This handicapper has rode the Rangers to three straight betting wins over Houston & sees little reason to flop our MLB pick on Thursday night's series finale.
Astros-Rangers Thursday Odds
As of this writing the best price on the MLB odds board we could find on Texas with Colby Lewis was the -115 at Bookmaker, while Houston with rookie righty Lance McCullers was getting +104 at Pinnacle. And the total on tonight's game sat at nine runs, with most of the grease leaning toward the OVER.
Texas has taken the first three games of this big four-game divisional series, following Wednesday night's 14-3 romp. So the Rangers have won five of their last six games overall, while Houston has lost seven of its last nine contests.
At 78-67 Texas now leads the AL West by a game and a half over the 77-69 Astros. However, Houston still leads the race for the second American League wild-card spot by a game and a half over Minnesota.
The Rangers also lead this season series 11 games to four, with the totals splitting 7-7-1.
This pitching match-up is a rematch of a game played back on Aug. 3, a 12-9 Texas victory.
Lewis (15-8, 4.45), by our strict standards, is 16-for-29 on quality starts this year, but just one for his last four. Last Friday he tossed a beauty, a two-hit complete-game shutout against Oakland, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning. But over his three starts previous to that he gave up 18 runs – 15 earned – through 15 2/3 innings of three straight Rangers losses. On the season Lewis has allowed 183 hits, including 24 dingers, through 184 innings, walked 39 and struck out 128.
Texas is 15-14 in Lewis' starts, with the OVERS going 16-11.
Lewis is three-for-four on quality starts this season against Houston; through the first three starts he held the Astros to seven runs through 22 2/3 innings, but in that Aug. 3 game he got nicked for seven runs and 10 hits, including three homers, through six innings. The Rangers won three of those games, and all four games played OVER.
McCullers (5-5, 3.10) is eight-for-18 on quality starts. Last Saturday he held the Angels to two runs through five innings, and since returning from a stint back in the Minors he's limited foes to eight runs through 25 innings. On the season McCullers has allowed 87 hits through 102 innings, walked 36 and struck out 102.
The Astros, a team that's eight games over .500 overall, are just 7-11 in McCullers' starts, with the UNDERS going 8-7.
In his only career start against the Rangers, six weeks ago, McCullers couldn't get out of the first inning, allowing six runs and seven hits, while getting just one out, in that 12-9 Houston defeat.
Thursday's Batting Splits
Houston ranks just 26th in the Bigs this season against right-handed pitching with a .304 team on-base percentage, but fourth with a .424 team slugging percentage.
Texas, meanwhile, ranks third against righties with a .328 team OBP and 10th with a .414 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Globe Life Park this season are 33-30 on the UNDERS, even though they're averaging 9.7 runs per. Seems like there's been some big totals on Rangers home games this year.
Astros-Rangers Free Picks
We've backed the Rangers in every game so far in this series with our MLB picks, and why change what works? Also, we can see this game getting to 6-4, so we're thinking OVER.