Pick: Houston Astros vs. Oakland Athletics – 6/14/18
Time: 3:35 ET
Venue: Oakland Coliseum
Location: Oakland, California
TV: MLB Network
Moneyline: Houston (-170)/ Oakland (+155)
By handicapper Bryan B
The Houston Astros look to sweep a three-game set against the Oakland Athletics Thursday afternoon in Oakland, California. A 6-3 ‘Stros triumph on Tuesday was validated by a 13-5 shellacking Wednesday night. Consequently, the reigning World Series Champions are a season-best 19 games above .500 and put their 7-game winning streak on the line in this contest. According to AccuWeather, it looks like a perfect day for baseball in sunny California.
Astros are out of this world
Approaching the midway point of the 2018 MLB Season, the defending World Series Champions appear to have hit their stride. Houston’s won seven straight, outscoring opponents 50-28. Six of those seven victories have come on the road, where the ‘Stros are the most proficient team in the league (25-11). Currently, Houston sits in second place in the AL West Standings, half a game behind the division-leading Seattle Mariners. A.J. Hinch’s club is second in the league in runs scored (352), and first in runs allowed (214). Houston’s run differential of +138 leads the majors, and the Boston Red Sox are the only other team over the century mark in this statistical category.
Gattis… so hot right now
Evan Gattis must be butter because he’s on a roll. The 31-year-old lumberjack imposter has been on a tear, posting three homers and ten RBI in his last two games. During Houston’s 7-game winning streak, Gattis has amassed 11 hits in 24 at-bats (.458), five home runs and 16 RBI. As a former master of the custodial arts, Gattis sure does know a thing or two about cleaning up.
A’s getting F’s thus far
Oakland enters Thursday’s contest losers of back-to-back games, and sit in 4th place in the AL West Standings at 34-34 (.500). At home, the A’s are also .500 (18-18). Their run differential on the year is -1. Safe to say, Oakland’s mired in mediocrity at this point in the season. However, bright spots have appeared in the last few games. Third baseman Matt Chapman has been on fire in his previous six games, accruing ten hits in 18 at-bats (.556) with four doubles and one dinger. Designated hitter Khris Davis had a monumental effort last night going 3-4 with two homers and two RBI. In order to avoid the sweep, these two will need to keep it going with Verlander on the hill for the surging ‘Stros. The A’s are 1-8 against Houston this year, getting outscored 63-25. Oakland’s lost seven straight to Houston, including five consecutive losses at home.
Montas vs. Verlander
The pitching matchup for this one is akin to David vs. Goliath. Justin Verlander’s a reigning World Series Champion, former MVP and Cy Young award winner. On the other side of the ledger sits Frankie Montas, a promising 25-year-old arm from the Dominican Republic. Montas has shined in three starts this season, posting three consecutive victories. Boasting a 1.25 ERA, Montas has allowed just three earned runs in 21.2 innings pitched. However, two of his three wins came against the lowly Kansas City Royals. Montas’s career numbers against Houston are less than stellar, with a 22.50 ERA and 3.00 WHIP. To the contrary, Verlander (8-2, 1.45 ERA & 0.76 WHIP) has quality numbers against the A’s for his career (14-6, 2.28 ERA & 1.06 WHIP). The 35-year-old veteran is still dealing the goods after all these years. Currently, Verlander leads the American League in ERA (1.45) and WHIP (0.76). He’s also third in the AL in wins (8) and fourth in strikeouts (113).
The opening money line pegs Houston (-170) as the favorite in this one. Rightfully so, the ‘Stros are on a tear having won seven straight decisions. Furthermore, Houston’s beaten Oakland eight out of nine times this year, and they’re undefeated at the Coliseum in Oakland (5-0). Not to mention, a legend is toeing the rubber for the Astros while a youngster with a bad track record against the ‘Stros is dealing for the A’s. According to my calculations, Houston has a 75% chance to win this game, and Vegas is saying they’ll win approximately 63% of the time with the line that’s out right now. With a 12% edge, I’d recommend wagering on Houston to complete the sweep, notching yet another win against their divisional foe. In my opinion, this is the best MLB pick today. To get the best line on this game check out Intertops who offer new bettors a free $100 if you deposit $100!