MLB Free Pick: Twins Open Series in Houston with Upset Win

Willie Bee

Friday, July 14, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 14, 2017 12:49 PM UTC

Their short All-Star vacation over, the Houston Astros get back to work Friday night at home as favorites on the MLB odds against a Twins team that has been money on the road.

MLB Season Record: 45-48 (-1.61)

It’s beginning to look like my ‘under’ wager on the Houston Astros win total is toast. Preseason MLB futures odds pegged the number at 91½, and I never thought they’d reach 90. Houston is two-thirds of the way to that figure at the break with 60 notches in the win column and looks to add to that this weekend with a 3-game set against the Minnesota Twins.

Friday’s lid-lifter on the series is slated to get underway at 8:10 PM (ET) with a mound duel between Jose Berrios (8-2, 3.53) and Charlie Morton (6-3, 3.82). 5Dimes has the Astros as decided chalk with a -163 money line, a 9-run total taxed more on the high side.


Astros Have Knocked Berrios Around Last 2 Seasons

Berrios has been solid for the Twins, who have won eight of his 11 starts, bettors playing the ‘under’ on the MLB odds when he’s on the hill also cashing eight times. The young Puerto Rican bounced back from a couple of rough outings that Minnesota lost with a winning effort before the break and will have had a full week off when he takes the mound tonight. Walks hurt him when he faced Houston in Minnesota on May 30, a 5 IP, 4 ER result that left Berrios 1-2 with an 8.02 ERA in three lifetime assignments vs. the Astros.

After spending about six weeks on the shelf with a lat strain, Morton returned to face Toronto last Friday and tossed six strong innings of 1-run baseball. It was without question his best road assignment of the season, and the veteran is 4-1 with a 3.00 ERA in seven home starts. Morton missed Minnesota earlier this season and has only faced the Twins once before, that outing coming in 2015 while he was with Pittsburgh, a no-decision for the right-hander after he was relieved in the sixth with three runs against his ledger.


Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

Houston was already playing well when the team reached Minneapolis for the Memorial Day holiday, and the Astros left town playing even better after a dominating 3-game sweep that left this all-time series knotted at 24 wins apiece. They rallied for a 16-8 win in the opener and ended up outscoring the Twins 40-16 in the set, 29 of those runs coming in the sixth inning or later. The Astros have won each of the last two sets played in Houston, three of those games going ‘over’ along with a couple of 8-run push results.

Tonight might be the lid-lifter for the series, but you can safely bet the lid will be sealed tight at Minute Maid Park with muggy temps still near 90° at game time. I’m banking on the Astros needing a day or two to get back in a groove following the break and will back Minnesota with my free baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Twins +158Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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