Handicappers Predicts Athletics Victory Over Astros

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 2:28 PM GMT

Last night, the Oakland Athletics (65-40) big Texas run finally came to an end with a loss to the Houston Astros (43-63). Tonight, the best team in the majors are a huge -192 betting favorite with Jeff Samardzija starting. Is this as easy a betting pick as it seems?

First pitch is set for 8:10 pm ET, tonight at Minute Maid Ball Park in Houston, Texas. This game can be seen on MLB TV.

As mentioned, sportsbooks list the Oakland Athletics as a massive -192 betting favorite and this is due to their new acquisition ,Jeff Samardzija, (2-1, 2.70) starting and the fact that the Astros are consistent losing baseball team.

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Jeff Samardzija
The first time that I saw this lanky flame thrower was in college. He played football for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and Brady Quinn was the quarterback. Samardzija  was a sure 1st or 2nd round pick in the NFL Draft, but surprisingly to me, he chose baseball.

After watching Samardzija pitch with the Chicago Cubs, I realized why he chose baseball, but the only problem was that he was on a team that would make him a loser by giving him absolutely no run support. Time and time again, I would see Samardzija lose 1-0 because the Cubbies couldn’t squeeze out a run.

Now, Samardzija gets the gift of a lifetime by being traded to the best team in baseball in the Oakland Athletics. Thus far, he hasn’t let the A’s down, with 30 inning pitched in 4 starts for Oakland and allowing just 9 runs. The strikeout totals haven’t really been there, but Samardzija will trade them in for “W’s”. Tonight, he has a really good chance for a “W” as he faces a Houston Astros team that’s young and doesn’t know how to win consistently.

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Scott Feldman
A lot of people might take a risk and take the Astros as a huge underdog as the “Stros” are coming off of a victory and sending a very capable pitcher in Scott Feldman (4-8, 4.60) to the mound. Feldman is one of those pitchers with subpar numbers but has the ability to look like Clayton Kershaw on any given night. That said, he’s coming off of a lousy performance in which he allowed 6 runs and 9 hits in 5 1/3 innings to these very same Oakland Athletics in a loss. I’m expecting Feldman to pitch much better, but I simply don’t think that he can match Samardzija or the Oakland offense.

Feldman has hot-hitting Jose Altuve on his side and that’s a great asset as Altuve leads the league in hitting and has swiped over 40 bags. That said, Altuve isn’t a home run hitter that can change the complexion of a game with one swing of the bat.

 

A Vote for Vogt!
Oakland is supported by the power of Josh Donaldson (22 HR, 73 RBI), Brandon Moss (23 HR , 71 RBI), and home run derby king, Yoenis Cespedes, but one player that’s made an immediate impact is right-fielder Stephen Vogt.

In just 147 at-bats, Vogt is hitting .361 with 5 HR and 23 RBI. Vogt has been very hot as of late. He hit a home run yesterday night and in the month of July, is hitting .375. Vogt is also a good hitter on the road. He’s the perfect complimentary hitter to go along with Oakland’s free-swingers. Scott Feldman could have his hands full tonight.

 

Outcome
The odds are steep, but you have to love Samardzija and Oakland tonight. The Athletics have dominated baseball and are playing a bottom-feeder in Houston. Oakland is your pick in this matchup.

MLB Pick: Oakland -192 at 5 Dimes