The Astros are trying desperately to hold on to the top spot in the AL West & they'll be going all out for the win as the MLB odds-on favorites this afternoon against Minnesota.
The Astros enter Sunday's busy MLB slate as the largest ML favorites on the baseball betting odds board. They're listed at right around -250 to pick up the win at home, with a Minnesota victory priced in the +215 to +230 range.
As for the game's total, we see the O/U at 7.5 runs for now. Dallas Keuchel will start for Houston and has been terrific at home, while Tyler Duffey will toe the rubber for the road team.
Houston Astros (Keuchel)
Ahead of this afternoon's matchup, the Astros have dropped three of their last four, which puts them at 74-62 overall. They're just two games up on the Rangers atop the division, and they'll look to close out this three-game series against the Twins in positive fashion, especialy after falling short yesterday.
It's a good thing, then, that ace Dallas Keuchel will be taking the mound for Houston. The Astros' left-hander has been nothing short of brilliant in 2015, going 16-6 with a 2.24 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, and his home numbers have been even more impressive. Over 15 starts in Houston, Keuchel is 12-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 111:23 K:BB ratio over 106 and 2/3 innings. Amazing.
Keuchel just wrapped up a stellar month of August in which he went 4-1 with a 1.94 ERA and now faces a matchup against the Twins for the first time this season. Will he continue to dominate?
Minnesota Twins (Duffey)
The Twins are a solid 4-2 over their last six games, leaving them at 70-65 for the season. Though they no chance of catching the high-flying Royals for first place in the AL Central, they're still very much in the playoff race, as they're only 1.5 games back of the second wildcard spot right now. In short, there's still plenty to play for if you're Minnesota.
That means there will be quite a bit of pressure on young Tyler Duffey to perform this afternoon. It's pretty obvious the right-hander has a lot of talent, but he's yet to truly harness it at the major league level; he enters today with a 2-1 record, 4.56 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. Sprinkled in there are a couple excellent starts for the rookie, however, as he shut down both the Orioles and Indians back in the middle of August.
We know the Astros bring plenty of firepower to the plate, but they also strike out at an incredibly high clip, and Duffey does have the ability to miss bats. We're very curious to see how this one goes for the 24-year-old in a game that Minnesota really needs to win.
While the Astros clearly hold the advantage, we're having a hard time finding a way to back them at a reasonable price. A run-line wager is in play, but we're higher on Duffey than the general public and think he could find success against Houston's swing-happy approach at the plate.
We love Keuchel too, especially when pitching at home, so perhaps the best way to go with our MLB picks is to side with the two starting pitchers and fade the offenses. That would mean taking the UNDER as one of our selections.
So that's exactly what we'll do. As long as Duffey can settle in early and avoid major damage, we think this game will stay low-scoring, and you have to figure Keuchel will hold up his end of the bargain against a Twins ballclub that's only scored a total of 10 runs over their previous four games. Take the UNDER with you MLB pick for Sunday.