The Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros square off in the 2020 American League Division Series, and this series match up is quite possibly the most drama-filled in the entire playoffs. Regular season meetings between the two clubs reached a boiling point, as A’s players charged at the Astros’ dugout. Not to mention A’s starter Mike Fiers is the man who blew the lid off Houston’s cheating scandal as well.
DraftKings Sportsbook released odds for this series and lists each team as follows:
- Oakland A’s: -118
- Houston Astros: -104
Why the A’s can win
Oakland has some of the best pitching in baseball, with an ERA of 3.77 during the regular season in large part thanks to a bullpen that was the best in the AL this season. They also just don’t give away free bases, giving up the third fewest walks during the abbreviated campaign.
Offensively, they’re not super great at anything. They just hover around the middle of the pack in all statistical categories. Their leading hitter, Mark Canha, is hitting under .250 and has just five HRs on the year. The real key to this team’s postseason lies with its starting pitching. In the 10 meetings between these two teams in the regular season, Oakland won seven of them. They only scored more than four runs twice.
Why the Astros can win
The Astros finished the season below .500 and struggled mightily at times throughout the 60 game season, in large part because 2B Jose Altuve has had a tough 2020 campaign. The key to the series for Houston though is similar to that of Oakland. It all hangs on pitching.
The Astros have a ton of household names in their rotation, including Zack Greinke and Lance McCullers Jr. The starters are the reason why they have the third most quality starts in MLB. But their offense has been rough all season, and are worse than even the average A’s in most categories.
The A’s have won when these two teams meet 70% of the time this year. With Houston’s offense still struggling on a consistent basis and the strength of Oakland’s bullpen, the A’s are the play here.
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