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Oakland Athletics vs. Houston Astros Gambling Preview & Free MLB Picks

MLB Lines – A’s vs Astros

Oakland brings its run-scoring juggernaut to east Texas to face the Houston Astros, who despite having the league’s best diminutive hitter are still sucking the hind teat of the American League West division.

Date/Time: Monday, July 28 2014, 8:10 pm EST
Venue: Minute Maid Park, Houston TX
Oakland -1.5, Houston +1.5
MoneyLine: Oakland -210, Houston +175
Over/Under: 8.5
Pitching Match-up: Jesse Chavez (8-6, 3.14 ERA) vs. Brett Oberholtzer (2-7, 4.32 ERA)

Today’s MLB Matchup Stats | Today’s MLB Insider Preview

The A’s (65-39) have earned the distinction of not only the leading record in the Majors, but the top run-producing offense also. Not unlike Tampa Bay from the past several seasons, this Bay Area-franchise finds a way to produce winning baseball.

A notable difference between the A’s and the Rays, however, is that Tampa Bay finds creative ways to scratch runs across, while Oakland is able to boom runs in without any trouble.

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These realities could spell trouble for the home team.

A few years ago, Houston (42-63) decided to jettison its aging stars and start from the ground-up with a rebuild. It seemed to coincide with the Astros’ move to the American League two seasons ago, and understandably since then, Houston has been terrible.

Yet, there are elements of this team that are coming along in a promising way. Houston features the AL’s top hitter in 2B Jose Altuve, who is swatting .344 on the campaign.

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Twenty-four year old OF George Springer has also looked great; the rookie has 20 HRs and 51 RBI after getting a call-up to the bigs in May. Then there’s ace pitcher Dallas Keuchel, who’s simply emerged from the reeds to register an ERA barely over three, nine victories and a WHIP of 1.26.

But Houston is still stocking the cupboards and waiting for prospects to develop, so the depth isn’t there yet. The only thing saving the Astros from the divisional basement is the season from Hell being suffered by the cross-state Texas Rangers, whom are a game behind the ‘Stros in the West.

Houston might cash some runs on Monday night’s starter Jesse Chavez, but its thin pitching staff leaves the visitors in prime position to score early and often.

Oakland hitters like Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes and 1B Brandon Moss and 3B Josh Donaldson – who got rescued from the scrap heap – are leading a white-hot attack for the Athletics.

Pitchers on the level of Brett Oberholtzer, on the bump for Houston tonight, are in deep trouble when the green and gold comes to town.

If players like the 5″5 Altuve, Springer, Matt Dominguez and the powerful former Athletic Chris Carter can get the home team on the board early, Houston stands a fighting chance.

Still, with the lack of solid options in the Astros’ rotation, it looks like they will need to out-pace Oakland’s offense, which is a tricky proposition.

With a sizeable lead and Houston not being a direct threat in the standings, it’s possible that Oakland overlooks this series. Even still, the stats support that the visitors will have their run-producing way with Houston’s pitching staff.

Expect a few runs to be pushed across in this series in the Texas humidity.

Oakland 7, Houston 4
Take the OVER

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