Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#919 Houston Astros -110 vs.
#920 Oakland Athletics 9.5
Thursday, August 15, 2019 at 10:07pm EDT
Written by Sporty Jordy



#919 Houston
#920 Oakland


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When and where: August 15, 2019, Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA, 10:07 PM ET

The top-two teams in the AL West will collide when the Oakland Athletics prepare for a much-anticipated head-to-head showdown with the Houston Astros. There is still a hill to climb for the A’s as far as wild card contention is concerned, but they could easily make up some ground, along with closing the gap on first place in their division, with an upset win over the Astros this weekend. Aaron Sanchez is slated to start at pitcher for the Astros on Thursday opposite of Oakland’s Mike Fiers.

Cole dealing with a hamstring injury

Although the Astros played terrible on offense, some would be quick to point out the team falling at the hands of the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday was due to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole being a late scratch from the game. It’s a bad argument considering they lost on Wednesday as well.

One of the key veteran arms for the Astros’ rotation, Cole was benched after reporting a right hamstring injury during warmups. Obviously, the team wasn’t going to chance a start with one of their best players deep into the second half of the season.

The injury doesn’t seem too serious, and Astros manager A.J. Hinch was thankful to receive the opportunity to err on the side of caution.

“We’ll get him tested even further and see where this takes us,” said Hinch, via “He doesn’t think it’s that serious. I’m glad he told us, and we hope that it’s mild. It was literally a couple of minutes before the game.”

Sanchez is next in the rotation for Thursday’s colossal showdown with the A’s.

Since his arrival in Houston, the former Toronto Blue Jays starter has won back-to-back games against the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners, while allowing no more than one earned run and combining for a no-hitter against the Mariners. He is throwing a 5.60 ERA and 1.60 WHIP on the season with a 5-14 record.

Erratic play must smooth over for the A’s

With all the talent in the American League, it’s becoming less likely the A’s will break through for a playoff run. The likelihood of them catching the Astros has reached levels of impossible at this point, unless the reigning AL West champions suffer a meltdown for the ages. However, the A’s should be more concerned with out-playing the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians in hopes of securing a wild card spot.

They won’t be able to achieve that feat if they continue to play inconsistently down the stretch. Since beating the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, the A’s are 3-4 in their last seven games. That’s an ugly stretch for a potential playoff contender in mid-August. They currently sit in second place in the AL West division with a 68-52 record—nine losses behind the Astros.

Fiers will be first up on the mound in the series-opening game against the Astros on Thursday. The eight-year veteran pitcher is coming off a seven-inning shutout win over the White Sox in a game where he racked up eight strikeouts. He is throwing a 3.30 ERA in 147.1 innings with an 11-3 record, and he hasn’t been handed a loss since May 1.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:


Throw all the formalities of a regular-season game out the door for this epic encounter at Oakland Stadium. This is more than any ordinary game for the A’s, who need to prove to themselves they’re capable of hanging with the elite teams in the league. It isn’t enough to split even with the Astros this weekend. They need to win this series to build confidence and ensure they don’t fall further behind in the wild card race.

Fiers being first on the mound gives them a great chance of slowing down the Astros’ offense. The veteran pitcher hasn’t lost a game or yielded more than three runs in well over three months. Back in July, he managed to hold the Astros to six hits and two runs at Minute Maid Park in one of the only two games the A’s have beaten them this season.

So it’s apparent Fiers isn’t afraid of the moment, particularly when leading his team against one of the league’s best ball clubs. On the other end, Sanchez looked impressive against the Mariners and Orioles, but beating up on a pair of lowly teams isn’t anywhere near the challenge he’ll face on the road against the A’s. I’d wager the old Blue Jay rearing its ugly head again for the first time for Sanchez in an Astros’ uniform.

Give me the A’s to take advantage of Sanchez and get their bats going enough to pull off a stunner.

Prediction: Oakland Athletics (+113)

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:


The under is 5-2 in the last seven head-to-head meetings between the Astros and A’s. Fiers has been a run-stuffing daemon recently, and even if Sanchez struggles, the Astros have the fourth-ranked run-scoring defense in baseball behind him to back him up. This will be a mostly defensive affair featuring two of the league’s best defenses. Who would have thought? I’m taking the under betting total here.

Prediction: Under (9.5)

Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.