We have a doubleheader of MLB championship series action on Monday with the Houston Astros hosting the Texas Rangers in the second game of the night, and our best Rangers-Astros prediction is based on the top MLB odds as we break down Game 7 of the ALCS.
Monday night provides us with the best two words in sports: Game 7.
The Houston Astros returned home with all the momentum after stunning the Texas Rangers in Game 5, courtesy of Jose Altuve's ninth-inning three-run homer. However, the Rangers battled back to take Game 6, as the road team has won every game thus far in the series.
With a trip to the World Series on the line, the Rangers send massive trade deadline acquisition Max Scherzer to the hill, as he looks to rebound from a shaky Game 3 performance. Opposing the future Hall of Famer will be Astros youngster Cristian Javier, who struggled during the regular season but has been rock-solid in two playoff starts.
As is always the case with postseason baseball, pitching will play a massive role in this matchup, and we're targeting a prop for our best bet in this highly anticipated Game 7.
Here is our best Rangers vs. Astros prediction for Game 7 of the ALCS, and don't miss Mike Spector's Diamondbacks vs. Phillies prediction for Monday's early contest (odds via our best MLB betting sites; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Rangers vs. Astros prediction: ALCS Game 7
Cristian Javier Over 12.5 outs (+112 via FanDuel) ⭐⭐⭐
I was fully prepared to take the Under on Javier's outs recorded before shopping our best sports betting apps. I assumed his total would be set at 14.5 or 15.5, which would still be a relatively low number for a normal contest. This isn't a normal game, though, and the prevailing notion is that the Astros will go to their talented and deep bullpen far quicker than usual with everything on the line. However, this line is simply too low.
The only issue we face is that this total forces Javier to begin a new inning to go Over. Essentially, the books are telling us that manager Dusty Baker will allow Houston's young right-hander to go only four innings, with the Under juiced at all of our best sports betting sites. The projections disagree, though.
Even on the low end of Javier's projections, BallPark Pal has him at 5.09 innings. Meanwhile, the usually conservative NumberFire has him going even deeper into the game at 5.46 innings. All we need is for him to enter the fifth and record at least one out.
Sure, Game 7 is a different beast entirely, but it's important to remember that Javier pitched in the crucial Game 3 - the Astros lost the first two contests at home, and dropping a third in a row would have all but marked the end of this series - and went 5 2/3 innings. That further illustrated Baker's trust in Javier.
Additionally, though it's deep, the Astros' bullpen is somewhat running on fumes. Bulk relievers Phil Maton and Hunter Brown have combined to throw 6 2/3 innings this series, with the former pitching as recently as Sunday. Houston was forced to use five relievers in total in Game 6, and that was with Framber Valdez going five innings.
The other reason I'm betting this is because the range of outcomes relative to the total is fairly small. If Javier is struggling enough to be pulled after four innings, he'll never make it that far anyway (see: Jose Urquidy, who was yanked after 2 1/3 of three-run ball in Game 4). Therefore, this bet more or less comes down to whether you think Javier will get shelled by the Rangers.
I'll side with the projections rather than pretend I can predict what will happen in Game 7 of the ALCS, and every model I trust has Javier performing well enough to make it through four frames. And if that happens, Baker will at least send him out for the fifth inning.
Our best price on Over 12.5 outs comes via FanDuel's +112 offering. DraftKings comes in at +110, BetMGM and bet365 both offer the Over at +105, and Caesars is at +102. Not only are we getting value when comparing that price to our best sportsbooks, but Pinnacle (one of the most-respected trading teams in sports betting) is at +107 on the Over, giving us a slight edge with FanDuel's offering.
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Rangers vs. Astros best odds
As mentioned, FanDuel stands alone among our best live betting sites with this price. It's not huge, but we're getting 5% positive expected value by playing this bet at FanDuel rather than Caesars, which offers the worst price.
Rangers vs. Astros odds
Rangers vs. Astros odds analysis
The Astros opened as -125 moneyline favorites immediately following the conclusion of their disappointing Game 6 defeat, with bet365 offering a bit of a rogue price of -115. Houston is now hovering around -130 on the moneyline at our best sportsbooks, with DraftKings and BetMGM still sitting at -125. Roughly 56% of moneyline bets have thus far come in on the Astros.
The total opened at 10 at a handful of our preferred sportsbooks, but it's since come down to 9 at all but bet365.
The best book at which to back the underdogs on the run line is bet365, which offers Rangers +1.5 at -180. Meanwhile, for those expecting a big Astros win, you can get Houston -1.5 at +165 via BetRivers.
Rangers vs. Astros game info: ALCS Game 7
- When: Monday, Oct. 23 at 8:03 p.m. ET
- Where: Minute Maid Park, Houston, TX
- How to watch: FOX, Sportsnet (Canada)
- Weather: Indoors
Rangers-Astros pick made 10/23/2023 at 10:40 a.m. ET.
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