By: Willie Bee
Welcome to a little blog project here at SBR that we like to call Fade The Astros. My beloved Bayou City 9 entered this campaign with the lowest win total (59) and longest MLB odds to win the World Series (350/1), and it only makes sense to fade Houston each and every game along the way to see if we can turn a profit.
Along the way we'll discuss recent betting streaks or leans plus hitting and pitching trends streaks, and hopefully make some suggestions on when it might not be a good idea to bet against the Astros.
Houston made a big splash in its first official American League game with a Sunday evening win over the rival Texas Rangers, but has since dropped back into reality with consecutive setbacks without scoring a run. Yu Darvish was within an out of dealing the Astros the ultimate humiliation with a perfect game on Tuesday, making the 8-run outburst on Sunday the real anomaly.
The first stat that has to be pointed is 43 strikeouts, not by Houston pitching but instead the lineup. Forty-effin-three! That clicks out to more than 2,300 for the season, a pace that would top the current record by the 2010 Arizona Diamondbacks by nearly 800! The chief culprits are Brett Wallace, 1-for-10 with 8 Ks, and Chris Carter, 0-for-11 with 7 Ks.
Another number to watch can be found out in the bullpen where Houston's relief corps owns an 8.37 ERA. Remove Eric Bedard's 3+ shutout innings of relief on Opening Night, and that column soars up to well over 12.
It's a bit pointless to suggest one facet of the roster is weaker than another on a team picked to lose 100+ games for a third consecutive season, yet the 'pen was my biggest concern as both a fan and bettor entering 2013. Even with the group's performance thus far, the UNDER is 2-1 in Houston's games, and is just one Rick Ankiel swing from being a perfect 3-0.
The Astros have a weekend series with the Oakland Athletics coming up, just the third time the clubs have met in the regular season, the last time six years ago in 2007. The A's have won five of the previous six contests with Houston, including two of three at Minute Maid Park. Oakland managed to score just seven runs in a 3-game series with the Mariners to start the season, six in one game, so the totals will be fun to watch this weekend in Houston.
Houston was a +150s underdog the first three games of the season; if that holds true, fading them with your MLB picks will bring approximately a 9-unit profit should the Astros go 60-102 to just beat the season win total.
Season: 2-1 ($0.35)
Upcoming Schedule: vs. Athletics (Apr. 5-7) ... at Seattle (Apr. 7-9) ... Off (Apr. 10) ... at Anaheim (Apr. 12-14)
Don't forget to follow my series blog on the Pittsburgh Pirates vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers~