The Houston Astros are huge favorites on Sunday against the Detroit Tigers, which sets up a tempting fade play for this handicapper, knowing that the Astros are only 3-8 over their last 11 games.
Tigers-Astros Sunday Odds
As of early Sunday morning the best price we could find on Houston and Mike Fiers was the -189 offered at BetOnline, while Detroit and lefty Matt Boyd could be found getting +185 at 5Dimes. And the total on today's game, which started at 8.5 runs at some books, sat at eight across the market.
These teams have split the first two games of this series, following Detroit's 4-2 victory in 11 innings Saturday. Houston tied Saturday's contest on a Preston Tucker homer in the bottom of the ninth, but the Tigers tallied three runs in the top of the 11th and held on for the victory.
Even with the win Detroit is 2-4 over its last six games, while the Astros are just 3-8 over their last 11 contests.
Still, at 63-54 Houston leads the AL West by 2.5 games over second-place Anaheim.
At 56-60 Detroit now trails the Angels by four games in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot.
These teams have now split six games this season, with the totals going 2-3-1.
Sunday's Pitching Matchup
Fiers (5-9, 4.03) is 10-for-22 on quality starts this season, one-for-one since joining Houston after the trade with Milwaukee. Last Sunday he held Oakland to one run through 6 2/3 innings, although in his debut for the Astros six days earlier, in a relief appearance, he got bombed for six runs in five innings against Texas. On the season Fiers has allowed 117 hits through 118 innings, walked 43 and struck out 121.
Fiers' teams are 10-12 in his starts this season, with the totals going 10-11-1.
In his only career start against Detroit, back in May as a Brewer, he gave up two runs and six hits through 5 2/3 innings of a 3-2 Milwaukee victory.
Boyd (1-3, 7.11) is one-for-four on quality starts this season, one-for-two since joining the Tigers rotation. Eleven days ago, in his Detroit debut, he held Kansas City to one run and seven hits through seven innings of a 2-1 Tigers upset victory, then Monday he gave up three runs and nine hits through 5 1/3 innings of a 4-0 loss to those same Royals. On the season, including a pair of poor starts for his former team, the Blue Jays, Boyd has allowed 31 hits, including five homers, through 19 innings, but he's only walked two and struck out 15.
Boyd's teams are 1-3 in his starts, with the UNDERS going 3-1.
This will be Boyd's first-ever start against Houston.
Sunday's Batting Splits
Detroit ranks third in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .270 team batting average, and seventh with a .323 team on-base percentage.
Houston, on the other hand, ranks 24th against left-handed pitching with a .238 team average and 18th with a .313 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Minute Maid Park this season are 30-26 on the UNDERS, averaging 7.9 runs per.
Detroit slugger Miggy Cabrera is back in the lineup, after doing six weeks on the DL with a pulled calf. Saturday he went 2-for-4 at the plate, with a walk.
Tigers-Astros Sunday Free Picks
We'll give Fiers the edge in the pitching match-up, and the Astros own an edge in the bullpen comparison. But Detroit owns an edge with the sticks, and has faced Fiers before. Also, we've been wondering for a while if Houston might fade, after playing so well for so long this season. We believe the value on today's betting line resides with the Tigers. And as the Astros continue to struggle scoring runs, we like the UNDER for our MLB picks today.