Scott Kazmir & the Athletics are favored by MLB odds makers for tonight's home game against the Houston Astros. SBR handicappers share predictions for total runs & money line picks.
The Athletics are firm -120 favorites on the MLB odds board right now, though some books have a line of -115 available if you do some digging.
As it stands, the Astros are quoted at in the +110 to +115 range to get the victory, while the O/U is at an even seven runs.
Oakland Athletics (Kazmir)
It's been a middling start for the Athletics, who can be found with a 8-9 record right now. There has been zero inconsistency to Oakland's play, as they've alternated losses and wins over their last seven games, unable to get anything going for an extended period of time. The Athletics just took two games out of four against the Angels and now return home, where they've gone 3-4 in the early stages of the season.
Yesterday Oakland was held off the scoreboard completely in a 2-0 loss against Los Angeles - they weren't able to generate any kind of offense against Nick Tropeano, who went six scoreless innings and struck out five Athletics on the way. The annoying part? Oakland actually had eight hits as opposed to the Angels' one (Jesse Chavez pitched a gem too), yet still walked away with the loss.
Left hander Scott Kazmir will take the bump for tonight's series opener against Houston, and he's looked great early on. He's allowed two or fewer earned runs in all three of his assignments so far (1.33 ERA) and has an excellent 23:6 K:BB ratio through 20 and 1/3 innings of work. The southpaw came up against these Astros in his second start of the season and held them to three hits and one run while striking out six over six innings. Can he replicate that tonight, this time at home?
Houston Astros (Keuchel)
Here's why the odds are where they are: not only is Dallas Keuchel on the mound, the Astros have been playing some very good baseball recently. They've won four of their last five games and just got done taking two out of three against both the Mariners and the Angels on the road. That's no easy feat.
It's clear this is a Houston team that's on the rise and one that we can't simply fade on most occasions. They've been a lot more competitive, and Keuchel's performances have been a big reason why. He's 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA and 1.00 WHIP through his first three starts of the season, all of which his team ended up on the winning side. The Astros play confident baseball when they have Keuchel on the bump, but it'll be interesting to see if he has what it takes to shut down a pesky Oakland ballclub tonight.
For those wondering, Keuchel went 8-4 with a 3.04 ERA in 16 road starts last season, but more importantly he had a lot of success against Oakland in general, posting a 2.48 ERA in four meetings.
This seems like a short number here, so we'll accept and put our faith in the Athletics to get back to .500 on the season with a series opening win.
Kazmir has done everything asked of him so far and has looked the part of an ace, and while Keuchel has been equally as good, we think Oakland will be able to string more positive at-bats together at home in this one.
So as we approach tonight and get ready to finalize our MLB picks, we are thinking the Athletics on the moneyline is the way to go. Kazmir has been a stud and will be hoping to make another impressive showing on the mound tonight - we're backing him to do just that. We also have a lean on the UNDER in what we fully expect will be a pitchers duel.
MLB Pick: Oakland Athletics -115 (and lean UNDER 7) at BetOnline