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Monday MLB Playoff Odds, Picks & Predictions: Houston Astros vs. Oakland A’s Game 1 (Oct. 5)

Monday MLB Playoff Odds, Picks & Predictions: Houston Astros vs. Oakland A’s Game 1 (Oct. 5) article feature image

Tim Warner/Getty Images. Pictured: Lance McCullers Jr. #43 of the Houston Astros.

  • The Houston Astros take on the Oakland A's in Game 1 of their ALDS series on Monday.
  • With Lance McCullers on the mound for Houston, BJ Cunningham thinks there's value on the Astros' F5 moneyline.
  • Check out Cunningham's full betting preview with updated odds below.

Astros vs. A’s Game 1 Odds

Astros Odds +118 [Bet Now]
A’s Odds -137 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 8.5 (-106/-115) [Bet Now]
First Pitch 4:07 p.m. ET

Odds as of Monday afternoon and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

The bad blood between the Houston Astros and the Oakland A’s gets renewed in the ALDS on Monday.

The brawl that took place in the Astros-Athletics game.

— ESPN (@espn) August 9, 2020

Both teams had different experiences in the Wild Card round. The Astros swept the Twins behind a couple late inning rallies, while the A’s needed to win two straight over the White Sox after dropping the first game.

These two met 10 times during the regular season, with the A’s winning seven of the matchups. However, the Astros seemingly has found some confidence after beating the Twins, so I think this series will be a little closer the odds suggest.

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.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning.

Offensive Matchup

Houston Astros

Houston has struggled offensively coming into the postseason, accumulating a .311 wOBA and 100 wRC+. Those struggles were apparent in their series against the Twins, as the Astros hit for a measly .185.

Houston has also been below average against right-handed pitching, ranking 19th in MLB in wOBA against righties. However, I think they should be able to get to Chris Bassitt in Game 2.

Oakland A’s

Despite their fantastic record, the A’s entered the postseason below average offensively. They finished the regular season with the 16th-best wOBA (.314) and 15th-best wRC+(101) in MLB. Against the White Sox, their struggles continued as they hit for .194 over the three game series.

Oakland really misses its star third baseman Matt Chapman in the batting order, and it has not been able to replace his previous production. Much like the Astros, the A’s have been below average against righties, ranking 18th in wOBA.

Starting Pitching Matchup

Lance McCullers vs. Chris Bassitt

2020 Stats (via Fangraphs)

Lance McCullers, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

McCullers has found his form after a rough start to the season. He missed all of 2019 due to Tommy John surgery, and it took him a while to find his command again. He’s lowered his xFIP all the way down to 3.35 and hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 17.2 innings.

His sinker/curveball combination has been on point this year allowing a .229 average to opponents this year. Since McCullers’ main three pitches all are moving down in the zone, his ground ball rate is usually a good indicator of his effectiveness.

So far this season, he has 59.7%, which is well above his career average. With A’s lineup struggling at the moment, I think McCullers has a fantastic opportunity keep his stellar pitching going in the playoffs.

Chris Bassitt, RHP

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Bassitt has been a bit fortunate to this point in the season. He has a 2.29 ERA, but his xFIP is up at 4.49. He mainly uses a sinker-cutter combination, but both pitches haven’t been very effective this season (above a .320 wOBA against).

Bassitt hurled seven innings of one run ball in Game 2 against the White Sox, but he was a bit fortunate as his xFIP for the game was 3.24. Bassitt hasn’t had an xFIP below 4.50 in his career, so I think he’s due for some negative regression in the near future.

Bullpen Matchup

After starting out the season as one of the worst in baseball, the Astros bullpen has steadily improved over the second half of the season. However, their bullpen finished with the 14th best xFIP in baseball (4.43) and likely wont provide them with an advantage in this series.

The A’s led MLB in bullpen ERA during the regular season at 2.72; however, they were really fortunate because their xFIP is over a run and a half higher at 4.27. However, they will have the advantage over the Astros in the later innings during this series.

Weather Report

This game is going to be played in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium, which is typically a pitchers park. However, its going be a hot one in southern California, so hitters should have a slight weather advantage.

Projections and Pick

I think McCullers should be favored in this game, given how good he’s been during the second half of the season.

However, I don’t want to mess with the bullpen mismatch in this series. Therefore, I am going to back McCullers and the Astros for the first five innings at +115 and would play it up to -103.

Pick: Astros First Five Innings +114

[Bet the Astros at DraftKings and get a $1,000 bonus, including a $500 risk-free bet]

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