Fight The MLB Odds And Come Out Victorious As Red Sox Succumb To Astros

Friday, April 22, 2016 11:07 AM GMT

While the MLB odds haven't been kind to the Houston Astros this year, they'll try to get things straightened out tonight when they host the Boston Red Sox.

Jason's 2016 record as of April 21: 5-4 ML, 1-0 Totals (+2.22 units)

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
For a team on the rise, the Houston Astros (5-11, –8.64 units) sure are a mess. They lost another one Thursday night, falling 7-4 to the Texas Rangers (+168 at home) as reigning AL Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel was rocked for six earned runs in six innings. That's the 11th time the Astros have given up at least five runs this year.


Houston still has a powerful batting order, though, so maybe things will work themselves out Friday night (8:10 p.m. ET, MLBN) when the Astros host the Boston Red Sox. Collin McHugh, the “2” in Houston's 1-2 punch after Keuchel, will twirl for the home side against knuckleballer Steven Wright. The Astros are –160 favorites on our MLB odds boards as we go to press. It's their game to win, but are they worth a bet at this price?

 

Collin America
Maybe there's some value in Houston as a bounce-back candidate. McHugh (3.05 FIP) has been about as unlucky as a pitcher can get; opposing batters have a combined .417 BABIP against him after three starts, well above his career average of .304 BABIP. Throw in some questionable defense, and McHugh's ERA has ballooned to 6.39. Luck doesn't account for everything, though. McHugh struggled in two of his three starts, and the Astros lost both those games to sit at –1.30 betting units when he takes the mound.


At least Houston has a win to go with those two losses. Wright (3.52 FIP) has the Red Sox at 0-2 in his two starts for a deficit of two units, and in his case, it's despite some good fortune on the field. Boston stranded 83.3 percent of baserunners in those two games – again, well above Wright's career average of 73.2 percent. These kind of stats are relatively pitcher-independent and prone to regression.

 

Fantasy Corner
Boston hitters haven't fared too well against McHugh, posting a combined .687 OPS in 50 at-bats with zero home runs. But if you're not too concerned about small sample sizes, this might be a good spot to buy low on CF Jackie Bradley Jr. He's 2-for-2 versus McHugh with a walk and a 2.000 OPS. Bradley's struggled this year; his .676 OPS heading into Thursday's action is down from .832 last year. But he's available at over 90 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues at press time.

That doesn't mean we're too keen on putting Boston in our MLB picks. Wright is a fringe starter in the big leagues, but he's going to get a lot of innings this year in a depleted rotation. Not that we're enthusiastic about betting on Houston, either. We're leaving it up to the regression monsters to deliver in the short term, and we're hoping to get some value out of the Astros as slightly damaged goods.

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Free MLB Pick: Houston –140
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline