MLB Betting: Rangers Trumps Astros In Afternoon Action

Doug Upstone

Thursday, June 9, 2016 12:08 PM GMT

This certainly has not been the kind of season Houston envisioned after making the playoffs a year ago. Those betting baseball who liked the Astros are also taking it on the chin thus far.

As of the morning this morning, Houston was the fifth-worst bet in baseball at -9.4 units, hanging out with the like of Minnesota, Atlanta and Cincinnati, hardly the kind of company you keep if you expect to return to postseason.

The Astros had given the appearance they were ready to make a real run in winning 11 of 13, but have lost two of three to Texas since.

What side should you be on for MLB picks in this afternoon Texas tussle? Maybe this baseball handicapper can help, having made seven straight winning picks to take record here to 17-9.

 

Pitching Matchup - McHugh vs. Perez
Collin McHugh (5-4, 4.97 ERA, 1.46 WHIP) has been a portion of the problem with Houston this year, as he's been much more hittable. In his career, the right-hander has allowed a .261 batting average, but this season the number has ballooned to .297. McHugh might want alter his pregame warm-up pattern as this is where bad outings have manifested for him. Opposing batters are at .302 and their on-base percentage is .345 during his initial 30 pitches. He's gotten himself into trouble with walks, as eight of his 17 have occurred in the first 15 pitches of any start.

After a 1-4 start, Martin Perez has rattled off three consecutive victories to square his record at 4-4, with a 3.24 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. The lefty has gotten the sinking action back on his low 90's fastball. His secondary pitches can be effective and he's starting to regain command after walking 30 batters in just 60 innings, with only two free passes in last 12. He's averaged 13 groundball outs in his last five starts, which is what Perez does best.

 

What's Wrong With Houston?
The Chicago Cubs and Houston were thought to be on similar paths after last season, but the Astros have regressed. Offensively, Houston is 4.3 runs per game compared to 4.5 last season and that is attributable to falling from second in baseball in home runs to eighth.

The other major factor is pitching. After finishing sixth in ERA (3.57) and seventh in on-base percentage (.299) last year, the Astros have fallen dramatically 22nd in ERA (4.68) and to 23rd in OBP (.337).

 

What Makes Texas so Tough at Home
The Rangers are the best wager at home at +14.1 units with their 23-10 home record. The Texas offense is a large portion as to why they have been so good at Globe Life Park, ranked fourth in the big leagues in scoring at 5.3 RPG. There are no fancy home numbers to follow, the Rangers just hit the ball (.282 BA) and are fifth overall in OBP at .343.

The other element Texas has is stellar starting pitching, ranked fourth in the majors in ERA at 3.40. When you combine offense with terrific starting staff numbers, this can or at least has overcome problematic bullpen numbers to this juncture.

Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds  had Texas as a small -108 favorite with total of 9.5, but with last night's outcome and Adrian Beltre's hamstring issue, which will likely keep him out today, the Rangers are now +110 underdogs. It is known in baseball circles that Texas has beaten Houston like a piñata, winning eight of nine this season and are 12-1 in Arlington. After a slow start, the Astros bullpen is coming around and is fourth in ERA in the AL at 3.28. The Rangers would likely have a few more wins, except for the fact their bullpen is last in the junior circuit in ERA and OBP.

 

Game Outcome
This week I have personally played Texas twice as underdogs and though Houston finally won over the Rangers last night, the numbers still favor the home team and the Astros are 5-10 against left-handed starters. I'm riding the Rangers again as underdogs.

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MLB Pick: Rangers +115
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek