The upstart Astros find themselves one win away from the ALCS, but the defending league champion Royals won't go down without a fight. In fact, this handicapper is banking on it.
Royals-Astros ALDS Game 4 Odds
In the very early betting on Monday's game the best MLB odds we could find on Houston with rookie Lance McCullers was the -134 offered at YouWager, while Kansas City with Yordano Ventura was getting +129 at 5Dimes.
Houston grabbed Game 3 of this ALDS Sunday 4-2, taking a 2-1 series lead in this best-of-five affair. The Astros got a quality start from Dallas Keuchel, two RBI from their No. 9 hitter, Jason Castro, and a solo homer from Chris Carter on their way to the victory.
So Houston, which just two seasons ago lost 111 games, is now just one win away from playing in the American League Championship series.
This handicapper hit the two-pick with our free MLB picks on Sunday's game, cashing in with the Astros against the run line and on the UNDER.
As of Monday morning 5Dimes was now listing Houston at -360 to win this ALDS, with KC now getting +300.
Game 4 Mound Match-Up
McCullers (6-7, 3.22), by our strict standards, is 10-for-22 on quality starts this season, and two for his last three. Eight days ago he gave up three runs – two earned – in five innings in the regular-season finale against Arizona, and over his last three starts he allowed seven earned runs through 18 innings.
For the season Houston is only 8-14 in McCullers' starts, with the OVERS going 14-11.
In his one career start against Kansas City, back in June of this season, McCullers gave up just one run and four hits through seven innings of a 6-1 Astros victory.
Ventura (13-9, 4.19) went 12-for-29 on quality starts this year, and ended the season by allowing just four runs over his last three starts, covering 20 innings. But last Thursday he gave up three runs in two innings in Game 1 of this series, did not return after a rain delay and took the loss in a 5-2 decision.
On the season the Royals are 16-13 in Ventura's starts this season, with the UNDERS going 14-11.
Over four career starts against Houston, two this year and two last year, Ventura allowed 10 ER through 18 2/3 innings; KC split those four games.
Game 4 Batting Splits
Kansas City ranked 11th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .321 team on-base percentage, and sixth with a .416 team slugging percentage.
Houston, meanwhile, ranked 18th against righties with a .312 team OBP but fourth with a .439 team slugging percentage.
Ballpark Totals Factor
The UNDERS went 41-36 in games played at Minute Maid Park this season, which averaged 8.0 runs per.
ALDS Game 4 Free Picks
Our handicapping factors balance out on Monday's match-up, except for the facts that the Royals find themselves on the brink of elimination, and they're getting an underdog price. We like Kansas City to force a Game 5 with a victory Monday afternoon.
MLB Picks: Kansas City Royals +129 at 5Dimes