Get on your feet AL West fans! The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros go head-to-head out on the diamond for what should be an entertaining showdown! Join us for our MLB odds series, where our Athletics-Astros prediction and pick will be revealed.

Even though the Athletics are well out of the playoff picture at 52-91, Oakland came away with a gritty road win against the Rangers 8-7 on Wednesday despite only winning for the second time in eight games. Regardless, the A’s will attempt to put their best foot forward with RHP James Kaprielian expected to get the start, as he is 3-9 with a 4.79 ERA on the season.

After completing a three-game sweep of the Tigers, the team with the best overall record in the American League is officially rolling as they have six of their previous seven matchups to improve to 93-50 overall. Without a doubt, the Astros have what it takes to bring home another World Championship. On the mound for game one of this series for Houston will be Lance McCullers Jr, who is expected to make his sixth start of the season since coming off of the injured list. Since then, McCullers is a productive 3-1 record to go along with a 2.20 ERA.

Here are the Athletics-Astros MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.

MLB Odds: Athletics-Astros Odds

Oakland Athletics: +1.5 (+122)

Houston Astros: -1.5 (-146)

Over: 8 (-110)

Under: 8 (-110)

Why The Athletics Could Cover The Spread

On paper, it becomes quite clear that the Athletics are quite inferior to the Astros this season. In fact, Houston has managed to win 41 more games than Oakland up to this point and also trails by that same number in the AL West division. Also, the A’s trail the season series to the Astros 6-9 through 15 games. Nevertheless, the Athletics still have what it takes to cover the spread at Minute Maid Park on Thursday.

For starters, the A’s have a tremendous opportunity to build upon their success from yesterday in which Oakland abused Texas pitching for eight runs on ten hits. Not to mention, but Oakland most likely could’ve done more damage as they still left eight men on base and were 2-8 with runners in scoring position.

Even when the offense isn’t perfect, they showed yesterday that they can get hot with the sticks when need be. On the season, the Athletics rank out as one of the worst hitting squads in the entire league as they sit second-to-last in total runs scored and have the lowest batting average on the season at .217. Regardless, it is first-baseman Seth Brown that could inflict the most damage upon Houston later this evening, as he went 2-5 including a two-run homer in the win against Texas.

Pitching-wise, the A’s haven’t been much better than their offense on the year, but James Kaprielian has been hot of late, as he has come away victorious in three of his last seven starts. It will be vital for the right-handed hurler to be at his best against one of the better offenses in all of baseball.

Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread

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Is there anything that can be done to stop the freight train that is the Houston Astros? Marching closer and closer to securing the best record in the American League, Houston has given the baseball world just a big enough of a sample size of how dangerous they can be.

With a 9-3 overall record in September thus far, the Astros will use this game against the Athletics to not only try to earn a spread-covering victory but to fine-tune their game as they prepare for postseason play. Without a doubt, the Astros certainly looked like their absolute best in their dismantling of the Detroit Tigers over the course of the past several days, as Houston mashed their way offensively for 25 runs and also only surrendered four runs in 36 innings played. It was a subtle reminder that this ferocious crew is going to be tough to beat when they are clicking on all cylinders.

While one of the top offensive units in the game will play a large role in this one, the biggest difference maker in this Thursday night contest will fall upon the shoulders of Lance McCullers Jr, who has had great success over the years when squaring off with the Athletics. In 13 career starts, McCullers is 7-3 with a 3.25 ERA altogether. Simply put, if McCullers can get in a rhythm early, it will be difficult for the lesser bats of the A’s to compete for all nine innings of this one.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick

As much as Oakland wants to carry their positive energy over from yesterday’s win, they are facing off with a different kind of beast this evening. It is hard to imagine the Astros winning ways to slow down any time soon. Side with Houston securing the multiple-run victory in front of their home fans on Thursday.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick: Astros -1.5 (-146)