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MLB odds: Athletics-Astros prediction, odds and pick

The Oakland Athletics and the Houston Astros go head-to-head this evening for game two of this AL West showdown. Join us for our MLB odds series, where our Athletics-Astros prediction and pick will be revealed.

Losers of six straight ballgames, the A’s sit in a position where playing for pride and not embarrassing themselves is priority number one. Well behind the playoff race with an overall record of 41-72, Oakland’s rebuilding phase has been just that. Looking to contribute to snapping the lengthy losing skid will be southpaw Zach Logue, who will be getting the start with his 3-5 record and 4.79 ERA.

The exact opposite could be said about the Houston Astros, as World Series aspirations are as high as they have ever been. With almost every game from here on out possessing major playoff implications, Houston will be anxious for the return of righty Lance McCullers Jr. Making his season debut on Saturday, McCullers missed the first four months of the campaign after straining his forearm last postseason.

Here are the Athletics-Astros MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.

MLB Odds: Athletics-Astros Odds

Oakland Athletics: +1.5 (+122)

Houston Astros: -1.5 (-146)

Over: 8.5 (-118)

Under: 8.5 (-104)

Why The Athletics Could Cover The Spread

Soon to be mathematically eliminated from the playoff picture in the coming weeks, Oakland’s combination of young and inexperienced players got the best of the A’s in 2022. While they do indeed have some promising players on the roster and within their farm system, Oakland is far away from being a contending franchise any time soon.

In Friday’s series opener, the A’s jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before they imploded by surrendering six runs to Astros hitters in the bottom half of the fifth inning. While Oakland did battle back offensively to make it a one-run game in the eighth frame, their energy in staging a massive comeback had been used up. To make matters worse, the A’s bullpen was certainly not firing on all cylinders. For a team that sports a below-average 4.23 ERA as a whole, the A’s must get better outings from their pitchers.

For starters, receiving a quality start from rookie Zach Logue will be critical in giving the bullpen some much-needed rest. After being called up from Triple-A to start a doubleheader that occurred on July 21st, Logue tossed six innings and surrendered three runs in the process while punching out four batters.

On paper, the offense has certainly been lackluster, to say the least, this season, but they did just enough for them to have a chance to win on Friday. Despite ranking 29th in total runs scored and dead last with a .215 batting average on the year, the A’s managed to smack eleven balls for hits against Astros pitching, and in order to cover the spread later this evening, the name of the game will be the Oakland sticks.

Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread

At 73-41, the ‘Stros are locked in an intense battle with the Yankees with home-field advantage in the American League playoffs on the line. Remarkably, it has been almost an impossible feat for teams to come away victorious when playing the Astros at Minute Maid Park. Through 55 home games, Houston has accumulated a 37-18 record in front of their home fans. All in all, the rest of the contending squads out in the AL would prefer not to see the Astros with home field during this postseason.

After Houston was able to cover the spread on Friday versus Oakland by putting up crooked numbers in a hurry, the overall balance of this roster and the multitude of ways they can win leaves teams shaking in their boots. To begin, the Astros possess a top-five slugging percentage in major league baseball with a .423 mark. This team’s slugging prowess was on full display yesterday when outfielder Kyle Tucker clubbed a moonshot for a grand slam in the fifth inning that put the A’s away for good.

Pitching-wise, there have been few teams as dominant as the Astros. Ranking out as the top team in the majors when it comes to quality starts and batting average against, Houston’s ability to make bats whiff is impressive to say the least. Not to mention, but they also possess the second-lowest ERA in baseball at 3.05 and also have held an extremely efficient 1.10 WHIP for the majority of the year. As talented as Lance McCullers has been throughout his career, there will be no doubt some rust on the arm of the 28-year-old. Regardless, the chances of the Astros covering in this one are high thanks to a 6-3 lifetime record against the A’s to go along with a 3.55 ERA in 12 career appearances.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick

At first glance, this divisional battle has a chance to get ugly in a hurry. With the A’s currently in the thick of a lengthy losing streak and the Astros fresh off of wins in three of their last four, it is hard to picture any scenario where the A’s cover as underdogs. H-Town remains victorious and nabs yet another series win at home.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick: Astros -1.5 (-146)

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