Astros vs Athletics MLB Odds, Picks and Predictions April 1

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Updated: March 31, 2021

Astros No. 1 starter Zack Greinke has typically started off hot, putting up a 2.93 ERA over 68 career starts in March and April.

Photo By – USA TODAY Sports

American League West rivals will begin the season in Oakland when the Athletics host the Houston Astros for Opening Day on Thursday.

Zack Greinke is set to make his fifth Opening Day start and first with the Astros, while A’s hurler Chris Bassitt will get the honor for the first time in his career.

Oakland ran away with the division last year, but it was the Astros who went deeper in the postseason, knocking off the A’s in the ALDS before falling to the Tampa Bay Rays in seven games in the ALCS. Both teams are expected to pace the AL West again, though each lost key offensive pieces during the offseason.

Here are our best free MLB picks and predictions for Astros vs. Athletics on April 1 at 10:07 p.m. ET.

Astros vs A’s odds

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The line opened as a pick’em, with the total at 8.5. Early action favored the Astros, while the Over/Under held steady. Check back later for a full report from Patrick!

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Astros vs A’s betting preview

Starting pitchers

Zack Greinke (2020: 3-3, 4.03 ERA): Greinke isn’t what he once was but the veteran has adjusted quite well with diminished stuff and still gotten results. His 2020 was a mixed bag, as the 37-year-old was a force to start the season before falling off hard in September, putting up a 6.08 ERA in five starts. He still punched out a batter per inning and doesn’t issue many walks or allow a lot of homers, so his advanced metrics looked much better than his season-ending 4.03 ERA. Greinke should do fine in 2021, just temper expectations.

Chris Bassitt (2020: 5-2, 2.29 ERA): While Greinke was the obvious choice for the Astros, perhaps Bassitt wasn’t. But the 32-year-old has turned in two solid seasons in a row for the Athletics and the team is dealing with some injuries to its starting rotation, so Bassitt will get Game 1 of 162 after posting a 2.29 ERA in 11 starts. Like Greinke, Bassitt isn’t going to blow hitters away with overpowering velocity but he misses enough bats and did a really good job keeping the ball in the yard at the pitcher-friendly Oakland Coliseum.

Weather

Be sure to monitor the gametime conditions with our MLB weather info.

Key injuries

Astros: Yordan Alvarez OF (Questionable).
As: Trevor Rosenthal P (Questionable).
Find our latest MLB injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 6-0-1 in Greinke’s last seven road starts. Find more MLB betting trends for Astros vs. A’s.

Moneyline pick

The Astros will be without star George Springer for the first time since he made his MLB debut in 2014, while the Athletics will be missing Marcus Semien after he put together a strong six-year stint with the team. Both players signed with the Blue Jays in the offseason and leave their former clubs with difficult holes to fill.

Still, these teams should once again fight for the top spot in an AL West that also features a suspect Los Angeles Angels team and two bottom-feeders in the Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners.

Greinke has historically performed well out of the gates. In fact, March/April has been the best month(s) of his career, as he’s put up a 2.93 ERA over 68 career starts. He faced the A’s in four of his 15 starts last season, so there’s plenty of familiarity with this lineup and this is a good park for him to start off in as it devours offense. The same can be said for Bassitt, a fly-ball pitcher who certainly benefits from Oakland’s run-suppressing park. 

Though the loss of Springer stings, the Astros still have offensive weapons in the lineup, including star third baseman Alex Bregman, and they led the Majors in contact percentage last season and had the lowest swinging-strike rate. They’re going to put the ball in play and likely get to face a number of different arms, as the A’s won’t stretch out Bassitt too much in his first start and he only eclipsed the 100-pitch mark three times last season. Look for Houston to start out the season with a W.

PREDICTION: Astros (-115)

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Over/Under pick

Neither of these teams had great offensive seasons last year, ranking mid-tier in both runs scored and Weighted Runs Created Plus, which is a better measure of a team’s offense as it takes park and league factors into consideration. And now the Astros are without Springer, who had three 4.5-plus WAR seasons, largely due to his offensive exploits, in three of his last four full years (he led Houston position players with 1.9 WAR in the shortened 2020 season). 

Oakland, meanwhile, will gladly welcome back star third baseman Matt Chapman after his season was cut short to hip surgery. Chapman’s strong two-way play – he was six-plus WAR in back-to-back seasons before last year and is one of the best defenders at the hot corner – is a huge boost for a club that lost Semien at the top of the lineup. 

Houston will be up against a pitcher in Bassitt who has a Top-20 fly-ball rate among starters who have pitched at least 200 innings since 2019. He can get away with the fly balls in Oakland – a park that’s tough to knock the ball out of the yard in – and he used that to his advantage last season, allowing 0.86 home runs per nine innings, which was the 12th-best mark in baseball. His home run-to-fly ball ratio was even better at 8.6 percent, good for fifth. 

Greinke was similar in that sense, ranking ninth at 0.81 HR/9 and seventh with a HR/FB rate of 9.2 percent. So don’t expect these two to get hurt by the long ball in Oakland, which means it’s a prime game to take the Under.

PREDICTION: Under 8.5 (-120)

Astros vs A’s betting card

  • Astros (-115)
  • Under 8.5 (-120)

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