Bet Rangers vs. Astros To Go 'Over' 8 Runs in MLB Series Opener

Darin Zank

Thursday, August 28, 2014 2:43 PM GMT

Texas is the worst team in baseball at the moment, while Houston is trying to prove it's no pushover anymore. Here's our take, with a free MLB pick, on the first of a four-game series between the Rangers and Astros at Minute Maid Park Thursday night (8:10 pm ET).

Rangers-Astros Betting Odds

As of early Thursday morning the best line we could find on Houston and Collin McHugh was the -139 offered at BetOnline, while Texas and Nick Tepesch could be gotten at +131 at 5Dimes. Most books were listing the MLB odds' total on Thursday's game at eight runs.

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Game Set-Up
Texas just took two of three games from the Mariners in Seattle, winning Wednesday 12-4. But the Rangers have still lost four of their last six series, and 11 of their last 18 games.

At 52-80 injury-depleted Texas is playing out the string on a very lost season.

The Rangers may have exploded for 12 runs Wednesday, but they had been held to a total of 11 runs over their previous five games.

Houston, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games to Oakland, losing Wednesday 5-4 by blowing a 3-2 lead in the ninth. The Astros have lost their last two series and four of their last five games.

Houston leads this season series eight games to four, with the totals going 6-5-1.

 

Thursday's Starters
McHugh (6-9, 3.02) is 11/20 on quality starts this season, and has been pretty good as of late. Last time out he gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against Cleveland, and over his last five starts, covering 30 2/3 innings, he's allowed just six runs.

For the season McHugh has allowed fewer hits, 94, than innings pitched, 119, walked 40 and struck out 126. Houston is 8-12 in McHugh's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 11-9.

This will be McHugh's first-ever start against the Rangers.

Tepesch (4-8, 4.45) is 5/16 on quality starts, but he had been throwing well lately, until his last time out, when he got nicked for six runs in 6 1/3 innings against Kansas City. But over his three starts previous to that he had held the White Sox, Rays and Angels to a total of four runs and 16 hits through 19 2/3 innings.

On the season Tepesch has allowed 93 hits in 93 innings, walked 31 but only struck out 46. Texas is 7-9 in games Tepesch has started, with the totals leaning 'under' 9-5.

Since the beginning of last season Tepesch has started three times against the Astros, giving up six runs and 13 hits through 16 1/3 innings; the Rangers went 2-1 in those games, and all three games played 'over' on the totals.

This game involves two of the worst bullpens in baseball. Texas relievers rank 25th with a 4.04 ERA, with 25 saves and 13 blown saves, while Houston's pen ranks dead last in ERA at 4.96, with 22 saves and 22 blown saves.

 

Rangers-Astros Betting Trends
Texas is 28-40 on the road this season.
Houston is 30-38 at home.
The Rangers have played 22 'unders' in their last 33 games.
The 'over-unders' have gone 34-33 in games played at Minute Maid this season.

 

Injury Update
Texas is probably the most banged-up team in the Majors this season, with several injured players on the DL. On top of everything else the Rangers just announced SP Yu Darvish and OF Shin-Soo Choo would miss the rest of the season with bad elbows. And OF Alex Rios has missed recent action with a sore thumb, and is questionable for Thursday.

 

Free Pick for Thursday
We're not sure who's going to win this game, but with these two bullpens we like the 'over' eight runs, at the +102 offered at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick for Thursday.

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