MLB Odds & Picks for Athletics vs. Astros: Wait for the Right Number to Bet Oakland (Saturday, April 10)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Frankie Montas of the Athletics.
Athletics vs. Astros Odds
|Time||4:05 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday evening and via PointsBet.|
On Saturday afternoon the Houston Astros host the Oakland Athletics. Houston currently is in first place in the AL West while Oakland is in last place. Before the season, the Astros were favored to win the division while the A’s were projected to finish in second place.
Even though Oakland’s 1-7 start appears surprising, in a 162-game season anything can happen. I am not a believer in streaks or momentum as many baseball bettors are. If the Athletics continue to field the same strong lineup and have competitive pitching, they should win a little bit more than half of the time this year.
The Astros should win, but there is great value on the A’s. While I do not like Oakland’s current moneyline of +143, I will bet it if it falls to +150 or better.
The Oakland A’s don’t have a clear weakness, nor do they have a clear strength. Oakland is a well-rounded team that is above average.
For the Athletics lineup, on a typical game they should produce 6.5% more runs than the typical MLB lineup according to my model. One reason why the A’s lineup is so strong is because of 1B Matt Olson, 3B Matt Chapman, OF Ramón Laureano and OF Mark Canha are above average offensively. My model projects all four to individually produce 12 to 28 percent more runs than the average player.
Currently Oakland is last in the league in runs scored per game, as they have only scored 2.38 runs per game so far this season. However, based on the strength of their team I believe that they will revert to the mean and score about 4.25 runs per game as the season progresses.
Another reason why the Athletics are a good bet is because of their starting pitcher Frankie Montas. Like most of their starting pitchers, Montas is unassuming and relatively average. However, Montas can pitch for almost six innings per start which keeps the bullpen well rested. Combined with Oakland’s strong bullpen, I believe that Houston will not have an easy time scoring runs on Saturday.
The biggest reason why the Astros are heavily favored on Saturday is because they have a strong lineup. Houston’s offense underperformed during the 2020 regular season as they averaged “only” 4.67 runs per game which was close to the league average. This season Houston is averaging 7.29 runs per game which is the second best in the league.
While the Astros lineup underperformed last season, they are overperforming during this season. I project them to be somewhere in the middle as my model believes that the Astros’ likely lineup for Saturday would produce 14.2% more runs per game than the typical MLB lineup over the course of a full season. The Houston lineup certainly merits making them favorites, but they should not be favored as heavily as they are.
While the hitting for the Astros is a strength, their pitching will be a liability on Saturday. The starting pitcher for the Astros Jose Urquidy performed much worse in limited action last season than his record projects. In 2020, Urquidy had a 2.73 ERA in 29 2/3 innings. However, Urquidy also had a 5.36 xFIP suggesting that his low ERA was due to strong fielding and stadium effects, rather than skill. This year I project Urquidy to have an ERA near five, and that is the best reason to fade the Astros on Saturday.
Houston should win as they are the better team, but Oakland at least will make it interesting. I am not concerned about Oakland’s losing stretch, as I am not a believer in past history predicting future history.
The Athletics are fundamentally a strong team, and they have a fighting chance to win. They have a decent lineup, and Houston’s pitching is vulnerable.
Currently Oakland is close to a price that I would bet on, but they are not quite there yet. If Oakland becomes a +150 or better underdog, I will bet on them to win outright.
Pick: No Pick until Oakland Moneyline is +150 or better.