Red Sox vs. Astros MLB Picks: Two Pitchers Ready To Go 'Over' 8 Runs

Mark Lathrop

Saturday, April 23, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper breaks down the pitching matchup in this game between the Red Sox and Astros and finds value in the total as he makes his Saturday MLB Pick.

2016 YTD MLB: 5-3-0, +1.80 Units

Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros
As I write this early Friday afternoon in an attempt to get a start on the weekend, I can’t help but notice that the Houston Astros’ 5-11 start was in part predicted by sabermetrics models, as the team now has to go 15 games over .500 the rest of the way to get over the consensus win totals for the season. Good luck with that, Astros fans.

In this game the Astros welcome the Boston Red Sox to town for a three game series. Boston is coming off of a 4-6 home stint. The Astros come home after losing three straight at the Texas Rangers, and have lost 7 of their last 10 games. Opening MLB odds have the Astros favored slightly at -116 on the moneyline at BetOnline, while the O/U total has been posted at 8.5 at all books so far. The run line pays +175 at BetOnline if you are willing to spot the Red Sox 1.5 runs and take Houston.

Slated to start this game for the Red Sox is Clay Buchholz, who is coming off of his best start of the season. In his last game at home against the Toronto Blue Jays, Buchholz pitched around 6 hits and 2 walks to hold the Blue Jays scoreless for 6.2 innings. That kind of damage control is due to quite a bit of luck, and a pitcher won’t be holding a WHIP of 1.60 for long before getting lit up.

That’s exactly what happened to Buchholz in his first two starts, as he didn’t get past the first five innings of either start at Cleveland and at home against Baltimore while giving up 5 earned runs in each game. Buchholz also gave up three dingers in those two starts, which is uncharacteristic when compared to his HR/FB rate from 2015.

Starting for the Houston Astros is Mike Fiers, who doesn’t have a shutout start to his name yet this year. He’s given up at least 3 runs in each start and at least 6 hits in each; however, Fiers has kept the walks to a minimum – only one free pass in 16.2 IP and a 11/1 K/BB ratio. Speaking of dinger rates, Fiers has given up six home runs in his three starts so far this season.

Get this, a full one-third of fly balls that Fiers has given up this season have left the ball park. Advanced stats are saying that Fiers is getting hit very hard and those balls are being pulled. That is a recipe for disaster, and home runs. The soft-tossing righty must be having some type of issue, likely being wild in the strike zone. His 6.48 ERA in early action needs to improve for him to be a stable part of the Houston rotation going forward.

 

Betting Analysis
So I guess those last two paragraphs don’t exactly give us a bunch of confidence in one pitcher over another. If forced to make a choice, I’d expect that the Boston lineup would continue to make Fiers pay if he continues to pepper the zone with strikes. But I’m not forced to make a choice here, and when I don’t trust either pitcher to have an advantage, I like looking at the total for value. I’m taking Over 8.5 runs in this game -105 at Heritage as my Saturday MLB pick.

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Free MLB Pick: Over 8
Best Line Offered: at YouWager