Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman, left, runs the bases on a home run as Houston Astros starting pitcher Zack Greinke (21) heads back to the mound during the fourth inning of the second baseball game of a doubleheader Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
- The Astros and Athletics embark on a brand new season with an opening day matchup on Thursday, April 1 at 10:07 pm ET
- Oakland’s Chris Bassitt, 32, will make his first opening day start after a breakout campaign in the shortened 2020 season
- For the odds, matchup analysis, and best bets, check out the article below
Last season, a changing of the guard in the AL West might have revealed itself as the Astros were dethroned from the top of the division for the first time in four years. The new champion, the Athletics, appear to be building something real out there in northern California.
With a new season beginning on Thursday, April 1st, the two consensus titans of the AL West meet (first pitch at 10:07 pm ET) for the first of many matchups, in a year that could be telling about the direction of both franchises.
As it stands, the Athletics vs Astros odds are a dead heat.
Astros vs Athletics Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Runline||Over/Under Run Total at DraftKings|
|Houston Astros||-108||-1.5 (+150)||Over 8.5 (-105)|
|Oakland Athletics||-108||+1.5 (-182)||Under 8.5 (-115)|
Odds as of March 31st
Greinke Gets Back to It
Unlike Bassitt, Zack Greinke is a veteran of the opening day start. Thursday will mark his fifth, albeit his first with the Astros (Royals in 2010, Diamondbacks in 2016-17, 2019).
We know Greinke as a crafty veteran who will eventually have a bust in Cooperstown. But you should also know he’s been a bust — you know, the bad kind — in opening days’ past. The six-time All-Star is 0-1 with an 8.20 ERA in his four previous opening days outings.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 8, 2020
Oddly enough, his early-season returns in his career have been really good. Greinke’s March/April career splits include a 34-14 record, a 2.93 ERA and a 1.141 WHIP in over 400 innings. Maybe Greinke just can’t put it together on the opening day stage, or maybe the wider sample of his early-season statistics is worth paying attention to.
A’s Career Stats vs Zack Greinke
A Chance for Andrus
In the same offseason the A’s lost free agent shortstop Marcus Semien — who finished third in MVP voting in 2019 — they gained a shortstop in Elvis Andrus via trade. Now Andrus, a 32-year-old with a staggering 12 years of service time, has an opportunity right away to make a good first impression with his new club.
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) March 23, 2021
Andrus’s numbers against Greinke are a bit limited, but he’s 4-for-8 with three RBIs in his career against the lefty. Having played his entire career in the AL West with the Texas Rangers, Andrus’s experience with Greinke is recent.
Andrus is coming off an abysmal 2020 season (.582 OPS in 29 games), though to be fair offense has never been his greatest strength (career 86 OPS+). Perhaps against Greinke he can make a splash in this game.
Astros Career Stats vs Chris Bassitt
As divisional foes, the Astros and A’s are used to facing each other frequently. They just haven’t seen each other yet this year, of course, because the year is just getting started.
In the final month of the 2020 season (including the postseason), these teams met up 10 times. Oakland won six of those 10 — and nine of the past 13, if you go back further — although Houston won their divisional series matchup.
Oh, and guess who was the starting pitcher in the Astros’ clinching game of that series? Greinke.
That makes this an even tougher call, but we’ll still roll with the A’s on the money line after seeing Greinke falter on the opening day stage enough times already.
Pick: Oakland Athletics (-108)
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Jordan Horrobin is a sports journalist whose MLB, NHL, NFL and NCAA work has appeared in outlets such as The Athletic, MLB.com, the Detroit Free Press and more. He is currently based in Toronto, also working as a contributor for Forbes.com and a freelance editor for Sportsnet.