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Astros vs. Giants Odds, Preview, Prediction: Best Bet for Greinke vs. Wood at Oracle Park (Saturday, July 31)

Astros vs. Giants Odds, Preview, Prediction: Best Bet for Greinke vs. Wood at Oracle Park (Saturday, July 31) article feature image

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Alex Wood

Astros vs. Giants Odds

Astros Odds+100
Giants Odds-120
Time4:05 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.

It's been a whirlwind week in Major League Baseball, with plenty of activity leading up to the trade deadline. The two teams with the best record in each league, the Astros and Giants, were also busy acquiring talent. Houston focused on improving their bullpen by adding Phil Maton, Yimi García, and Kendall Graveman.

García and Graveman should slot in nicely at the back-end of Houston's staff, given that they have a combined 15 saves this season.

Meanwhile, the Giants landed a big bat by acquiring former MVP, four-time All-Star, and World Series champion Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs. In 93 games, Bryant has a .267/.358/.503 line with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs.

While San Francisco would certainly like to have Bryant join the lineup for this series against Houston, it's not exactly clear if he'll be ready to go on Saturday when the Giants faces Zack Greinke. Opposing Greinke for San Francisco will be the left-hander, Alex Wood.

This is a mouthwatering matchup featuring two teams that both have 64 wins on the season. However, my modeling shows a slight edge on one of them, which might be enough for us to nail down a winner in this contest.

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Houston Astros

Greinke comes into this game at 10-3 with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Despite losing some velocity at this stage in his career, he's managed to reinvent himself and still be an effective pitcher. The right-hander has settled in much better as an Astro this year after starting the season with them. There were times when he didn't look comfortable last year following his trade from the Diamondbacks. He's done well this year and has even learned to pitch in a ballpark where the dimensions aren't necessarily in his favor.

I certainly wouldn't characterize Greinke as a ground-ball pitcher, as evidenced by his 1.26 GB/FB ratio. According to Baseball Savant, he does throw a sinker, but only 6.8% of the time. In fact, opposing hitters have their highest batting average (.391) and xWOBA (.388) against this pitch.

Ironically, his best pitch is actually a changeup which is really only about 2.5 miles slower than his four-seam fastball (88.9 mph). It's a pitch with almost 700 fewer RPMs than his other pitches, and it generates his highest whiff-rate at 29.5%.

Greinke is a pitcher with superb command and control. He's known for not giving into hitters and hasn't allowed more than two walks per nine innings in his last five seasons. He's always going to make his pitch, and his ability to add and subtract velocity on any of the five pitches in his arsenal is what makes him effective.

Hitters are rarely comfortable in the box against him, and this season, his barrel rate has dropped to 6.5% vs. 8.2% last year.

Earlier, I mentioned that the dimensions at Minute Maid Park might not benefit him all that much. His home/away splits would certainly support that as opposing hitters have a .280 AVG and .340 wOBA when he's home vs. a .200 AVG and .238 wOBA on the road. His 2.25 ERA on the road is also more than two runs lower at home (4.59 ERA).

Those numbers should be advantageous for him on Saturday at the more spacious Oracle Park.

mlb best bets-odds-pick-prediction-preview-july 10-2021
Bob Levey/Getty Images. Pictured: Zack Greinke.

San Francisco Giants

The Giants weren't overly active in the offseason, but they did manage to push all the right buttons. With a 29-31 record, they lost a tiebreaker with the Brewers for the final Wild Card berth. They actually controlled their own destiny going into the final weekend, and given that collapse, I'm not sure there were too many positives to carry into this season.

In fact, you could make the argument that a team like the Giants would get exposed during a lengthier season. That hasn't exactly been the case this year as the Giants essentially transformed into a top-five slugging team (.432 SLG) with the return of their seven-time All-Star catcher, Buster Posey.

Posey opted out last year due to the pandemic and the year off seemingly did him some good as he's looked much fresher and rejuvenated at the plate. The Giants also improved their pitching by signing Wood to a one-year $3 million bargain. In his ninth season, Wood has battled to prove that he's a starting pitcher and not a reliever in the majors. The Giants needed some depth in their rotation, so they were fully committed to using him as a starter.

That decision has paid off for both sides as Wood has put together a 9-3 campaign with a 3.65 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP. He's certainly benefited from pitching at Oracle Park, where opponents have a .205 AVG and a .272 wOBA vs. .264 AVG and .339 wOBA on the road. Although his numbers at home are impressive, he'll face quite a challenge against an Astros team that not only swings the bat well on the road but they also fancy taking their hacks against left-handed pitchers.

Houston has a .277/.346/.453 line on the road vs. .258/.339/.427 at home. And against lefties, they have a .279/.346/.435 line vs. .261/.340/.443 vs. right-handers.

This will be a step up in class for Wood, and I've got some numbers that'll show that he's struggled to get the job done in this spot this year.

Astros-Giants Pick

I expect the Astros to get decent performance with Greinke away from home, and I expect their lineup to get to Wood.

Here are some things to keep in mind for this game:

  • Greinke's teams are 17-4 (+9.65 units) against the Giants.
  • As a visitor, Greinke's teams are also 7-1 for 5.81 units against the Giants.

Lastly, the Giants are only 2-5 (-3.42 units) when Wood faces a team with an OPS that's .700 or higher.

One of those wins was earlier in the season against a Rangers team that has plummeted to have the worst OPS in the league at .667.

As a result, I like the Astros to come out on top and extend their winning streak to four games on Saturday.

Pick: Astros ML (+100)

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