Poor Bullpen Makes Astros The Right MLB Pick vs. Rangers

Charles Stark

Tuesday, June 7, 2016 11:50 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 7, 2016 11:50 AM UTC

Dallas Keuchel has struggled this season. Today him and his Astros are a slight underdog against the Texas Rangers and Cole Hamels. Can the Astros win this game on the road?

Houston Astros vs. Texas Rangers
The Houston Astros are a +105 underdog like at Bookmaker but for my MLB picks I will take them in this spot believing there is a little bit of value on this line. For the most part Texas has been better offensively but Houston has a really good bullpen which could be the difference today.


Houston Astros
Dallas Keuchel takes the mound for Houston and comes in with a 5.50 ERA and 1.45 whip. His overall performance this year has been a far cry from how he pitch last season but he has pitched better in his last two games. Against the Los Angeles angels and Arizona Diamondbacks he allowed just five runs in 13 innings off of nine hits. What I find interesting about odds makers in this spot is that he has been made a very small underdog when in fact Texas has lit him up this season garnering 13 runs off of 22 hits in 12 innings.

It seems to me that odds makers believe the third time will be a charm because of the small line. At the plate Houston ranks in the middle of the league in most categories and has a decent OPS of .728 which ranks them 14th. As well, conversely to their starting pitcher they have not hit Texas starter Cole Hamels very well this season, so again we might see the third time is a charm come into play. Houston has a very solid bullpen with a 3.30 ERA and batters hitting just .229 against them. They also lead the American League with 225 strikeouts.


Texas Rangers
Cole Hamels gets the start for Texas and comes in with a 3.39 ERA and 1.32 whip with Texas ranking eighth in the major leagues in runs scored per game. Across the board offensively Texas has been solid this year and for the most part rank in the middle to top part of the league in most categories. Most notably they rank 10th in hits per game, 12th in OPS, and third in strikeouts. Hamels has been steady but he is not immune to getting knocked around a little bit and in his last two starts he has allowed eight earned runs in just 11 innings.

What really gets me in breaking this game down is the fact that Texas looks like the easy play considering how well they've hit against Keuchel and how little the Astros have hit against Hamels. Yet odds makers have made this game almost a pick. It might have something to do with the fact that the Rangers have arguably the worst relief staff in the American League with a 5.01 ERA and batters hitting .282 against them. So the goal for Houston today seems easy, get to Hamels and get some quality at-bats against the poor bullpen.

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Free MLB Pick: Houston Astros -105
Best Line Offered: at Bovada

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