Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros, AL Divisional Series: Tips, Odds & Predictions

Athletics vs Astros AL Divisional Series
Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros, MLB, AL Divisional Series

The Oakland Athletics won the AL West this season going away and won seven of their 10 games this season with the Houston Astros. However, the Astros are a veteran, playoff-savvy team that has played in two of the last three World Series and advanced to the ALCS in 2018. This is Oakland’s first appearance in the ALDS since 2013, having lost the wild-card game three times in the previous seven years.

Tips & Predictions

Oakland charged to its first division title in seven years largely due to a pitching staff that finished fifth in the MLB with a 3.77 ERA this season. The Athletics had a below-average offense in terms of run production, but they also ranked 25th out of 30 teams with a .225 batting average this year. No one on the team had a batting average above .246 and Oakland’s worst starter from an average perspective was Matt Olson, who slugged a team-best 14 homers and drove in a team-high 42 runs despite an average below .200. The Athletics rely on their strong bullpen to uphold leads, but when Oakland isn’t able to take an early lead, it can struggle to comeback, which is how it lost Game 1 to the White Sox in the wild-card round.

Houston’s previous playoff runs have been fueled by some dominant pitching from the top of its rotation. However, two of their top three arms from last season’s team will be unavailable in this series as Gerrit Cole was signed by the Yankees this offseason and Justin Verlander underwent Tommy John surgery on Wednesday after missing most of the season with a forearm injury. The Astros were around the league average in ERA, runs allowed and runs scored this season, but were below average in batting average. Houston only had one batter – designated hitter Michael Brantley – who batted above .270 this season, with the bright spot being George Springer’s 14 homers and .540 slugging percentage that both ranked in the top 10 in the American League.

The Athletics are the slight favorites to win the series on the MLB postseason betting markets largely because of Houston’s experience in the playoffs. The Astros weren’t overly impressive in sweeping the Twins, but they showed the steel nerves that are required when playing postseason baseball. I expect this series will go the distance, which you can bet on at the New Jersey online sports betting sites for +155 odds. Ultimately, I think the Astros’ experience will come through and Oakland won’t be able to get the bats going enough to overcome Houston. So I’ll bet on the Astros to win on the moneyline at +116 odds and add to that, Houston winning the series 3-2 for +400 odds for my MLB playoff predictions.

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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