We picked up another winner last night, our third straight win, when we took the under nine runs in the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants game. While the Giants are out of contention at this point, they have embraced the spoiler role and had taken the first two games of the series against LA. I expected last night’s game to be another lower scoring and competitive game and jumped on the under.
And the game went much as expected. Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda combined for six shutout innings, and the Dodgers bullpen finished off the shutout, as LA won 5-0. And even the five runs that LA put up were mostly because of a fielding error rather than poor pitching. Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez was charged with three earned runs on the night.
Either way, it was another easy winner, coming in several runs under the total, and September is looking like it could be very profitable as we continue to pick up momentum in the season’s final month. For the Dodgers, they look poised to make it to their third straight World Series, and the battle for their final playoff rotation spot is heating up as Maeda, Urias, and Rich Hill are all in the running for that final slot. For today’s pick, we will head to Houston where the red-hot Astros host the equally hot, Oakland Athletics.
The Oakland Athletics are in Houston Monday, looking to keep their division title dreams alive. The A’s have been winning games at a high rate, but the Astros have been even better, making it impossible for Oakland to close the gap for first place. The A’s went 17-9 in August and have won five out of their last six games here in September. They are hoping to find a way to beat the Astros in this series and cut into their lead in the AL West, currently sitting at nine and a half games.
For Houston, they have been basically unbeatable since the trade deadline, and are tied with the New York Yankees for the best record in baseball. Houston is 16-4 in their last twenty games, and they have been even better at home as they are 27-4 in their last thirty-one home games. If the Astros find a way to beat the A’s in this series, it will all but lock up the division title.
Starting for the Astros is Zack Greinke (14-5 3.09 ERA), and for the A’s it is Mike Fiers (14-3 3.51 ERA). The game total over-under is set nine and a half runs. The Astros are big -183 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Minute Maid Park in Houston.
When the Houston Astros traded for Zack Greinke at the trade deadline, it signaled that they were all-in on a World Series push this year. And despite Greinke not pitching all that well, the Astros have played really good baseball since the July 31st deadline.
Greinke’s ERA with the Astros is right around four runs, but he has also given up several unearned runs, making his actual results significantly worse. In his last three starts, he has allowed twelve runs on twenty-four hits in eighteen and a third innings. While those aren’t bad stats in a vacuum, these aren’t the type of results the Astros were hoping for when they traded for the former Cy Young Award winner. Houston has lost the last two times that Greinke has pitched after winning his first five.
Mike Fiers has been really good this year for the Athletics. The former Astro seems to win just about every time out. The last time he had a losing decision was May 1st! The A’s have won eight straight starts with Fiers on the mound and fourteen out of sixteen. He has made four starts against the Astros this year and has been hot and cold.
In two of his starts, he was beaten up badly, to the tune of eleven runs. In his other two starts against Houston, he was great. He pitched a combined fourteen and a third innings, allowing just four earned runs. It will be interesting to see if Fiers can keep his winning streak alive tonight against one of the game’s best teams.
This is a strength on strength matchup. Both teams are playing really well right now, and both starters are very good. The Astros are deservingly favored, but at nearly -200, it seems pretty steep. I get it, Houston is really good. But the A’s are the best team in baseball that nobody is talking about, and Fiers might be the most underrated pitcher in the game this year.
This is one of those games where you have to say to yourself, can the A’s win, rather than will they win. And when you look at how this team has played in the last two months; the answer is that they certainly could win tonight. And the price is certainly right as we are getting a huge premium to back Oakland.
This is going to be a bit of a higher variance play than we normally make, but if you were to play this exact matchup 100 times, I am confident we would be profitable in the long run. That being said, we only get one shot at it tonight. Let’s hope the variance breaks our way tonight in game one! Give me the Oakland Athletics as major road underdogs tonight from Houston!