Marlins Fishing for Upset of Astros in ESPN Game

Doug Upstone

Monday, May 15, 2017 3:53 PM UTC

Monday, May. 15, 2017 3:53 PM UTC

The Houston Astros are soaring, owning the best record in the Major Leagues, and for those betting baseball they are the second-best wager at +10.7 units, just behind Colorado.

After winning big four-game series at Yankee Stadium over the weekend, Houston heads to Miami for a three-game interleague series, with the opener on ESPN Monday. While not as hot at the Astros, I look to improve upon a recent 4-3 mark on my MLB picks.


Pitching Matchup: Musgrove Vs. Straily

Houston's Joe Musgrove (2-3, 5.02 ERA) has gotten off to a bit of a rocky start and it is of his own doing. Musgrove has low 90s fastball, slider, cutter, curve and change-up. While the first three pitches are a notch above average, the 24-year-old started to have problems with home runs allowed in Triple-A and he's given up eight in just under 38 innings of work covering eight starts. The key for the right-hander: When he has more ground ball outs than fly-ball outs, that will be good outing.

Dan Straily (1-3, 4.03) is an odd starting pitcher. His fastball tops out at 89 mph, and his secondary pitches tell scouts long reliever yet he's made 38 starts the past two years and has ERA under 4.00 and 15-11 record. Analytics types claim it's all luck, with his batted balls finding fielders. Balderdash I say, there are at least 30 starting pitchers with better stuff who would kill for his production and probably twice that many in big league bullpens. Is Straily an ace, of course not, but most days he gives his team a chance to win. Straily has not faced Houston since 2014 and is 2-0 in three starts.


Home/Road Dichotomy Favors Houston

Among the reasons Houston has such a good record and Miami has the most losses in the NL East is how the Astros are playing on the road and the Marlins' failures at home. Houston is 12-6 away from H-Town and its offense is actually one full run better (5.5 vs. 4.5) when wearing the gray uniforms.

Miami is virtually the opposite at 6-11. The Marlins are outscored by one run per contest at home (4.1 vs. 5.1), compared to a more competitive dead -ven result in run differential on the road. In order to defeat the 'Stros, Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon have to produce more offense.


Betting Odds & Bullpen Numbers

When last reviewing the MLB odds, Houston was a -110 road pick by the sportsbooks with total of 9. The Astros have the No. 3 bullpen in ERA and lead the majors in strikeouts. Miami is 22nd in ERA and has blown six of 10 save opportunities. Ouch!


The Winner Is ... 

This pick is not going to make much sense; nevertheless, Houston might be a little flat after taking Yankees series and playing a day/night doubleheader. In the past two years Straily is 10-2 at home when the money line is +125 to -125 (Team's Record), which gives me reasons to take Miami and hope the bullpen does not blow it.

Free MLB Pick: Marlins +102Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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