Athletics to Win on the Run Line over Astros

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 2:10 PM GMT

This series has all the makings of another Oakland sweep, like earlier this season. Sportsbooks will price these games accordingly and the A’s will be a costly favorite against Houston.

While this series give the appearance of a complete mismatch, there are points to ponder against the MLB odds.

 

Is Houston at Least Worth a Look Tonight?
As we know, there are no guarantees in sports betting. While Houston is 41-58, they are only down -3.2 units on the season. The reason is how the Astros have performed as good-sized to very large underdogs. Of Houston’s 41 victories, exactly 20 have come when they have been priced at +130 or higher.

While this can sound tempting to consider the ‘Stros, oddsmakers put out an opening line of -230 on Oakland and Houston is just 1-6 at +200 or higher in 2014. However, there is a variable to ponder, as the visitor off their 11-7 win Sunday at the White Sox, is 9-2 after tallying eight or more runs.

 

Is Oakland a Safer Play on the Run Line?
The Athletics have been the most dominating team in the majors, with a +150 run differential, which is still larger if you combine the numbers of the teams ranked second and third in their league (+147).

Though Oakland is facing increasingly larger odds as the season has progressed, they are 59-24 as favorites, for +25.1 units, making them a choice seemingly at any price for sports picks.

However, unless you are backing the A’s daily, a loss like with tonight’s money line can be particularly painful and costly. With Oakland 29-9 in contests determined by four or more runs, the run line might be a more suitable option.

With the Athletics severe pitching differentials (read below) and offense, they are 29-13 on the RL after three or more OVER’s and tonight’s starter Scott Kazmir is 15-4 on the RL, with the typical margin of victory 3.0 runs.

Take a Look at Tuesday's Top MLB Picks of the Day!

Pitching Matchup for Tuesday
After three horrible outings in late April into early May, Brett Oberholtzer (2-7, 4.50 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) has seen spotty work as a starter, but has four quality starts in his past five outings and will attempt to contain baseball’s second-best offense.

Oberholtzer’s fastball in mostly around 90 MPH and his breaking stuff tends to be inconsistent. The reason he’s in his second year in the bigs is an outstanding changeup. However, because his curve and slider are not often strikes, hitters have been lying off and sitting on the change, which is why opposing batters have a .299 batting average against him.

After being thrown to the scrap heap, Scott Kazmir (11-3, 0.98) was an All-Star for the first time in six years. The left-hander ranks second in the AL with a 2.38 ERA and third in opponents' average (.206). He's 5-0 with a 1.00 ERA in his last five starts in Oakland and 6-1 with a 1.57 ERA in eight starts at home overall. For those making MLB picks, Kazmir the best bet in the AL at +9.5 units, crushing the betting odds.

 

Bullpen View
Because of continued specialization, those of us analyzing the betting odds have to pay close attention to various teams bullpens. While there is a significant difference in talent between these two AL West clubs, the disparity is really found in the bullpen, which truly shows the difference in these teams.

Oakland is second in ERA (2.98) and OPS (.607) and first in OBP at .283 in the AL, shutting down the opposing team consistently. Houston relievers have manager Bo Porter and the pitching coach reaching for Tums, with the league’s worst ERA (4.91) and OPS (.765) and being 12th ranked in OBP at .337. With these kinds of figures, it comes as no surprise to MLB handicappers the Astros have blown 18 of 34 save attempts.

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Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
The A’s are 20-6 versus Houston the past three years, including 10-3 at the outdated Coliseum.

Oakland was released at -230 and faster than a Vegas show girl costume change, they were up to -260, with the total Under 7.5. Oberholtzer is 0-2, with 4.69 ERA in three last against these division rivals (Astros 0-3), while Kazmir is 2-1 lifetime in five starts vs. the Astros (3.60 ERA) and since last year the teams he pitched for are 4-0.

 

The Winner Is….
With the money line this high, it is impossible to recommend the A’s, but with Kazmir 14-2 as a home favorite of -110 or higher since last year (Team’s record) and winning by 2.8 RPG, the run line is the smarter wager.

MLB Free Picks: Oakland wins on the RL