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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Athletics: How to Bet Houston & Zack Greinke (Wednesday, May 19)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Astros vs. Athletics: How to Bet Houston & Zack Greinke (Wednesday, May 19) article feature image

Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Greinke.

  • Oakland hosts Houston for the second of a three-game series between AL West rivals after winning 6-5 last night.
  • The Athletics have struggled against right-handed pitchers this year, and have historically dealt poorly with Zack Greinke.
  • D.J. James explains why he likes Greinke to bounce back from a few rough outings earlier this season.

Astros vs. Athletics Odds

Astros Odds -105
Athletics Odds -105
Over/Under 8
Time 9:40 p.m. ET
Odds as of Tuesday and via PointsBet.

In a battle for the Wild Wild West, a savvy veteran competes with an unruly flamethrower. Seriously, Zack Greinke heads to the mound to take on Frankie Montas, as the Houston Astros go to Oakland for the second of a three-game set.

Both teams have looked sharp in the last week, which is the reason for their continued success in the American League West. As expected, these two will lead that division for the rest of the season to the playoffs. As of late, though, Montas has been the more consistent option of the two starters, so with a similar line for each team, who has the edge?

Astros Lineup Shells Right-Handers

Houston has won their last six games while beating up on the Angels and the Rangers, but they struggled the last time out while batting against Montas. They currently have the second-best hitting team in the league with a 118 wRC+, and much of that damages comes from facing righties, where they are also second in the league in hitting.

The Astros combine for a .426 SLG off of right-handers, so this could come into play in this matchup. The amount of lefties they can stack against Montas is a great advantage. Jason Castro, Yordan Álvarez, Kyle Tucker and Michael Brantley account for that success, and Yuli Gurriel also joins the party. Given this variable and having at least seen Montas’ arsenal once this year, this plays into the hands of the Astros, even if Castro does not catch.

As far as relievers go, Houston sits in the middle of the pack with a combined 4.01 ERA and 4.03 xFIP, which indicates that it will not improve much. Having Josh James, Pedro Báez and José Urquidy all on the sidelines hurts this staff. Their starting rotation is already plagued with injuries, so much of the burden falls on the shoulders of a league-average bullpen. This is one area which may hold the Astros back in the AL West.

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Athletics May Struggle Against Greinke

Oakland has essentially the same story. Even with a reliever 3.75 combined ERA, they sport a 4.48 xFIP, which indicates a bit of regression is in the cards in the future. Jake Diekman has been concerning lately with back-to-back blown saves. Trevor Rosenthal will be out for most of the season. J.B. Wendelken is also on the sidelines. The rest of the productive portion of outs goes to Yusmeiro Petit and Deolis Guerra. Otherwise, like the Astros, pitching outside of their starters is somewhat concerning.

Now, Oakland is an above-average hitting team. They have a 103 wRC+ with 53 bombs. That said, they struggle against righties, especially Zack Greinke. Although he has a 0.322 xwOBA in 152 combined Astro plate appearance, he strikes them out at a 24.3% clip and absolutely dealt them a tough hand in his first outing (6 innings pitched, 3 hits).

Only Mark Canha, Matt Olson, and Sean Murphy are consistent pieces in the lineup batting at an above-average mark against righties this season. Since Greinke does not walk many hitters and allows only an average exit velocity of 86.6 MPH, look for him to have a relatively successful outing, compared to his last few starts in May.

Astros-Athletics Pick

One of these starters (Montas) allows plenty of hard contact, while their opponent does not (Greinke). Given the degree of success Greinke can have against a weak righty-hitting lineup like the Athletics, the Astros are the correct side here.

Play them to -125. Expect Greinke to straighten out from a few rough outings (by his standard), which should negate any issues the Astros have in the bullpen. If Montas yields some hard-hit balls early, especially from a lefty-heavy Astros lineup, he could be in for a long day. If that is the case, the Astros should be able to handle a currently weak A’s bullpen.

Pick: Astros -105 (play to -125)

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