MLB Pick: Oakland A’s vs Houston Astros
Time: 8:10 PM ET
Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
Listed Pitchers: Brett Anderson (A’s) & Gerrit Cole (Astros)
TV: NBCS California, SportsNet-Southwest
Moneyline: A’s +175/Astros -185
The AL West race has a chance to get very interesting this week as the defending champion Astros and streaking Athletics open a three-game series in Houston Monday night. How are we playing this game with our daily free MLB pick?
Monday’s MLB betting odds opened the Astros at around -180 over Oakland, with an over/under of 8 runs. Early betting action then bumped Houston a nickel or so, to around -185.
The Astros could also be found getting around +110 giving the run and a half on the MLB run line.
The A’s just took three of four games from the Twins in Minneapolis over the weekend, winning Sunday 6-2. In fact, Oakland won the last three games of that series by a combined score of 19-5.
So stretching back to shortly after the All-Star break the A’s are 24-8 over their last 32 games.
The Astros, meanwhile, just swept three games from the Angels in Anaheim over the weekend, winning Sunday 3-1. So after stumbling through a 2-8 stretch earlier this month Houston now owns a five-game winning streak.
Not coincidentally, the Astros are 5-0 since the return of spark-plug Jose Altuve from a month-long stint on the DL.
Big-picture, at 80-50 overall Houston leads the AL West by a game and a half over 79-52 Oakland. The Astros won’t catch Boston in the battle for the best record in the American League, but they also lead AL Central-leading Cleveland by six games in the fight for the No. 2 spot.
Also, the A’s own the second American League wild-card spot at the moment, sitting five games clear of third-place Seattle.
The Astros lead this season series with Oakland 10 games to six.
Cole (11-5, 2.73), by our strict standards, is 17/26 on quality starts this season, but only one for his last four. Last Monday he gave up three runs – two earned – on seven hits through five innings against the Mariners, and over his last four starts he’s allowed 10 ER and 24 hits through 23 1/3 innings. On the season the Astros are 18-8 with Cole, with totals splitting 12-12.
In four starts already this season against the A’s Cole allowed eight runs and 19 hits through 24 2/3 innings, with 38 strikeouts. Houston won three of those games.
Lefty Anderson (3-3, 3.47) is 5/12 on quality starts this year, and three for his last four. Last Tuesday he held Texas scoreless on one hit through seven innings, and over his last four starts he’s held foes to just two runs and 12 hits through 26 2/3 innings. On the season Oakland is 7-5 with Anderson, with unders going a lopsided 10-2.
In one start this year against the Astros, though, Anderson got knocked around for nine runs – seven earned – and 10 hits through just three innings of a 16-2 A’s defeat.
We’ll give Houston and Cole our handicapping check-mark in this pitching match-up, but not by as much as first glance might indicate.
Oakland owns a .252/.321/.441 batting average/OBP/slugging percentage split against right-handed pitching this season.
The Astros own a .278/.344/.470 split against left-handed pitching this year.
We’ll give Houston the advantage with the sticks for Monday.
The A’s bullpen owns a 3.27 ERA this year and a 1.21 WHIP.
The Astros pen owns a 3.04 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
So Houston owns a short edge in the comparison of the bullpens, too.
Unders are 33-28 in games played at Minute Maid Park this year, which are averaging just 8.0 total runs per.
Unders are 5-1 in Oakland’s last six games, mainly thanks to some good pitching from the A’s.
Overs are 5-2 in Houston’s last seven games.
Overs are 10-4-2 in A’s-Astros games this season.
Houston gets all three of our handicapping check-marks for this match-up, so they’re our pick in this spot. But that price is a bit too much to take. So instead we’ll take a chance and give the run and a half with the Astros on the MLB run line. Run Line pricing for this game ranges from 10 cents to 26 cents depending on the sportsbook’s vig.