the opposite way in series with the Stros (over
is 5-3 in last 8).

Badgers Pick: If there was ever a chance for the Reds to snap the
curse of Oswalt, tonight could be the night. The Astros are
scuffling, while the Reds are on a roll. But +110 isnt enough for me
to go against what has been a sure thing for too long, so Im taking
Oswalt. Take the Astros at -120 in a game that goes over the total as