A pair of AL West rivals will go head-to-head out on the diamond as the Oakland Athletics make the trip to the Lone Star State to do battle with the Houston Astros. Join us for our MLB odds series, where our Athletics-Astros prediction and pick will be revealed.

Even though the A’s sit in the basement of the division with a 52-93 record and are well on their way to a 100-loss season, Oakland will turn to lefty Cole Irvin, who is 8-11 with a 3.73 ERA thus far.

As for Houston, the Astros have won the first two matchups of this series and they also lead the season series versus Oakland 11-6. Five wins away from 100 on the season and in the midst of a six-game winning streak, the ‘Stros will send out RHP Jose Urquidy in an attempt to keep things rolling. On the season, Urquidy is 13-6 with a 3.75 ERA.

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

MLB Odds: Athletics-Astros Odds

Oakland Athletics: +1.5 (+112)

Houston Astros: -1.5 (-134)

Over: 8 (-104)

Under: 8 (-118)

Why The Athletics Could Cover The Spread

Yes, the A’s might be currently booking the next couple of months with tee times galore, but even a team like Oakland is due for some good luck every once in a while. Clearly, it has been a struggle for the Athletics of late as they have gone down in defeat in 12 of their last 15 games. Does Oakland have any sliver of fight left in them to cover the spread this evening?

In yesterday’s 5-0 shutout loss to the Astros, Oakland’s bats were as silent as a mouse in the middle of the night. When the dust was settled, Oakland finished with only three hits and left six men on base throughout the contest. Simply put, this cannot be the case again if Oakland wants any shot if covering the +1.5 run spread. While statistically the A’s are the worst hitting crew in all of baseball, they will need their best hitters in first-baseman Seth Brown and catcher Sean Murphy to compile some clutch hits down the stretch to keep this one close. The last thing that Oakland wants to happen is to get blown out, especially in the early going of this one.

Switching gears to the pitching mound, does the southpaw in Cole Irvin have what it takes to keep Houston off-balanced and on their toes? While his last six starts have been ugly with a 2-2 record along with a 6.50 ERA, he was nearly un-hittable in his seven outings before that after going 4-3 with a spectacular 1.88 earned-run average. Without a doubt, the A’s will need the previous version of Cole Irvin to give this horrendous offense opportunity to keep this one close.

Why The Astros Could Cover The Spread

Well on their way to clinching home-field advantage in the American League postseason, the Astros look like a team that could go on to win all of the marbles. With that being said, this looked to be the case on Friday as the ageless wonder himself Justin Verlander sliced and diced his way to nine strikeouts in only five innings pitched. After an incredible team effort yesterday, Houston will be primed to extend their winning streak to seven games to kick off their weekend.

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Conversely, the Astros have all of the momentum and confidence ahead of this divisional matchup to get the job done and take care of business. At first glance, Houston could cover the spread for multiple reasons. For starters, pitcher Jose Urquidy will attempt to do his best Verlander impression by keeping Oakland hitters guessing. In his two outings versus the A’s this season, Urquidy is 1-1 with a 3.77 ERA and has always pitched well against Oakland throughout his career.

Offensively, the Astros boast one of the more dangerous lineups in the league and will be squaring off with an A’s pitching staff that possesses top-ten rankings statistically in almost every offensive category known to man. While Oakland’s best part of their team comes from the arms within that clubhouse, Houston has proved to be a different beast this season which presents numerous challenges for the Athletics. Obviously, getting off to a quick start and not letting off the gas whatsoever will be priority number one for the best squad in the American League.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick

Simply put, this contest won’t be close. With Oakland having nothing to play for other than pride for the remainder of the regular season and Houston arguably playing their best ball of the campaign, expect nothing different to occur on this Saturday.

Final Athletics-Astros Prediction & Pick: Astros -1.5 (-134)