MLB FREE PICK | Athletics @ Astros

The Houston Astros are simply on fire. They have won their last five straight, seven of their last 10, and 14 of their last 19. In their last nine home games, the Astros are 8-1. Monday night, Houston will face AL West Division foe Oakland, a team the Astros have beaten in seven of eight meetings this season. Hmmmm. Wonder how this one plays out? Maybe not play out exactly as you might think.

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Game: Oakland Athletics (57-43, 56-44 ATS) at Houston Astros (64-37, 50-51 ATS)

When: 8:10 PM ET, Monday July 23rd, 2019

Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas

Current Line: HOU -231 OAK +211         Total: 9

Probable Pitchers: Homer Bailey (8-6, 4.69 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (10-5, 3.12 ERA)

 

Yes, the Astros are a great bet to win the World Series. They are currently tied with the New York Yankees for the most wins in the American League. Oakland, a playoff participant a year ago, is on track to repeat as the A’s hold on to second place in the AL West.

What’s more intriguing than the whole Houston-World-Series-Oakland-playoff thing is Monday night’s pitching matchup. It provides the story for our Monday wagering.

Houston right-hander Gerrit Cole hasn’t lost a decision since May 22 and is 10-5 for the season. Cole has faced Oakland once back on June 2. He gave up two earned runs and the Astros won 6-4.

As we dig deeper into Cole’s performance this season, we see that his ERA in June was a measly 1.89. Currently for July, Cole’s ERA stands at a very respectable 2.25.

Let’s take it a step further. Since that May 22 loss – to the Chicago White Sox, if you’re wondering – Cole has given up more than two earned runs in a single game just once. That was on July 12 to the Texas Rangers. Cole has had a difficult time with the Rangers this year, but that’s another story. Minus the Rangers start, Cole has given up four earned runs in 33 innings.

On the other side, it will be right-hander Homer Bailey for Oakland. Bailey was recently acquired from Kansas City and just completed his first start, a win, for the A’s on July 17. He pitched six innings, gave up seven hits, and just two earned runs in a 10-2 Oakland win.

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Like Cole, Bailey has been pretty successful as of late. He has not lost a decision since June 1. Since a June 13 start against Detroit, Bailey has only surrendered more than two earned runs in a single game once.

While Houston surely has Oakland’s number and the Astros are super-hot, the pitching duel on Monday is where the value is at when wagering on baseball. Two guys that haven’t given up many runs over most of the past two months spells one thing – Under.

Add in this fun factoid and it’s an easy decision. In the last ten meetings between Oakland and Houston, the Astros are averaging 5.0 runs per game. Oakland is averaging 2.8. That total equals 7.8, which is less than Monday’s Total of 9. Bet the Under.

MLB Free Pick: Oakland at Houston Under 9

Pick by Rick

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