Play 'Em and Lay 'Em
For Tuesday's selection, we head to the Left Coast for Game Two of the three game set between the Oakland Athletics and their new division rivals, the Houston Astros.
Oakland opened the series with a bang last night, scoring six runs right out of the gate, knocking out Houston starter Eric Bedard after just a third of an inning and eventually winning, 11-2. It marked the third straight loss for the Astros, who will be hard-pressed to snap their losing streak tonight.
That's because AJ Griffin gets the call for the Athletics, and through two games, he's been nearly untouchable with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 1.93. Oakland also got a shot in the arm last night with the return to the lineup of outfielder Coco Crisp, who missed the previous two games with a groin injury suffered Friday versus Detroit. Crisp returned to the leadoff spot with a bang, going 1-3 Monday with a double and also walking twice, helping to continue his red-hot start to the season.
Houston, on the other hand, hasn't won since Friday night in Anaheim and sends former Athletic Brad Peacock (1-1, 4.82) to the mound. He already has one game under his belt against his former mates, and as you can find on our Bovada data tool on our Home page, it did not go particularly well. Peacock suffered the loss in Oakland's 8-3 win in Houston back on 5 April and only lasted 4⅓ innings after giving up two runs while walking three and striking out three.
Putting it all together, there aren't many reasons to support an Astro victory tonight. It's why Bovada has the Athletics pegged as a favorite to the tune of -230. That's the scary part ... risking more than twice what you would win. I do think it's almost as safe of a play as you can make. But there are times like this that I really turn to the run line for a little more value. Or in this case, a lot.
If you play Oakland minus the 1½, the odds change drastically. Bovada's run line has Oakland at -125. That not only is a lot more to my liking; however, it is also one that will not leave me sweating bullets in the top of the ninth inning. Need more backing than what has already been provided? Oakland has scored more runs than any other team in the majors at 85; that's 32 more than Houston, and they've only played one more game. Furthermore, one of the biggest killers for a baseball favorite covering the 1½ is a suspect bullpen. Well, Oakland's pen has the second best ERA in all the majors at 1.55.
Put it all together, and this has all the makings of another Oakland victory and another over the Astros that really isn't close. So save the money (because we all know there is no 'sure thing') and go with the run line here. Lay the run and a half, spend less as a result, and this will also add value to your Oakland parlays if you have any out there.
My pick: Oakland Athletics -1½ for -125
Result ... Oakland 4 Houston 3 Houston covers