MLB Picks: Astros vs. Rangers Series Betting Blog

Willie Bee

Monday, September 23, 2013 1:40 PM GMT

Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 1:40 PM GMT

The Rangers are in the throes of another September collapse, but a visit from the Astros could turn things around. Join us during this series for game previews and free MLB picks.
25th SEPT
Wednesday's Series Closer

By: Willie Bee

 

Sharpen your betting picks with today's Daily Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report!

Congratulations to MLB futures bettors who took ‘Under’ 55.5 wins for the Houston Astros. Tuesday's 3-2 setback to the Texas Rangers extended Houston's losing streak to 11 and guaranteed the Astros won't top the 55-win mark in 2013.

Texas now takes aim at a sweep Wednesday night to keep pressure on Tampa Bay and Cleveland at the top of the AL wild card ranks, and the all-lefty pitching matchup for Game 3 is a rematch from about six weeks ago. The Astros send Dallas Keuchel to the bump while Martín Perez gets the starting nod for the Rangers in the 8:05 p.m. ET start.

The Rangers, who have beaten Houston 10 straight for a 16-2 record in the season series, will wrap this set up as $2.80 chalk. MLB betting odds for this contest also include an 8.5 run total juiced 20¢ or more to the ‘Over’.

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Perez Looks to Snap 3-Start Winless Streak

When Perez and Keuchel hooked up in Houston on August 11th, a duel ensued before the Rangers broke the game open in the ninth. Texas held a slim 2-0 lead entering the last inning when Texas plated four more off Keuchel. Perez, in his only start vs. the Astros this season, lost his shutout bid on a 2-out homer by Chris Carter in the bottom of the final frame.

The Astros are 1-8 in Keuchel's nine August and September starts, though he has certainly pitched well enough to win a couple of the contests that ended in defeat. That was the case last Thursday in the series opener at Cleveland, Keuchel allowing just one run in seven innings for a no-decision in a 2-1 Indians victory.

Perez also earned a no-decision in a 2-1 game his most recent trip to the hill, pitching into the sixth on Friday in Kansas City and allowing just one run. The Royals went on to win that one, leaving the Rangers 0-3 in Perez's last three assignments.

Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & a Pick

Chris Conroy, who is completing his second full season as a major league umpire, will call balls and strikes in the series finale. The Massachusetts native has gone 11-18-2 O/U/P on the year with home chalk of -141 or better 9-2 when he's behind the plate.

Another warm, sunny day is in the offing for the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex where it will still be in the upper-80s for the first pitch. Little to no wind is expected, meaning none of the swirling effects that can so often aid hitters in this park.

There's no reason to jump off the Astros fade train now, and every reason to expect the Rangers to finish their third consecutive broom job over Houston. My free MLB pick is once again on the Texas run-line.

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MLB Pick: Take the Texas Rangers on the run-line, -1.5 (-145) at William Hill

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24th SEPT
Tuesday's Game Two

By: Willie Bee

 

Texas Rangers righthander Yu Darvish has come close to no-hitting the Houston Astros twice before this season, losing a perfect game on one occasion with two outs in the ninth. Will he finally succeed Tuesday night when the clubs meet for the second of their 3-game set? Let's breakdown this matchup before placing our MLB picks in this situation.

Read our Daily Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report for an early edge in Tuesday's games!

It will almost take a no-hitter to top Derek Holland's performance on Monday. Holland tossed his second shutout of the season and got plenty of backing from his lineup in the 12-0 rout, including Alex Rios hitting for the cycle. 

Darvish and the Rangers opened Game 2's baseball betting proceedings as $3.10 chalk, no surprise after Texas averaged closing about -250 in his previous four starts of the year vs. Houston. Those MLB odds did nothing but rise overnight, settling at -330 at most MLB betting shops. Houston counters with Brad Peacock, a former 41st-round pick by the Nationals, with an 8 run total for bettors to consider.

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Astros Lineup Sets Up For A Darvish No-No

Funny thing about no-hitters is they often come early in the year when teams are just getting into a routine, or late in the season when clubs out of contention employ a young lineup with eyes on next season. Houston, of course, has been looking towards next season since Opening Day -- Who are we kidding? The Astros are looking towards 2016 at the earliest! -- and they've been ripe for a real pitcher like Darvish to pick off with a no-hitter. 

Both failed attempts -- April 2 and Aug. 12 -- were in Houston which, believe it or not, is a far more pitcher-friendly park than the Rangers have in Arlington. If it's broken up by a homer Tuesday night, remember that you heard it hear first.

Go ahead and laugh at Brad Peacock going up against Yu in this matchup. He may very well get stung and stung hard in the end, but I like him in the long run. Peacock has been groomed as a starter his entire career, and once he cuts the free passes down, he will be a moneymaker as a No. 3 in Houston's rotation. His only career experience vs. the Rangers came six weeks ago at home, six innings of 1-run, 3-hit baseball.

Behind The Plate, Mother Nature & A Pick

Paul Emmel is scheduled to call balls and strikes Tuesday, bringing a slight UNDER lean for the year into the game (14-16-3 O/U/P). However, Emmel's games have been trending OVER the past six weeks or so with six of his last eight plate assignments jumping the total. 

Warm and clear is once again the forecast in Arlington where 85º is expected at first pitch. Humidity levels will be down coupled with a light NW breeze. Another easy victory for the Rangers is my free sports pick forecast.

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MLB pick: Rangers -1.5 (-145) at Bet365

 

23rd SEPT
Monday's series Opener

By: Willie Bee

 

Check out today's Daily Baseball Odds & Betting Lines Report for an early edge in Monday's games!

Having done their best -- or is it their worst? -- to help the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians reach the playoffs, the Houston Astros now get an opportunity to do the same for the Texas Rangers. Given how the Rangers have fallen behind in the postseason race, they'll take all the help they can get. What do the MLB betting odds say about this match-up?

In a series that should see Texas shouldered with humongous chalk for all three games, Monday's series opener finds the Rangers listed as -260 to -270 favorites according to SBR's live MLB odds. Derek Holland is on tap for Texas against Houston's Jordan Lyles, and the 9 run total is taxed 20¢ or more to the low side.

It's not like the Astros haven't already done their best to keep Texas in the picture for October baseball. The Rangers have won 14 of the previous 16 against Houston, including the last eight straight, and are 18-2 in the series going back to 2012. Texas is 5-1 at home (8-1 in Arlington last nine), the ‘Over’ cashing four of the six meetings at Rangers Ballpark in 2013.

End Can't Come Soon Enough For Astros

It says a lot about a staff when a pitcher dealt away nearly two months ago still leads the club in quality starts. That's the case for the Astros and Bud Norris, who was traded to the Orioles at the end of July yet ranks first in the QS column with 13. Tied for second with 10 is Lyles who, after helping the team to wins in his first two September assignments, is coming off an ugly 10-0 loss vs. the Reds last Tuesday (3.1 IP, 7 ER).

It wasn't much better when Lyles faced the Rangers in Houston back in May, Texas plating eight in his four innings of work. That was Lyles' fifth career start vs. the Rangers, all Houston losses and the righthander charged with 25 earnies in just over 26 innings.

Houston has been outscored 36-13 in those five games that Lyles started vs. Texas, and the 16 games between the clubs in 2013 have seen a 104-64 differential in the Rangers' favor (avg. 6.4-4.0 per game). That's a scary margin for a team that has pushed just 14 runs plateward during the 9-game string of losses, capped by a sweep in Cleveland over the weekend, especially an offense that already owns the AL strikeout record for a season with 1,468 and counting, nearly 100 more than the former mark set by the A's just a year ago.

The Astros need to average about 7.1 per game or less to avoid breaking the all-time record of 1,529 in 2010 by the Diamondbacks.

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 Reeling Rangers Stunned After Walk-Off Loss in KC

Former Astro Justin Maxwell wasn't too kind to the Rangers on Sunday. First he robbed Craig Gentry of a hit early that could have led to a run in a game that was nil-nil at the end of nine, then crushed a walk-off slam in the 10th for a 4-0 KC win in the series finale. The loss left Texas a pitiful 5-15 for the month of September, and 1.5-games behind in the AL wild card hunt after enjoying a 3.5-game lead atop the AL West one month ago on August 23rd.

Holland pitched well last Wednesday in St. Pete against the Rays, posting six innings of 2-run baseball on his ledger following shellings in his previous two starts. But the end result was an extra-inning defeat for the Rangers, their fourth straight with Holland on the hill. The southpaw faced the Astros twice in August (combined 12 IP, 5 ER), each time a no-decision for Holland but victories for the Rangers.

Clear skies are forecast for the entire series, along with much cooler temps than when the clubs met in Arlington a little more than a month ago. Most of Monday's game should be played with the thermometer sitting in the mid-to-upper 70s and a 6-8 mph SE breeze.

Laying $2.70 in any MLB game is never an easy thing to do, but after fading the Astros 156 times already, that's what I'm going to do. And I've got enough faith in Rangers bats coming around with help from Lyles to offer Texas on the run line for my free sports pick.

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MLB pick: Bet the Rangers on the run line, -1.5 (-130) at William Hill

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