Astros vs. Athletics Odds & Pick (Sunday, August 9): Target Houston in the First 5

Credit:

Norm Hall/Getty Images. Pictured: Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa

  • Check out our betting preview for Sunday afternoon's matchup between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics.
  • Oakland continues to tighten its grip on the AL West, but BJ Cunningham believes there's still value in Houston's odds.
  • Read on to find out why he's picking the Astros to cover the first-five moneyline on Sunday afternoon.

Astros vs. Athletics Betting Odds

Astros Odds +130 [Bet Now]
Athletics Odds -152 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8.5 (-103/-120) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:10 p.m. ET 

After taking the first two games of this series, the A’s now have a strangle hold on the AL West, leading the Astros by 4.5 games. They’ll send their young stud prospect Jesus Luzardo to the mound in hopes he can help extend their lead to 5.5 games. The Astros are reeling right now, losing their last four games on the road. With the injuries in their pitching staff starting to mount, it’s tough to see how they will be able to keep pace with the A’s.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.


Astros

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

The Astros have gotten off to a pretty good start with a .327 wOBA and 117 wRC+. Carlos Correa and Michael Brantley have led the way with wOBAs over .500 and wRC+s over 200. It’s clear offense hasn’t been the issue during the Astros’ slow start, so they’ll need to keep their output up to keep pace with the A’s in the AL West.

The Astros were the best team in baseball against left-handed pitching in 2019 with a .363 wOBA and 130 wRC+. Luzardo will have his hands full on Sunday trying to navigate this lineup.

Astros Projected Starter

Cristian Javier, RHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Cristian Javier is the No. 6 prospect in the Astros organization and under normal circumstances, I don’t think he would be in their rotation. He was the Astros’ minor league pitcher of the year last year and made the Opening Day roster because of all of their injury issues.

Javier has a four-pitch arsenal — fastball, curveball, changeup and slider. His fastball has pretty good velocity, sitting at around 95 mph, but it’s straight as an arrow. It’s the pitch he uses the most and he’ll have to be effective with it against a loaded A’s lineup. His curveball has some sick movement and if he can show a little more consistent control, it’s the pitch that could keep him in the big leagues.

Javier hasn’t used his changeup and slider that often yet so it’s still too early to tell on those pitches.

Athletics

Projected Lineup (via Fantasy Labs)

Despite their significant lead in the AL West, the A’s haven’t been stellar offensively. The rank 20th in MLB with a .302 wOBA and 100 wRC+ through their first 15 games. They’ve surprisingly struggled against fastballs with -1.6 weighted fastball runs in their first 15 games, which just so happens to be Javier’s main pitch.

Athletics Projected Starter

Jesus Luzardo, LHP

Projected Stats (ZIPS) (via Fangraphs)

Luzardo is Oakland’s top prospect and has some electric stuff. He brings 97 mph cheese from the left side, followed up by a sick curveball and a decent changeup.

His stats in the big leagues so far are pretty stellar, allowing only a .158 average and striking out 28 batters in only 23.2 innings. He’s started one game and came out of the bullpen twice so far this season.

Luzardo has been a little all over the place in all of his appearances, allowing three earned on eight hits and five walks in 11.2 innings of work. The Astros will be significant challenge for the young lefty, considering they were the best lineup against lefties last season.

Bullpens

After a fantastic start by Frankie Montas on Saturday, the A’s bullpen should be fresh for Sunday’s game. The Astros bullpen is in disarray right now, with injuries starting to mount. The A’s have a huge advantage in the bullpen department on Sunday.

Astros vs. A’s Pick 

Luzardo is clearly a better pitcher than Javier, but the Astros lineup is no joke. I don’t want anything to do with the Astros bullpen at this point, so I am going to back Houston’s first five inning moneyline at +160. I would bet this down to +150.

Pick: Astros First Five Innings +160

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